A drop in the number of articles about the pandemic is hopefully a sign its effect on tourism is truly easing up. We now see tough competition amongst regions to capture the “revenge tourism” market. There is also concern that travelers don’t have much to spend. Those in the industry and supporting agencies are looking to their governments and private investment for marketing, development of new offerings, and improved infrastructure and access.
- There is a buzz about “Slow Travel” and its appeal to the popular over-50s market.
- Florida is still a popular destination among all ages, with Orlando “crowned Largest Travel & Tourism City Destination in America for 2022,” there are delays for international travelers obtaining the necessary visas.
- We see many innovative ways to increase visitors, including developing fun and useful apps, dynamic advertising campaigns, creative partnerships, and tie-ins with film and TV. The most talked about: “As part of its efforts to increase tourism, Saudi Arabia announced this week the launch of a free stopover visa for stays of up to four days, including a free hotel night.”
Another interesting trend is “Community Tourism,” where community members provide local experiences for tourists. I saw this work successfully when I was in West Cork, Ireland. Tour operators weren’t coming to the area because it didn’t have larger hotels and other facilities normally used for their groups. A group of B&B operators, mainly middle-aged housewives, worked with local tourism and funding authorities to pitch to CIE, the largest operator coming into Ireland, to bring guests to stay at the B&Bs, instead of one larger hotel. The group organized tours, activities, and entertainment that highlighted the best of the area, traditional music and Irish dance sessions, local foods, etc., to provide a much more authentic experience for the travelers. The women were the stars at Failte Ireland’s annual awards that year.
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