Category: Tourism trends

Trends shaping the present and future of the tourism industry and case studies

Business trendsIntelligenceMarketing 3.0StrategyTourism marketing

Key Takeaways from #SoMeT13US, the Social Media Tourism Symposium

When I moved to Huntsville, Alabama, as a surly teenager in the mid-90s, I never thought I’d be returning 17 years later to attend a professional conference on social media and tourism. Mainly because there was no such thing as social media then and I was largely consumed by door slamming, journal writing, and comic books. And, to be honest, I thought Huntsville was a drag.

Things have changed. Huntsville’s CVB proved that Rocket City USA has legitimate tourism cred and serious social media chops.

The Social Media Tourism Symposium, referred to as #SoMeT in both Twitter and spoken parlance (soh-mee-tee), is an annual conference hosted by Think! Social Media that brings together the best and brightest tourism marketers. Each year, the conference’s location is crowd sourced online. The perspective attendees vote in a bracket-style competition for which destination is best suited to host the pack of social media nerds and tourism geeks. Huntsville triumphed over much larger and more convention-y places like Indianapolis, Cleveland, and St. Pete’s.

Huntsville’s process to win #SoMeT13US became a case study used throughout #SoMeT13US to highlight new trends at the intersection of social media and tourism. It was really inspiring. Here are a couple themes that emerged from #SoMeT13US and Huntsville’s selection as host that were especially relevant.

1. The DMO is dead. All hail the DMO.

Destination marketing alone is not enough. Comprehensive destination management is what’s needed. Hey this sounds familiar! (I’m looking at you DMAI).

As Fred Ranger of Tourisme Montreal put it, “destination marketing has been about brand expression. Destination management is focused on the brand experience.” The visitor’s online experience during their dreaming and planning phase is just as important as their offline experience when they arrive – and the DMO/CVB has a critical role to play. In Huntsville’s quest to land #SoMeT13US they blasted their social networks with calls-to-action. But it was their offline work that pushed them over the finish line: they deployed street teams to educate and engage locals and visitors and posted signs in highly-trafficked areas. The campaign might have been born on Facebook and Twitter, but it lived and thrived with real-life people-to-people contact. This took work and planning and investment and it wasn’t easy, but it was successful.

2. Less Volume, Better Engagement

We’ve come to a beautiful time as social media marketers where we can focus on quality not quantity.

I presented a case study of our work in Namibia where we realized very quickly that our destination was highly specialized and creating a huge online community was not in the cards. And that was okay. Because, the people that are attracted to Namibia are the super-enthusiastic people that are social media dreams. The online community growth has started to slow, but the level of engagement continues to get deeper and deeper. We’re able to get to know our community and give them the kind of content that they’re looking for – the kind of content they want to own and share with their networks. We also know that these folks are the ones who return time and time again to Namibia and try to get their friends to come along. We can use our social platforms to communicate directly to the dune hikers, the rhino lovers, the extreme photographers. We’re not trying to create campaigns for Johnny McCarnivalCruise or Sarah O’AllInclusive. We want to speak directly to Namibia’s biggest fans and give them every possible reason to book a trip.

Mack Collier thinks you should probably be more like Taylor Swift. Or Johnny Cash. Or Lady Gaga. Basically, any kind of “rock star” – because they understand the importance of developing real connection with their fans. Incentives for the “superfans” doubles down on engagement and creates newsworthy opportunities to re-connect with casual participants.

Fred Ranger also spoke about how typical ROI should be replaced with RQE – return on the quality of engagement. Reporting on the number of Facebook fans, Twitter followers, are good… but are you actually creating brand interest and  attracting visitors to your destination? Measuring this is easier said then done, but it’s getting better. And if social media wants to start justifying the same kind of cash that traditional tourism marketing is pulling – then we need to think about conversions.

3. If Content is King, then… this Metaphor is Hard. Be Smart with Your Content.

So, how dow we create conversions? My delicate vocabulary sensibilities were assaulted when Tom Martin threw “propinquity” at me all willy-nilly. If you consult your SAT vocabulary flash cards, you’ll be reminded that propinquity means proximity and similarity. As tourism marketers, we can get lost in inspiration. The idea is that your main content piece – be it a video or blog post – should be complimented with actionable, related content. Someone is really digging a post on your new bike trails? Give them a call-to-action to book a bike tour.

This idea isn’t new: think the popup boxes on YouTube or Amazon’s “You Might Also Like” feature. This inbound marketing strategy is an important component of successful tourism websites and new flexible website designs means there’s no excuse to turn your destination site into an opportunity for sales.

Inbound marketing is content driven. Many of us create content calendars that include hundreds of individual posts – all with an active shelf life of a couple of days. We come up with ideas and then distribute them. Tom waves his finger at us. Tsk Tsk.  “Every content piece should be re-purposed at least three times.” Invert your content creation strategy: think first about all the places the content live (affinity blogs, media placements, newsletters) and then build your content from the ground up. Once the main piece has been create, disassemble and distribute.

4. This isn’t Easy.

Peppered throughout the successes, were plenty of stories of failures. Sometimes ideas that are hammered out in a conference room, that seem perfectly logical, fall flat. Social media is people driven and people – jeez – they can be fickle. Platforms can change on a dime (I’m looking at you Foursquare badges), what you ask your community to do can be two clicks too onerous, and sometimes – something more shiny pops up somewhere else. Playing it safe doesn’t work – it’s important to take risks and try something new.

As two novice spacemen from MMGY remind us, “Proceed and Be Bold.”

Check this video in Youtube    https://youtu.be/K9ZPHrnoBXc

Article reposted with permission from www.solimarinternational.com/resources-page/blog/itemlist/tag/Social%20Media%20Marketing

Environmental sustainabilityIntelligenceIntelligence methodsSustainabilityTourism trends

Environmental Indicators in Measuring Tourism Impacts

The task of measuring tourism impacts is often conducted by identifying certain economic indicators, such as the contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) or the overall employment, and measuring their base before tourism, after a tourism project begins, and monitoring them as the project progresses. Here is an example infographic from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC):

wttc

Source: WTTC

With sustainable tourism development, we aim to manage the consequences of tourism in such a way to maintain a balance between its economic, environmental, and socio-cultural impacts. Therefore, it is important to identify environmental and socio-cultural indicators to measure as well.

Throughout the coming paragraphs there is a list of possible indicators that you can use in evaluating and measuring tourism impacts particularly environmental ones. Although this list is not comprehensive, these indicators are the most commonly used and can guide you in your initial tourism planning.

Effect on Air, Water, and Soil Quality

Tourism relies heavily on natural resources, so its impact on the environment is crucial when measuring tourism impacts. Ideally, tourism should be able to improve the quality of air, water, and soil in a destination. Some example questions to consider when measuring this indicator:

  • Has tourism been able to maintain the quality of water in the destination?
  • In places that promote pristine and endless strips of beaches, how clear is the water from coliform bacteria contamination?
  • Is there sufficient drinking water for the communities in the destination?

Sometimes, tourism businesses use up most of the water in a local area because of the needs of the tourists, such as providing showers in hotels. This transfers resources from the locals to the tourists and sustainable tourism developers should be wary of this.

Effect on Conservation Goals

When measuring tourism impacts on conservation, use these guide questions to help you:

  • Is tourism helping in protecting wildlife and other environmental resources?
  • Has the number of endangered species increased or decreased?
  • Does tourism support forest regeneration and marine conservation?

Effect on Waste

Many tourist establishments generate a relatively higher volume of waste compared to the locals’ waste. Well-implemented waste management strategies are crucial to prevent negative impacts on the environment such as high levels of dangerous bacteria. Consider:

  • How much solid waste is generated by tourism?
  • Is there a proper waste management system to prevent negative environmental impacts?
  • What is the ratio of the tourism establishments waste compared to the locals?

Measuring tourism impacts using these environmental indicators is helpful in sustainable tourism planning as a guide in designing strategies to achieve the positive side of these indicators. Of course, your indicators will need to be customized to your destination.

This blog post is from www.solimarinternational.com/resources-page/blog/itemlist/tag/Measuring%20Tourism%20Impacts

Business trendsIntelligenceMarketing 3.0SustainabilityTourism trends

The Economic Impact of Tourism Development

What’s the world’s number one export? No, it’s not oil, food, or electronics.

It’s tourism

Tourism is of tremendous economic importance worldwide. As mentioned above, tourism is a huge sector of both goods and service exports- 6% of goods ($1.4 trillion USD) and 29% of services. Tourism jobs also represent one in eleven jobs globally, and the industry comprises 9% of global GDP, according to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) finds that tourism generates 4.4% of total investment globally.

why tourism matters

In numerous economic sectors; including accommodations, food and beverage, retail, recreation, entertainment, and transportation; tourism has both direct and indirect effects on production, jobs, wages, and taxes (according to Tourism Economics). By increasing the tourism in a region, economic development and growth can be spurred. More tourists mean more demand, more jobs, and more revenue, including tax revenue for local and national governments.

According to the U.S. Travel Association, tourism in the U.S. alone generated $2.1 trillion USD in economic impact with $887.9 billion in direct spending and an additional $1.2 in industries indirectly affected. This accounts to $28,154 spent per second in the U.S. by domestic and international travelers. The tourism industry is one of the top employers in the U.S. supporting 14.9 million jobs and generating $209.5 billion in wages for employees directly in the travel industry.

While tourism and travel are clearly important globally, they are critical industries for much of the developing world. Tourism is the leading export in over half of least developed countries (LDCs). Some of the most unique tourist attractions, such as indigenous culture and nature reserves, are located in rural areas- where poverty is often greatest. In this, tourism offers the potential to create jobs where they are most needed and to reduce migration to urban areas.

In 1950, there were 25 million international tourists. This number has skyrocketed since, climbing to 1087 million last year. The UNWTO predicts that this number will only continue to climb with an anticipated 3.3% annual increase from 2010 to 2030, to reach 1.8 billion in 2030. Of these, the UNWTO expects that tourist arrivals in emerging destinations will increase at twice the rate of destinations in advanced countries, 4.4% growth per year as compared to 2.2% per year. The greatest demand comes from China with 2013 travel spending equaling USD $129 billion- and this market is expected to continue growing.

This blog post is from www.solimarinternational.com/resources-page/blog/itemlist/tag/Measuring%20Tourism%20Impacts

Business trendsMarketing 3.0storytellingTourism marketingTourism trends

What is Pervasive Entertainment?

Pervasive entertainment is entertainment untethered and unencumbered by time, location and reality. For those who like equations, here’s one:

Pervasive entertainment = ubiquitous media + participatory experience + real world + good storytelling

Pervasive entertainment may start with single-media – fictional story in a book or a true story in a TV documentary – yet will then spiral outwards to encompass more media platforms, more audience participation and more touchpoints (touchpoint = online and real world places where audiences come in contact with the entertainment).

Pervasive entertainment becomes a living, breathing entertainment experience that continues without you – evolving, morphing, refining, improving, growing – even when you’re not watching. But the story has you hooked. The evolution of the experience has you hooked.

You know that if you turn on your mobile device they’ll be another piece of content to grip you further; to drive you deeper. Soon you’ll become addicted; crazy for another fix: a tweet, an email, a video, a puzzle, a PDF, a link, a blog comment…

…and when the content doesn’t arrive you’ll create it yourself. You’ll feed someone else’s addiction.

Pervasive entertainment blurs the line between real-world and fictional world; between work time and play time; between author-directed plot and audience-improvised role-play.

Pervasive entertainment is transmedia storytelling evolved

This blog post is from http://www.tstoryteller.com/what-is-pervasive-entertainment

Collaborative business modelsMarketing 3.0StrategyTourism trends

Collaborative tourism: is it an original business model?

When we talk about collaborative tourism or tourism peer to peer, we refer to a new trend in the way of traveling based upon sharing basic resources such as accommodation, transport means or personal experiences with other travelers through platforms where the host publishes his/her offer and the tourist makes the booking.

Theoretically, this phenomenon comes from the collaborative economy model, where consumers may also become suppliers by sharing their means with other consumers, also operating on a global scope, prioritizing human relationship above competition and selfishness. The presentation results in being attractive to more and more tourists, who do not really know the business model completely.

Due to the constant transformation of the virtual economy, the task of identifying and describing virtual business models has turned to be quite hard. However, since this P2P platform business model usually determines it’s success, it is no longer unknown: platforms meet the needs of both supplier and buyer, and take a commission from the booked services price.

Checking the four main collaborative platforms operating in Spain for the four types of services available (eating, accommodation, transport and experiences), we find that their revenue sources are not so different from the traditional tourism intermediation models:

  • AirBnB: charges a commission between 6 to 12%, plus 3% of the conversion rate.
  • BlaBlaCar: depending on the amount of the transaction, it charges 1,60€ for transactions from 1 to 8€ or a commission of 20% for transactions of more than 8€.
  • EatWith: it takes a commission of 15% of the transaction.
  • Trip4Real: it takes 25% of the transaction.

A similar procedure is used for any other tourism intermediary, such as a travel agency, a tour-operator, broker, etc. The difference remains in that these intermediaries comply with the regulations in terms of safety, health and taxes, whereas most of the accommodation and transport means offered in the collaborative platforms do not comply with them.

Therefore, the consumer of collaborative platforms pays a lower price due to the non-compliance with the aforementioned regulations, and takes the risk of suffering any kind of accident without the safety prevention means. Furthermore, despite the social sharing philosophy upon which the platform is created, many suppliers operate for profit rather than for the aim of sharing cost or experiences. However, this is difficult to prove and control.

The hospitality sector’s opinion. The outburst of the tourism collaborative platforms has transformed many housing apartments into competitors for the hotels and regulated tourist apartments, and so it has turned into an important issue for the Public Administration.

According to the Spanish Confederation of Hotels and Tourist Apartments, there are only two possible solutions to this conflict: the total banning of the platform operations –as has happened in many major cities-, or the obligation for the apartments to comply with the same regulations as the current regulated tourist apartments.

It is necessary to take into account that the tourism sector in Spain is hyper-regulated. There are around 250 regulations at the European level referring to intellectual property, consume, safety and payment means, plus those from the local administration. All in all it entails a great deal of costs that do not apply to the collaborative platform operators, including the VAT, the police files, fiscal and sanitary costs. This is clearly a case of unfair competition. In this regard, there are many points to consider:

  • The regulations applying to these tourist housing apartments are different for every region in Spain, for it is necessary for the destination regulators to study them all in detail.
  • It is necessary to consider the product separately from the platform, taking into account that the platform operation is similar to the traditional channels such as the travel agencies, and so the same regulations should apply.
  • The evolution of the global society is likely to propel this paradigm beyond the current conditions, demanding solutions in terms of adapting the new regulation and policies.

This blog post is from  http://www.visionesdelturismo.es/turismo-colaborativo/

 

Marketing 3.0Tourism marketingTourism trends

Tomorrow’s DMOs Must Become Brand Managers

This article is written by Bill Baker, Chief Strategist at Total Destination Marketing, author, speaker, and blogger at “Small City Branding around the world”

It seems that every other day I see more evidence that the role of destination marketing organizations (DMOs) is under greater threats and challenges than ever before. The diminishing role of print and broadcast advertising, the ready availability of new sources of unbiased destination information and new distribution systems all challenge DMOs to redefine the value that they add for their community. They must not only adjust to reduced budgets, but also avoid the ongoing technological and consumer behavior changes that are totally reshaping the game. Added to that, there are now previously unseen competitors and alternatives that threaten to replace them. Never before has the relevance and role of DMOs been as hotly debated.

It’s not hard to find DMOs that have had their budgets decimated or even worse are closing their doors. In most cases, this is extremely short-termed thinking where the objective has been to balance the City’s bottom line because of shortfalls in taxes and revenue. Cities that are serious about economic development and tourism, and the long term prosperity and growth of their communities need their DMO and the stellar reputation for their city like never before. However, in this environment DMOs must adjust their focus, role and the way that they operate. Specifically, they must become brand managers on behalf of their cities.

These challenges have been addressed by DMAI in its excellent DestinationNEXT Report which provides an important strategic roadmap for DMOs to succeed in the future. The Report reveals three transformational opportunities that DMO have to effectively address in this rapidly changing world. These transformational opportunities are:

  1. Dealing with the new marketplace
  2. Building and protecting the destination brand
  3. Evolving the DMO business model

Recommending that DMOs become brand managers by building and protecting their brand is not new to the TDM team. We have been advocating this for more than a decade.

This post is from http://citybranding.typepad.com/

Marketing 3.0Tourism marketingTourism trends

Southern Success Story: Effective Online Tourism Marketing of US Gulf Coast States

It is estimated that 84% of leisure travelers use the Internet for planning their trips. Knowing this, a creative and effective online tourism marketing strategy is essential for every tourism destination.

The US Gulf Coast States (USGCS), more popularly known as the “Southern Crescent,” comprising of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida has actively sought to enhance its online tourism presence and to interconnect its travel experiences across states. The results have proved promising: At the conclusion of the USGCS Geotourism Program, the region has succeeded in creating a regional website of around 1,800 unique and authentic local sites, attractions and businesses that has attracted over 35,000 unique visitors to its pages to date. The program has also built a Facebook community of over 3,000 followers.

The Project

The USGCS Geotourism Program, in partnership with National Geographic, seeks to promote tourism that sustains and enhances the natural, cultural and historic attributes of the four Gulf States and that benefits local communities. The goal is to highlight what’s unique about a place through the voices and stories of the people that live there.

The challenge was to facilitate collaboration among industry stakeholders including the government, local businesses, public lands and residents to develop marketing tools that promote the region as a world-class tourism destination.

Strategy included the establishment of a Geotourism Stewardship Council composed of representatives from the four state tourism offices as well as private and public sectors stakeholders from the region. The Council’s role was to oversee and implement the Geotourism Program in the region with the vision to help promote the lesser-known jewels of the states.

The Geotourism team used a tested methodology to gather content and stories from local people to create an online Geotourism website, highlighting the lesser-known attractions of the region through the voices of the people that live there. The website and its accompanying mobile app and print MapGuide are high quality tools, co-branded with National Geographic, to help travelers explore the region.

Once the Geotourism website, apps and print maps were created, two social media campaigns were implemented to promote the Geotourism website. A Geotourism Program Facebook page and related social media channels were established and used to engage travelers with the content and stories of the region.

The Results

Through these campaigns, the Geotourism Program generated over 35,000 unique visitors to its website, build a community of over 3,000 Facebook followers and generate over 1.8 million media impressions using the content from the website.

Ultimately, this campaign shed light on the importance of using smart online tourism marketing strategies. Developing useful marketing tools, targeting the right campaigns and involving locals in telling their stories are all part of what made the program a success.

This blog post is from  www.solimarinternational.com/resources-page/blog/itemlist/tag/Geotourism%20Program%20with%20National%20Geographic

Business trendsCollaborative business modelsCollaborative cultureEnvironmental sustainabilityMarketing 3.0

Why Do We Need Public–Private Partnerships in Sustainable Tourism?

What is a Public Private Partnership and Why Is It Important?

In sustainable tourism development projects, there are inherently multiple goals in which an array of parties maintains interest. From tour operators to local governments and communities, these stakeholders all have expected outcomes for tourism development. In order to properly represent these interests and create mutually beneficial outcomes, public–private partnerships are essential to a great tourism strategy. The most important piece of this puzzle is maintaining strong relationships and a clear understanding of divergent yet symbiotic objectives.

It is convenient to maintain strong relationships with a wide range of actors in the tourism sector, which is vital to the negotiation of these partnerships. These partnerships leverage financial and technical expertise and promotional benefits from private and government partners in exchange for improvement in stakeholder relations, marketing, and improved product and service delivery. Increased sales revenue and jobs, improved visitor experiences, alternative incomes for local communities, decreased levels of conservation threats in areas of high biodiversity, diversified production and increased production for small farms, and overall improvement of sustainability of destinations have all been marked results of these arrangements.

Public–Private Partnerships in Geotourism Programs

At the onset of each program, a destination Geotourism Stewardship Council is organized, made up of a variety of stakeholders, including communities, non profits, businesses, and governments representing the interests of the natural, cultural, scenic, and historic features of the destination. This group then works with the consultants to develop the regional tourism strategy, defining the vision, goals, timeline, and objectives of the project. The Stewardship Council also plays a key role in implementing the strategy by meeting regularly to generate local nominations, review the information and materials created, and utilize the products established to sustain and promote the destination.

Public–Private Partnerships in Conservation

Another area of tourism that benefits from strategic public–private partnerships is conservation. In areas of high and rare biodiversity, there can be built partnerships between a number of public and private stakeholders, including protected area authorities, government bodies, conservation NGOs, the local tourism private sector, and communities living around the area. Generally categorized as Protected Area Alliances, these groups, similar to the Geotourism Stewardship Councils, play a key role in the development of the tourism strategy as well as its implementation. The alliances continue after the initial implementation of the program, allowing the community to continue supporting and sustaining the protected area. Through these partnerships, multiple goals and interests can be achieved, such as increased protection for the environment, increased revenue for the tourism sector, and increased economic opportunities for the local governments and communities.

Public–private partnerships are essential to sustainable tourism development, as they allow stakeholders across the globe to participate in the development of tourism strategy, communicate and achieve their goals and interests, and successfully implement tourism programs, all while collaborating to achieve a common goal.

This blog post is from www.solimarinternational.com/resources-page/blog/itemlist/tag/Geotourism%20Program%20with%20National%20Geographic

Co-creationCollaborative business modelsCollaborative cultureMarketing 3.0Tourism marketing

How to Involve Locals in Destination Management & Marketing

In today’s tourism marketing world, all buzz is around discovering a destination like a local. If you search for “travel like a local,” you will find countless articles and websites trying to help travelers discover destinations through a different perspective. As an avid traveler that loves to escape tourist traps, I appreciate destination marketing organizations trying to help me connect with recommendations from people who live in the destinations I want to visit.

I think this is why Airbnb.com and the sharing economy are taking off, not just because it provides a different type of accommodation, but because it connects visitors with locals. One of the benefits of staying at an Airbnb.com property is the ability to meet a local to give you recommendations for what to do, where to eat, and how to experience the destination away from the hop-on, hop-off tour buses. Who doesn’t want this type of local knowledge when planning a trip to an unknown destination?

The challenge for destination marketing organizations is how do you get locals involved and willing to share their recommendations with visitors? Destinations like Philadelphia, are launching programs called “Philly like a local” – Experience Philadelphia as its residents know and love it,” which recruits locals to take over the DMO’s social media accounts. But taking that approach to scale and getting hundreds or thousands of locals involved in a program to answer the question “What is so special about my place?” is not an easy task……unless you have the National Geographic Society on your side.

We have been very fortunate to work alongside National Geographic for the last 7 years helping destinations apply an approach to sustainable tourism development called Geotourism. A concept created by Jonathan Tourtellot, geotourism encourages destinations to develop and market tourism products that sustain and enhance the geographical character of a place—its environment, culture, geology, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents.

The Geotourism approach is unique among tourism development solutions due to its focus on the establishment and empowerment of a private-public partnership that serves as a forum for dialogue, collaboration, and planning among local businesses, non-profit organizations, residents and tourism authorities. The goal is to better manage challenges through cooperation while also identifying, sustaining, enhancing, and promoting the destination’s unique assets.

As a tourism development and marketing professional working in the field for more than a decade, I can tell you that bringing stakeholders together to participate in a tourism development and marketing program is hard work. Every one of our projects involves some type of stakeholder engagement process to plan and implement destination and marketing programs, but getting government, businesses, and residents to come together for a meeting or complete a task is extremely difficult.

This all changes when National Geographic is part of the program. The power of that yellow logo is incredible. People all over the world admire the brand immensely and jump at the opportunity to collaborate with such an respected organization. With the mission of inspiring people to care about the planet, they are extremely effective at getting locals engaged in caring for their destinations.

James Dion leader of the Geotourism program, kicks off every project with a public launch announcing the program. This brings together businesses, politicians, residents, and media to learn about the program and how they can be involved. After the public launch event, local residents are encouraged to visit a National Geographic co-branded website to nominate a business, place, attraction, or event that is an authentically local experience. This event and program generates incredible media attention at a local level, helping further distribute the call for participation from locals.

We are currently in production of a U.S. Gulf States Geotourism program supported by national, state, and local partners to raise awareness of the unique cultural and environmental experiences in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and the panhandle of Florida. We are working to rebuild the area’s allure following the 2010 Gulf of Mexico Deepwater Horizon oil spill that caused a devastating economic impact on the region.

Through local events and media outreach led by our local consultants, the program is generating incredible media coverage, which in turn has inspired over 1,000 nominations (and counting!) from locals for the Geotourism MapGuide. Once the nomination period closes, National Geographic’s team of cartographers, editors, fact checkers, and designers will work with the local public-private partnerships created at the beginning of the program to finalize the MapGuide and prepare for a public roll-out.

In summary, getting locals involved in destination marketing and management is not only a wise approach to ensuring a destination maintains it’s sense of place, but it also is a great way to help visitors discover the hidden gems of your destination. Here is some of the most recent media attention generated from the U.S. Gulf States Geotourism program. It’s just one great example of how the program effectively brings people together and generates immediate excitement.

Alabama to be part of National Geographic geotourism project – Your Town Alabama

Residents encouraged to nominate areas for geotourism – The Selma Times-Journal

What’s special about Columbus? Nominate your pick for National Geographic map – The Dispatch

National Geographic launching locally built travel guides in BP oil spill states – The Time Picayune

Louisiana selected as part of National Geographic’s Geotourism interactive map – WAFB News

Let National Geographic help you – Natchez Democrat

Your authentic Florida location belongs in Nat Geo’s geotourism guide – Visit Florida

Alabama Gulf Coast site nominations sought for Geotourism MapGuide – AL.com

Massive geotourism project underway in U.S. Gulf Coast States – Destination Stewardship Center

This blog post is from www.solimarinternational.com/resources-page/blog/itemlist/tag/Destination%20Management?start=10

Marketing 3.0StrategyStrategy planning & executionSustainabilityTourism trends

The Evolution of Destination Management

In the 1950s, before affordable jetliners helped to launch the modern-day tourism explosion, the world experienced 25 million international tourism arrivals a year. Today, as the world population has grown significantly and people, on the whole, have more disposable income, that number has jumped over 1 billion. Before the advent of the Internet, destinations tended to focus mainly on promotion to maximize visitation. In an era when trip choices were more limited, promotion was often all that was needed to capture the visitor dollar. Now, however, travel options have increased exponentially, and the impact of technology has dramatically altered the provision of visitor information, both prior to and after arriving at a destination.

Tourism destinations have begun to appreciate the need to better manage the whole visitor experience as they realize that success can translate into repeat visits, longer stays, increased spending and positive word of mouth. The Internet has brought much more information to the traveler’s fingertips, making destination management even more important. Destinations must be better organized and promote themselves more effectively and more often to stay ahead of the curve.

According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the role of governance in tourism is undergoing a shift from a traditional public sector model that promotes government policy to a more corporate model that emphasizes efficiency, return on investments, the role of the market, and partnership between public and private sectors. Regarding the last of these, there has been a greater emphasis on public/private partnerships in recent years as destinations learn that both parties must be equally involved.

In response, destination management organizations (DMOs) have begun to form comprised of both public and private sector stakeholders. DMOs are often the only true advocates for a holistic tourism industry in a place, and in this role, they ensure the mitigation of tourism’s negative impacts to the environment and local communities as well as the sharing of opportunities for a vibrant exchange of people. In fact, a DMO may best serve to facilitate dialogue among the private sector, public sector, and other stakeholders that may otherwise never collaborate or understand how their decisions reverberate down a destination’s long tourism value chain.

So what have we as tourism development professionals learned in the past 50 years? How have we evolved into better destination managers? Better organization, equal inclusion of the private and public sectors, and building local capacity all contribute to making tourism more sustainable. Here are some basic lessons we’ve learned:

Communication counts. Residents need to understand why the historic site or natural landscape they see every day represents a potentially important economic benefit for them. Managers need to understand locals’ needs and concerns. Tourists need to learn the significance of what they see, why and how they can help preserve it. It is best when locals help with this interpretation, as the process increases their ownership of the story. And finally, the rest of the world needs to understand the value of the place. No better messengers exist than those enthusiastic home comers with travel stories to tell.

Planning counts. Without planning and public education, the incentive to protect can easily degenerate into mere exploitation. There is a need to see the whole picture from the beginning and focus on long-term goals throughout the process.

Management counts. Just letting tourism happen likely leads to trouble, especially when visitation soars. Dispersing tourists and timing their access can mitigate crowding. Encouraging tourists to stay overnight instead of making quick day trips can increase local economic benefits. High-quality tourism rather than high-volume tourism conserves rather than exploits.

Individuals count. Behind institutional reports and government memos hides a key reality: individuals make huge differences. Success or failure easily depends on a dedicated local person working tirelessly to inspire others, organize them, and keep the process moving.

Communities count. People who live in gateways hold the key to create a “virtuous circle,” whereby tourism’s contribution to the economy generates incentives to conserve the resources that keep tourists coming. It may be necessary to have some kind of forum, such as a sustainable tourism stewardship council. Top-down schemes imposed from the outside don’t work well, if at all. Locals must own part of the process.

It is uplifting to watch destinations and industry practitioners begin to understand how best to harness the power of tourism and use it for better, not worse.

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