|The DMO World Destination Branding Master Class
|Mountains don't smile back
In the last issue, TEAM tourism and branding specialist, George Whitfield, stressed the importance of placing the visitor at the centre of any brand development exercise. But it's not always that easy...
The second part of the DMO World Destination Branding Master Class takes a look at some of the obstacles faced by places and destinations in delivering their brand promise effectively.
Best results for twenty years
Despite three years of slow growth, international tourism experienced a dramatic rebound last year, with many destinations enjoying record visitor numbers.
Preliminary figures for international tourist arrivals in 2004 indicate an all-time high of 760 million - an increase of 10% on the previous year. Growth at this level has not been experienced since 1984 when the after effects of a global economic downturn were only just being shaken off.
These figures are based on research by the WTO (World Tourism Organisation) which describes 2004 as "an excellent year for tourism, but with a tragic end".
WTO Secretary-General Francesco Frangialli said: "We are confident that the tourism sector is back on the right track after three difficult years and though still in commotion over the tragic events in Asia, the tourism sector will surely show again its extraordinary resilience and its ability to overcome difficulties by making an important contribution to the quick recovery of the affected countries."
The figures, published in the January WTO World Tourism Barometer, show that international tourist arrivals increased by 69 million last year, with Asia and the Pacific regions enjoying almost half of all new arrivals.
Published three times a year, the WTO's World Tourism Barometer provides the industry with a short-term overview of tourism performance, along with evaluations and predictions by a panel of experts. The full document is available by subscription only, although a four page summary can be downloaded via the facts and figures section of the WTO website.
Launch of tourism business information portal
A radical new approach to the way tourism professionals access and disseminate industry data has been introduced in Australia, following the launch of Decipher.
Hailed as the world's largest tourism business information portal, Decipher is an online data warehouse for tourism research and industry intelligence. Material is catalogued and accessed from over 2,000 individual information resources, including those of the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Tourism Research Australia and Sustainable Tourism CRC (STCRC).
Developed by the Cooperative Research Centre for Sustainable Tourism, Decipher has been built using the latest .net technology and offers tailored functionality for different levels of the tourism industry. A unique online business planning tool provides strategic support for small to medium tourism enterprises, and both regional and local tourism associations are set to benefit from the site's Destination Marketing Analyser which delivers information on tourism products and assets, current and potential visitors, and the development and evaluation of marketing campaigns. Decipher has also made benchmarking between local tourism authorities easier by incorporating a self-assessment and evaluation tool.
Material can be displayed in a variety of formats - from web pages and PDF documents to maps and multi-media files. Statistical information can be customised via a table manipulator, plus there's an option to store any personal settings and previously retrieved data for later use.
Destinations compete over valuable new market
As the Chinese government relaxes its control over outbound tourism, competition for shares in this valuable new market is intensifying.
China's outbound tourism has increased exponentially since restrictions on travel to foreign countries were lifted officially in 1990. Since 1995, annual growth has averaged 21%, with international departures in 2004 reaching an impressive 28.5 million. The WTO estimates that, by 2010, China will have become the fourth largest country to send tourists abroad, with numbers reaching 100 million - equivalent to the combined totals of international travellers in all other Asian countries.
Destinations in Asia, once the traditional choice of Chinese tourists, now have to compete with other destinations as the market broadens. Twenty-nine European countries last year received Approved Destination Status (ADS) from the Chinese government, removing the need for Chinese citizens to apply for special travel permission to these countries. Airlines were quick to respond, increasing flights between Europe and China by nearly two-thirds over the previous year.
Marketing opportunities are increasing, too, following the country's first World Travel Fair last year. National tourism organisations from every continent, along with tour operators, carriers and accommodation providers, are expected to attend next month's BITTM, the Beijing International Tourism and Travel Market, a new international travel and tourism exhibition and conference.
Tourism industry is confident of quick recovery
Three months on and much has changed in the tsunami hit areas of the Indian Ocean. As reconstruction efforts continue and aggressive marketing campaigns take shape, overall confidence in the region's ability to bounce back is running high. Yesterday's terrible earthquake off the coast of Sumatra has set back recovery there, alas, but in other parts of the Indian Ocean the focus is on the region's long-term rebuilding efforts.
The latest WTO market intelligence report, unveiled earlier this month at the second emergency task force meeting in Berlin, examines the effects on tourism since the disaster and suggests that future demand will recover quickly. A new awareness campaign 'Holiday with your heart - travel to Sri Lanka, Maldives, Thailand and Indonesia' was launched by the WTO at the same event in an effort to kick start marketing efforts.
The report complements the findings of earlier research carried out by Visa Asia Pacific on behalf of the WTO which indicate that 65% of travellers planning to visit Asia said that their plans had not been affected by the tsunami. In some countries, especially Canada, the UK, Sweden, Australia and China, it was now even more likely that travellers would choose to holiday in the affected areas. These travellers expressed strong belief that their actions would play a key part in the recovery process of local communities.
However, the majority of tourists planning to visit the region also said they welcome more practical information about issues such as health and transport. In response, both the WTO and PATA, the Pacific Asia Travel Association, have called on the travel industry to ensure that the message they communicate to travellers is as accurate and up-to-date as possible. The ability to respond quickly and responsibly to the demand for this type of information was further highlighted by yesterday’s event.
James Murray, Executive Vice President of Visa Asia Pacific, supports this approach: "We hope that national tourism organisations, policy makers, tourism operators and merchants... will be better able to address the issues and concerns among global travellers, restore tourist confidence and stimulate travel back to their countries more effectively."
For up-to-date information and key facts about the region, plus links to government and tourist office websites as well as alternative news sources and strategic intelligence bulletins, visit the PATA website.
Photos in this article are © Andaman Graphics - visit www.phuket.com for more information.
|Research and Reports - What's New
|Too many reports... too little time? We've created this section of DMO World to help you locate the very latest published research and reports...
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The importance of accessing detailed, timely and accurate information on the tsunami affected areas of the Indian Ocean is clear. Now more than ever, tourism professionals need the support and advice of industry experts along with up-to-the-minute statistical data if they are to anticipate and meet tourism demand across the region.
PATA, the Pacific Asia Travel Association, researches and publishes a range of indispensable reports and forecasts that aim to meet this need. A new series of Asia Pacific Tourism Forecasts 2005-2007 covering 40 countries from across the region provide predictions for how the rapid growth experienced pre-tsunami will develop and expand over the next three years. The report will be available in April via the PATA website at a cost of $350 for members ($499 for non members).
Other useful publications from PATA include a Quarterly Statistical Report, covering visitor arrivals by country of origin and outbound travel data, plus comparisons with the previous year. An Annual Statistical Report, now in its 40th year, provides detailed accounts of visitor flows both to and within the region and highlights areas of growth, stagnation and decline. Both publications are available from the PATA website.
In addition to these specialist reports and publications, a monthly newsletter - Issues ... Trends - is circulated free of charge to PATA members and focuses on the latest industry issues and topics. Non-members can subscribe at an annual cost of $250.
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There are positive signs that the business and convention industry is starting to recover from its six year decline, according to a new report from the Travel Industry Association of America (TIA), the National Business Travel Association (NBTA) and the Institute of Business Travel Management (IBTM).
The 2004 Business and Convention Travellers' Report reveals that business travel increased by 4% in 2004 and that further growth is expected. The 100 page report details current trends and traveller profiles and is available for purchase at a cost of $150 for members ($250 non-members) from the TIA website.
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The first in a series of annual reports monitoring trends and developments in Europe's travel and tourism industry has been published by the research group of the ETC (European Travel Commission).
The European Tourism Insights 2004 - Outlook for 2005 provides an overview of European tourism in a world context, information on outbound travel trends and booking patterns, profiles of source markets and a forecast for the coming year. The full report can be downloaded from the ETC website.
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A new report, highlighting the latest trends in the European Internet Travel Market, has been published by Carl H Marcussen, a senior researcher at the Centre for Regional and Tourism Research in Denmark.
The report reveals that online travel sales increased by 36% in 2004, with further growth of around 23% expected in 2005. The UK remains the largest online travel market in Europe enjoying a share of 38%, with Germany in second place at 22%. Comparable data since 1998 is included within the report.
A parallel study focusing on trends in the US online travel market is also available for download.
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The European theme continues with a new in-depth review of the European online travel market published by PhoCusWright.
The report includes information on the latest technology initiatives and marketing trends, an analysis of online agencies in comparison with suppliers' figures, plus forecasts to 2006 for five European markets - France, Germany, Scandinavia, Spain and the UK. If also offers a specific focus on Germany, the largest travel market in Western Europe.
European Online Travel Marketplace Update 2002 - 2006 is available in print format only for subscribers to purchase from the PhoCusWright website.
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Every tourism professional will be familiar with the use of statistical forecasts as part of the strategy development process, and many will routinely incorporate the results of research based on travellers' intentions, rather than their actual experiences.
A new study led by Claude Péloquin of Canada's Tourism Intelligence Network, takes a new look at the validity of this approach and suggests that there may be a bigger gap between 'planned' versus 'actual' than previously imagined.
Using data from polls conducted by the Conference Board of Canada over a five year period, the report compares stated travel intentions with the actual number of trips taken, and reveals an average annual growth rate divergence, in both directions, of 17%.
A summary of the findings from the report - Travel Intentions Versus Actual Travel: Two Realities - is available via CanadaTourisme.com, the official business site of the Canadian Tourism Commission.
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The resources of over 600 academic institutions and nearly 3,000 individual researchers in more than 100 countries can now be accessed via a new online database.
The site has been created by CIRET, the Centre International d'Etudes Touristiques, which specialises in the study of tourism, leisure, outdoor recreation and the hospitality industry. More than a quarter of a million items - books, journals and reports - have been catalogued by country and/or theme and can be accessed free of charge by researchers and industry professionals.
|Dates for Your Diary
Keep up-to-date with all the upcoming events for tourism destination professionals. Here are just a few of the key events taking place in the year ahead:
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WTTC 2005, the 5th Global Travel & Tourism Summit, will be held between the 8th and 10th April in New Delhi, India. More information from the WTTC, the World Travel & Tourism Council.
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The Beijing International Travel & Tourism Market, BITTM 2005, will be held on the 20th - 23rd April this year.
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A UK conference, looking at Best Practice in Destination Management, will be held in Chester on the 29th June 2005 and will focus on forging effective partnerships within the UK's new tourism infrastructure. For more information, contact the organisers.
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Iguazu Falls (Argentina / Brazil / Paraguay) is the location for the WTO Conference on the Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) which will focus on understanding tourism and designing strategies. The conference will be held on the 3rd - 6th October 2005.
| In This Edition...
RESEARCH AND REPORTS|
Agrotourism drive in Thailand
Queensland's airline deal
India's new tourism plans
New visitor resources for Paris
Dublin exceeds growth targets
New identity for Vancouver
EU spotlights tourism industry
First events travel TV channel
Spain's £25million campaign
Progress on European portal
VisitBritain.com wins award
New travel portal launches
Word of mouth marketing site
New online tourism directory
Austrian e-training course
Women really are the fastest!
Promotion of agrotourism
Thailand's agrotourism industry is the focus of a new government funded marketing drive aimed at increasing the number of visitors to the country's agriculture research centres and rural visitor attractions.
Thailand's agrotourism programme encourages visitors to experience farm life at first hand and is already proving popular with overseas travellers looking for an alternative to beaches and trekking. It is also gathering strong support from rural communities as they recognise the benefits of 'green' tourism.
Queensland's airline deal
A new three-year multi-million dollar marketing partnership between the Queensland government and Singapore Airlines has been launched.
The airline, which will increase its Queensland services from next month, will promote the state in several key Asian and European markets. Tourism Minister, Margaret Keech, confirmed that joint marketing activities would include campaigns in priority markets such as China, India, Japan, Korea and the UK.
Plans for tourism overhaul
The tourism ministry in India has unveiled plans for a radical reform of the country's tourism structures. The proposed initiatives include the creation of a new tourism board, to be co-financed by the government and private sector, an increase in the country's tourism spending to bring it in line with world average (based on GDP percentage), and the introduction of taxation policies to stimulate further growth.
New visitor resources
A new visitor welcome centre, an innovative online portal and a new city pass are just a few of the initiatives revealed recently in Paris to cater for the capital's ongoing upturn in visitor numbers.
Tourists will now benefit from a new welcome centre, supplemented by seven year-round satellite centres and nine summer-only kiosks, plus a web portal available in thirteen languages. A new convention bureau will help the city to compete effectively for the business market.
Growth targets exceeded
Dublin exceeded its targets for tourism growth last year, thanks to aggressive marketing campaigns in the UK and other key markets.
Dublin Tourism CE, Frank Magee, commented: "Results for 2004 show that the number of visitors increased by 6% and occupancy levels are the highest in the country at 70%. Dublin has performed exceptionally well in the European market... however, there are many challenges, not least the huge investment in hotel development which will result in a 25% increase in the number of hotel rooms by the end of this year."
New identity highlights Vancouver's visitor promise
Following an extensive 16-month brand review process, Tourism Vancouver has unveiled its new identity... a bold V formed by two exclamation marks. The new design is intended to represent the city's "excitement, vitality, sense of self and celebration".
"This new brand identity encompasses the promise that we're making to visitors about how we want them to feel," said Tourism Vancouver Chair, Paul Tilbury. "The promise is something we believe the entire community will embrace."
Tourism given top priority
The potential economic and social impact of tourism was on the agenda at a recent meeting between the EU's new Commissioner for Enterprise and Industry and four key tourism industry figures. The Commissioner, Gunthur Verheugen, said: "tourism has a huge potential in Europe that is not fully exploited" and confirmed that it was one of three key sectors where sustainable growth was expected.
Specialist TV channel
The first internet-delivered TV channel serving the UK's business incentives, travel and events industry has been launched. Events-TV will provide news reports, interviews and studio discussions on key industry issues, as well as advice and support on new trends and best business practice. Industry professionals can view the channel free of charge by registering on the Events-TV website.
New £25 million campaign
A new advertising campaign launched this month by the Spanish Tourist Office aims to promote the country as a safe, familiar and easy-to-get-to destination.
Costing £25 million, the 'Smile, you're in Spain!' campaign will run in print media, on TV, advertising boards and the internet. Around a fifth of the budget will be spent promoting the country to a UK audience.
Progress for tourism portal
Plans for a new European tourism web portal have taken a step forward with the appointment of a new Online Marketing Manager. Karine Bruère will work closely with NTOs, the ETC (European Travel Commission) and portal developers ec3 in Vienna to achieve the proposed launch date of autumn 2005. The portal will provide a unique access point to each of Europe's national tourism information websites, plus other substantial features. More...
Website wins top award
Britain's official visitor website scooped a top industry award recently, as travel agents and tour operators from over 200 countries declared VisitBritain.com to be the World's Leading Tourism Authority Internet Site. The site, which attracts millions of visitors each year, was revamped last year and now includes information in 19 languages. There are further improvements planned for later this year.
New travel portal launched
A new travel portal has been launched. The Surf2Travel website offers links to thousands of tour operators, travel agents, and information web sites, with an option of searching by operator, destination or type of holiday. The site also provides links to sites offering related services such as travel insurance and airport parking.
Word of Mouth:
New industry resources
Viral, buzz, blog, grassroots... a new website from WOMMA, the official trade association for the word of mouth marketing industry, aims to help marketing professionals keep up-to-date with the latest WOM tools and techniques. The site boasts case studies and interviews, as well as an industry code of ethics and tools for measuring effectiveness levels.
World Tourism Directory.com
Need the contact details for a government agency or a travel trade association? Looking for information on a specialist publication or the fax number of an embassy? A new online directory provides contact details and links to over 100,000 tourism-related organisations in more than 300 countries.
Austrian Expert online
Travel professionals seeking specialist knowledge on Austria can now access a new internet resource. The Austria Expert programme has been upgraded to provide an accredited online training course as well as access to marketing materials and intelligence reports.
It's official, women are faster than men!
Women complete online travel purchases quicker than men, according to a recent survey of nearly 3,500 internet users by Burst! Media. The results showed that women now make the conversion from internet research to online purchase at a higher rate than men, a change from earlier surveys which suggested that women were more likely to take on a role of researcher with men making most purchases.