ENCOURAGING TOURISM DISPERSAL IS EVERYONE'S BUSINESS
Tourism dispersal touches on so many vital areas for the tourism sector.
February 9, 2016
Posted By: Peter Jordan
Last month the World Tourism Organisation announced that in 2015 cross border arrivals for tourism in Europe grew by 5% reaching 609 million, or 29 million more than in 2014. On paper, this is undoubtedly good news, but what did this look like on the ground? Think back to the summer months of 2015 and hardly a week went by without news headlines in the mainstream press about city centres becoming ‘unlivable’ due to crowds of tourists waving selfie sticks, blocking up the streets, flocking to souvenir shops that used to be local food stores or shattering neighbourly peace in rented vacation apartments.
As a reaction to this, local residents have set up protest groups in many of Europe’s popular city destinations to call on their local government for a halt to hotel construction and demand that local authorities put the brakes on a type of tourism development that is changing the face of their neighbourhoods (often leading to the loss of authentic local life that visitors actually look for!). While it may be the first port of call for angry local residents, turning to local government for a solution is too simplistic. Local governments may have the power to halt hotel construction or shift traffic congestion from one part of a city to another, but in the end it’s the job of all tourism stakeholders to ensure that visitors’ spending is spread around the destination as evenly as possible, that local neighbourhoods are prepared and consulted, and that visitors can make the kind of discoveries that will make them want to return.
These are vital issues to consider not just for crowded primary destinations, but also for secondary and tertiary destinations that are looking to benefit from growth at major hubs.
The impact of the emerging markets on a complex issue
Aware of the future impact of Asian outbound markets on the world’s most popular destinations, the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) decided to take pre-emptive action and asked TOPOSOPHY to produce a report that would give practical recommendations to DMOs on how to handle this complex issue. Since July last year I have been working closely with PATA and its members across the Asia Pacific Region to get a better understanding of Asian Millennials’ travel tastes, so that the report’s recommendations could make dispersal an opportunity for destinations by finding which touch-points motivate these consumers to explore further, rather than see dispersal as a problem to be dealt with by heavy-handed authorities.
The result is a comprehensive report: Stepping Out of the Crowd: Where the Next Generation of Young Asian Travellers is Heading and How to Win a Place on Their Travel Itinerary which will be made available through PATA’s online e-store. Featuring case studies on what the best destinations are doing right, as well as expert opinion and unique consumer data, the report, proudly supported by Visa Worldwide, is sure to give food for thought to destinations and businesses that have an interest in attracting visitors from Asia’s rapidly emerging markets.
As a destination marketing and management agency whose long-term commitment is to help destinations to ‘make the best of what every place has to offer’, TOPOSOPHY is delighted to have been part of such a groundbreaking project. We believe in smart planning that understands market dynamics, combined with innovative marketing that makes use of creative technological solutions. We also know that ‘hidden gems’ are what can put your place on the map. So if you’re interested to learn more about how to make the best of what your place has to offer, just drop us an email or come and meet us at our forthcoming events. We’d be pleased to talk with you!