Character and style harmony: many destinations pay special attention to the architectural style and urban aesthetics to guarantee a harmonic urban landscape. This harmony is very appreciated by most upscale tourists, for it is an important requirement to attract the highest spenders. These destinations take special care of the traditional urban heritage and require new developments to follow the same traditional style in harmony with the most authentic buildings and urban aesthetics. Unfortunately, there are also many destinations that have not taken any care of this issue, allowing new hotels and apartments to be built disregarding the harmony with the traditional style of the destination. This is a missed opportunity to offer an experience with a differentiated value that only destinations with character can provide.
Development & tourist flow constraints: closely correlated to the “character and style harmony”, destinations have to decide the maximum capacity of tourists they are able to sustain, depending on their concern on sustainability and also on the type of tourists they are willing to attract. Upscale tourists are to be more exigent regarding congestion issues that may spoil the experience, and so prefer staying somewhere a bit more exclusive with accommodation capacity constraints. Conversely, destinations with little capacity constraints are more likely to attract middle to low end profile tourists, who are not that much concerned about congestion problems.
Other constraints may be those related to the visitors allowed in the natural or cultural heritage sites, to prevent both congestion issues and to manage tourist flows according to the site’s carrying capacity. This capacity is determined by experts who assess the impact of the tourism activity on the site, and establish a limit of visitors per hour or per day that guarantees the sustainability of the tourism activity in the site.
Accommodation mix: the combination of different types of accommodation services is also a relevant variable to consider. In this point there are two main issues to resolve: first, the mix between hotels and real estate, considering also intermediate formulas. Hotels create jobs and tax revenues, whereas real estate may be an important source of funds to leverage for investments, and also to create loyal tourists. Second, there has to be the decision on the accommodation mix of categories –namely for hotels- according to the types of tourists that the destination intends to attract.
Sustainability management: the control of the tourism activity impact and the protection of the environment and cultural heritage in the development are also a key factor to take into account. Many tourism activities carried out in natural environments require damaging the landscape or threaten its fragility. Therefore the constraints on the tourism development in natural areas and the protection status given to these areas are an essential issue to consider in tourism development planning. In this point, it is necessary to determine the carrying capacity of the natural areas and determine the accommodation capacity accordingly.
Branding: all the aforementioned variables along with the natural and cultural assets of the destination define the destination experiences and determine the attributes and values of the brand. The branding messages contained in all marketing materials and campaigns should go in accordance with them. Branding also refers to the image that the destination conveys as a territory, for it is a political issue of major importance: the destination model is not only to be decided by the local tourism operators, but rather through consensus among all stakeholders.
Would you consider other brand value related variables?