|Tourism - 2007 Issue|
|Business Development - 2007 Issue|
|Community Development - 2007 Issue|
Tourism - 2007 Issue
In tough times, where do tourists go? Maybe they can’t afford a trip to Disneyland but they can afford to come to your community if they know from your tourism messages that they will have an enjoyable time.
Messages from the municipal tourism department should not focus merely on the tourism industry’s traditional offerings – sights, food, drink, accommodation and services. Today’s tourists are looking for experiences.
Your messages should promote your community as a destination of choice for experiences that the local tourism industry can deliver in ways that are competitively distinct. Targeted to specific segments of tourism customers, your messages should tell them that your community offers personal, memorable experiences that will add value to their lives.
Many such experiences can arise from your community -- some noisy, some quiet, some for singles or couples, some for families. The point is to address tourism customers, not just with a message like “Come see our Downtown,” but “Come see our Downtown and enjoy this kind of experience wrapped around it.”
The tourism industry worldwide is continually coming up with new ideas for such tourism experiences. Some have become well established in recent years such as, sports, cultural, culinary and agricultural tourism.
Does your community offer any such experiences? Chances are that local entrepreneurs are already attracting and serving tourists in this way. In many communities the tourism-development departments struggle to keep up with the operators and do not sufficiently promote the available niche offerings as they become marketable. This leaves tourism customers at a loss when they are searching the web for creative ideas for their getaway.
Searching the web -- that is how the majority of trips are now researched, planned and booked. The single most effective way to support your local tourism operators and increase tourism in your municipality is to make it easy to find them. Your tourism department and the local industry must collaborate to deliver web-based marketing and online booking capabilities for tourism product.
Turn your tourism website into a one-stop place for ideas about the many features of your community -- camp sites, museums, historical sites, beaches, parks, trails – that can appeal to tourists as inexpensive yet fulfilling experiences. Include detailed listings and maps, an events calendar, and a selection of pre-planned trips that make travel to your region easy and convenient.
Publish information and ideas on blogs and social-networking sites and invite participation from your community – the more commentary and discussion you generate, and the more keywords you imbed in your website pages and messages, the more often search engines will place your site among the top picks on their results pages.
Here are some emerging tourism niches you could consider developing in collaboration with your business community:
Eco Tourism – Eco-friendly golf courses, wineries, gardens, farms and other points of interest can be organized into tours for families and groups.
Girlfriends’ getaways – Reunions, celebrations and good old-fashioned escapes are increasingly popular among women in the form of trips that can encompass everything from spas and tranquil cottages to sports and adventure pursuits.
Site Jogging – This is a new tourism trend for lifestyle-oriented people who like to jog around to various sites instead of riding in vehicles.
Just for fun, try searching for any of these keywords, or any of the more established ones such as agri-tourism or culinary tourism, and see which websites appear most prominently. Next time, one of them could be yours!
phone: 416-977-9724 x 509
133 Richmond Street West, Suite 202
Toronto, ON M5H 2L3