Enhancing urban aesthetic harmony. As stated in previous sections, urban landscape is an important part of the destination attractiveness and therefore is something to consider in competitiveness plans. Elements such as the construction style, facade colors and materials, urban aesthetics style –dustbins, benches, fountains, etc.- and premises signs determine the aesthetic experience of the visitor by enhancing the character of the destination.

Destinations lacking this kind of style harmony should carry out a Plan stating the colors, materials and designs of all urban aesthetic elements, the intended illumination atmosphere banning premises signs that shine disrupting the atmosphere, the creation of green spaces, the style, range of colors and materials allowed in the buildings facades, the need for cleaning the facades, etc.

Implementing such a kind of program is a serious challenge, so long as it entails sometimes enforcing the house owners to clean or carry out work on their houses facades, which usually goes beyond their obligations stated by law. In these cases, it is advisable to plan an incentive system together with a subsidy or soft credit plan not to charge private owners with the whole cost of the Plan. So long as the result is a much more attractive destination, this is a profitable investment to carry out.

Consciousness and hospitality campaign. It sometimes happens that tourists are regarded as aliens by the local residents, not making them feel welcome during their stay. Connection with locals is indeed very appreciated for many tourists, and making them feel welcome is likely to increase their satisfaction and therefore the destination competitiveness.

The solution to that challenge is to carry out a campaign informing the local inhabitants about the importance of the tourism industry for the local economy: the amount of businesses and jobs that are directly and indirectly created and sustained thanks to the tourists. It is necessary to make them understand the importance of their attitude towards visitors to keep the business developing in favor of the economy.

In this point it is necessary to point out that some tourists do not behave properly while they are visiting their holiday destination, and so contribute to create a feeling of rejection by the local population towards visitors. In these cases, the hospitality campaign should be preceded by a redefinition of the targeting strategy to prevent certain types of tourists coming, and at the same time controlling the tourists’ behaviors by the local police.

Conservation of natural and cultural heritage. The cultural and natural heritage is the bulk of the destination landscape and also the core of many tourism experiences. A proper conservation is therefore essential for the tourism competitiveness and sustainability, and so this type of program should always be among the top priorities.

The conservation of the natural environment entails not only cleaning, but also managing the risks like fire or epidemics in forests, water depuration, installation of the proper systems to manage waste, and prevent people from littering and damaging the environment. In some cases, when there is some heritage of special value, it is convenient to create a protection area to prevent visitors from entering and spoiling the natural life.

With regards to the cultural heritage, there may be many types of assets to consider: historic buildings and monuments, where restoration is necessary; traditions, to be leveraged by creating events marketable to the tourists; local gastronomy, arts and crafts to be leveraged through the creation of outdoor markets; history, to be leveraged through the creation of ethnographic and history museums.

Which other programs would you consider to develop new feelings?

Posted by Jordi Pera

Jordi Pera is an economist passionate about tourism, strategy, marketing, sustainability, business modelling and open innovation. He has international experience in marketing, intelligence research, strategy planning, business model innovation and lecturing, having developed most of his career in the tourism industry. Jordi is keen on tackling innovation and strategy challenges that require imagination, entail thoughtful analysis and are to be solved with creative solutions.

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