Signage system. There has to be a homogeneous and integral tourism signage system for all the destination resources, attractions and services such as accommodation, restaurants, etc. The signage system should include at least three categories of signage, with a different design for each: pedestrian signs, site maps, and road signs.

Signposting is to orientate tourists on how to get to every tourist attraction –both pedestrians and car drivers-, whereas site maps are to provide the tourists with an overall vision of the site they are visiting. Signposting should be located in all crossings that pose a question on which way to follow, whereas site maps should be at least in the entrance of every site, and ideally also in many points of the site, depending on its extension. They should both indicate the interest points and the tourist routes, stating also the distance to be driven or walked until the destination point, except for those indicating that the tourist has already arrived to the site.

As long as possible, especially for the pedestrian signposting and site maps, these should be designed in accordance with the urban aesthetics style reflecting the character of the destination, to enhance the sensation of harmony in the visitor. Once on the site the signs explaining each location within the site should also be designed in accordance with the style of the signage system.

Congestion, noise & air pollution management. Many tourism areas suffering from congestion also have noise and air pollution issues, spoiling the quality of the experience and hence reducing competitiveness. Depending on the case, there are many possible types of solutions for both congestion and pollution.

Transforming road streets into promenades or pedestrian streets, or restricting transit to neighbors is one of the most effective strategies, as it not only reduces all types of pollution but also creates tourist friendly spaces and boosts the street food & beverage and retail businesses. Some famous tourist towns have prohibited gasoline vehicles, allowing only electric motor taxis to operate, solving both congestion and pollution issues, while providing public transportation services.

Defining the carrying capacity for every area and constraining flows according to this capacity is essential to manage congestion and the resources sustainability. Such restriction may be managed by assigning entrance schedule in advance through online ticket booking or on site.

In line with the aforementioned ideas, it is also possible to close transit to private vehicles and allow non-polluting public transportation only to operate in the tourist areas threatened by congestion and pollution. When there is no advance ticket booking system, but only queuing, it is advisable to inform visitors about the estimated queuing time at every site or attraction, so as to let them plan their experience most efficiently. This is a common practice in Theme Parks, but it may be applied to other cases. Finally, selling priority tickets at a higher price for those willing to skip queues or not having time to wait provides added value service and an extra source of revenue for the destination operator.

Tourist information offices. A necessary facility to provide the tourists with information and support while at the destination is the information office. There should be one in every hot area of the destination, where all the tourists arrive within a cluster or an important site.

There should be also a central information office at the destination main transport hub or one of the hottest points, from where all information services are coordinated. In this point, there should be also a call center for all tourists willing to obtain information by phone. This would extend its service schedules beyond the tourist information offices’, to provide at least 12 hour uninterrupted service every day.

These call centers could also provide a translation service for foreign tourists not mastering the local language. The translation service would help the tourists to establish communication with locals when asking for some information, but also to translate text to be sent through the mobile. This could be very appreciated by tourists, and also an extra source of revenue for the DMO, responsible for the tourist information offices.

Which other programs would you consider to reduce risks and discomforts?

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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