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3 Questions Your Tourism Master Plan Should Answer

 

 

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1. Where are we?

After you have identified an area prime for destination development, one of the next steps should be conducting a destination tourism assessment. This assessment will provide an analysis of the competition in your region as a tourist destination and help implement the steps you need to take for your tourism planning.

The market ultimately decides the boundaries of a destination as well as it’s physical and cultural limits, which is why you should keep in mind the following:

  • Attractions: What draws people to this destination? The culture, the biodiversity, landscapes, architecture, history, agriculture, festivals etc.

  • The Environment: The climate, safety, what are the cultures, religions, infrastructure, resources, facilities, services, etc.

  • The Policies: Government type, laws, you need to know what you can and can’t do when developing a tourism plan.

  • The Competitors: What is being implemented in your destination already? What are neighborhoring destinations offering?

  • Key Stakeholders: Who will be involved in tourism activities in this destination? How should they be involved in the planning stage?

  • Potential & Opportunities: In what areas can further development be useful? Is there untapped potential in the destination? 

You can learn more about destination assessments and read about assessments Solimar has completed here: http://bit.ly/1kMaQjM.

2. Where do we want to go?

After assessing the destination, you can move toward the planning stage. One of the most important aspects of planning is visioning. You need to have an ultimate vision for the destination. This vision will help you set goals and determine how your destination can acheive the desired outcomes. These goals should be attainable and feasible, some examples are:

  • Increased visitation

  • Higher sales

  • Increase awareness of destination among target markets

  • Increase awareness of vision (eg: ecotourism, community-based tourism, protect natural resources, improve water quality, help local economy) among target markets

  • More tourism products offered

3. How do we get there?

After creating a vision for your destination, the real work begins. How do you get where you want to go? In order to reach your vision and meet your goals, you need to create strategies and tactics that will engage community members & key tourism stakeholders while raising awareness among your target markets to drive sales & visitation. Here are a few inititiaves you might need to reach your goals:

  • Get community involvement from key tourism stakeholders

  • Focus on the creation or improvement of tours, lodging, attractions, events, and visitor services that can enhance the visitor experience. This in turn can increase your opportunity to attract investments.

  • Set up social media platforms & integrated marketing efforts

  • Implement marketing contests and campaigns.

  • Create partnerships with investors, government agencies, etc. 

If you follow these general guidelines, your tourism plan should be effective. Remember to monitor and evaluate your plan by collecting data and analyzing the success of the destination initiative. For more information on tourism plans, please contact us! Solimar offers strategic planning services which include destination assessments, tourism marketing strategies, and many more services which you can read about in this section: http://bit.ly/1mT1h5x.

5 Characteristics of a Great Tour Guide

 

What makes a great tour guide? The answer may vary from person to person.

In reality, a guide wears several hats, and most of the times even without knowing it. Guides are storytellers, entertainers, teachers, and professionals as they provide a service in exchange for compensation. Guides are what make a tour great as they add a personal touch to the tour. They invigorate the audience and have the significant ability to influence a tourist’s experience. A good tourist experience can further spur positive word-of-mouth, kind reviews, and will likely result in more sales for the tour guide. Here are 5 characteristics that every tour guide should possess and continuously work to improve: 

  

1)   Speak loudly & clearly

It is always crucial to be wary of this point whether you are a new tour guide or a seasoned professional. Your guests need to hear you properly so that they can digest the information and remain engaged. A small group size is always the best for a tour as it allows you to pay close attention to, and manage the guest experience. However, if you have a big group, consider using headsets so that everyone can hear the information you are providing.

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2)   Continues to learn & improve

A good tour guide should continuously work on fine-tuning the tour to make it an exceptional one. You can identify the areas that require improvement by paying attention to what guests enjoy the most and the least about the tour, by asking your guests some questions & answering theirs, and by encouraging guest feedback at the end of a tour. These practical steps can help you realize what further steps you need to take in order to enhance your tour.

 

3)   Relays accurate information

Although it can be tempting when faced with a question you may not know the answer to, a good tour guide never makes up facts. It is vital to relay accurate information to your guests. If you do not know an answer to a question, point the guests to a resource which will help them attain the answer, or better yet, make note of the question and request their contact information so you can supply them with an answer after conducting research. This will help you raise your credibility, provide great customer service, and at the same time, allow you to acquire new knowledge yourself.

 

4)   Helps tourist learn

As Benjamin Franklin has famously said, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn”, it is crucial to engage your audience and facilitate their learning. Simply informing them of the facts is boring. Encourage conversation, demonstrate enthusiasm, ask questions, answer questions, and identify any tools that may help your guests learn better. For example, that tool could be a visual aid such as a photo, a take-away pamphlet with information about the site or an email after the tour listing everything the visitor saw or ate on the tour.

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5)   Act professionally

A tour generally takes place in a relaxed environment. However, as a tour guide, you are still selling a professional service and should act accordingly. It is important to act professionally in order to establish authority and credibility with your audience. Also, small but important details such as being punctual, greeting tourists warmly, dressing well, and being courteous and attentive, helps you build rapport with your audience.

 

Please consult our downloadable resource to learn more about being an excellent guide & service perovider to increase your sales: 

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5 Ways To Make Your Tour Stand Out

 

Many independent travelers shy away from organized tour companies, but we here at Solimar International believe they can be extremely beneficial. Tour guides make your travels easier and provide you with in depth information about a destination. Many destinations off the beaten path are not even accessible without a guide, and many of these places should not be missed. We believe that knowledgeable employees are vital to the success of every tourism company. 

Before you begin to develop an organized tour, check out our 5 ways to make your tour better than the rest! 

1. Be a Naturalist

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Have you considered that nature might be one of the best assets of your tour? If your tour is outdoors, you should be using this resource to your advantage by informing visitors of the many natural wonders of an area. Try to point out natural landmarks and talk about their impact on your tours theme. Once you start researching, you might be surprised how the natural landscape influenced your destination. Here are some practical ways you can incorporate nature on your next tour:

Use binoculars

Use field guides

Identify examples of common species in the region 

Talk about how nature has influenced the area, for example, if it’s a historical tour, you could use old photos to show how the landscape has changed over time and how that has affected the history of the area – good or bad!

Educate as much as possible, the purpose of the tour is to explore and learn!

2. Talk About Conservation

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The most important thing about your tour is to preserve the beauty of the destination. Travel while respecting the local people, economy, culture, and environment. Voice the importance of conservation and tell them how to do so. This way, your customers will be able to practice conservation and be able to educate others. Keep these things in mind while giving your tour:

Travel in small groups

Tell your guests that littering is prohibited, and provide them with a reusable bag

Ask before photographing locals

Check back with communities after tours to ensure there has been no negative impact as a result

3. Use Interesting Language

Nobody wants to listen to a boring tour guide. Think of ways to make what you’re saying as interesting as possible.  Prepare little ancedotes or humouros side notes to keep your audience engaged and interested. Using vivid language will also help grab your audience’s attention. Speak with authority and enthusiasm, but also be sure to keep your personal opinions to yourself. Present all sides of an issue and help your audience decide what they think. 

4. Intriguing Opening 

You should start by assessing your audience – Where are they from? Have they been here before? What interests them about on this tour? This could be anything from a striking statistic about the destination to a preview of what you will show/teach them on the tour. Another idea could be starting with a provocative question – leaving them anxiously awaiting the answer throughout the tour.  

5. Non-verbal communication 

What you say is incredibly important to your tour, but so is how you act! Use gestures to engage your audience. Smile, make eye contact, and keep body language in mind! Your customers should feel as though you are approachable and friendly, and body language is an important part of that. 

  Check out more awesome Solimar blogs here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Importance of Measuring & Evaluating After Marketing Training

 

Has your destination just completed a marketing training exercise? Or maybe you’ve just begun creating a new marketing campaign? Or perhaps you are even in the weeds of implementing a marketing plan. No matter where you are in the process, it’s important to make sure you aren’t leaving out the final key step of marketing planning: measuring & evaluating.

There are four basic questions you should ask while creating and implementing a marketing plan. During the planning stage, the strategy is concerned with “Where are we now?” and “Where could we be?” These questions help determine the direction your marketing plan should pursue. “How do we get there?” focuses on the practical steps and objectives that will help you reach your marketing goals and move the firm towards the desired direction.

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The final question, although sometimes overlooked, is perhaps the most important, “Are we getting there?” This last step is concerned with measuring and evaluating results and progress, and it is crucial for the following 3 reasons:

 

1) Regular Accountability of Marketing Activity

The tools to measure & evaluate marketing efforts are very necessary. Having metric systems in place allows a firm to track all of its marketing activity and growth. This information is vital as it helps a firm conduct analysis on the performance of various marketing channels and campaigns, and see if they’ve materialized in sales. A metric system can be as simple as an excel spreadsheet recording all of the marketing activity. For example, see a sample social media tracking spreadsheet below:

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2) Overall Performance Indication

The marketing activity can be analyzed using KPIs – Key Performance/Progress Indicators. The Key Performance/Progress Indicators are designed alongside tactics in the planning stages to understand how the success will be measured. Gathering marketing activity allows a firm to compare the real time data with the targets they set out to achieve. An example of the key performance indicators is as following:

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3) It informs new strategic direction and tactics

Upon comparison a firm can identify which marketing tactics are working and which are not. The metrics also allow a firm to evaluate the factors that led to the growth of sales and those that deterred it. This information allows the firm to change it’s strategic course if required, change tactics and/or implement new ones, and lastly, allows a firm to improve it’s opportunity pipeline.

 

Solimar International provides an array of services, including comprehensive marketing training for our clients. As part of our marketing training, we help design key indicators to measure & evaluate the success of a firm’s marketing efforts. Learn more about how we can be at your service at the following link: http://www.solimarinternational.com/tourism-marketing

Improve your Tour Guide Skills in 5 Easy Steps

 

In the world of tourism It is essential for you as a tour guide to take tourists on an amazing journey and deliver an experience and the knowledge that will stay with them forever. You have the power to effectively transfer a country’s culture, make tourists want to stay in a country longer, and influence if they will come back again in the future. That is why you should constantly improve your skills and come up with new ways of attracting and capturing tourists around the world. Here are 5 great ways to improve your tour guide skills:

Know your audience: It is extremely important to know the audience you are talking to, especially if you want to connect and influence a specific group of people. How old are they? Where do they come from? What do they want to learn and do? According to HRI (Hotel & resort insider) there are twelve types, however the most common tourists to be aware of are:

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  • Young/Backpackers- limited budget, want adventure & fun, minimum luggage

  • Sport & recreation- want active sports or sporting events

  • Leisure- want to relax, be comfortable, lay on the beach, have nice dinners

  • Eco-tourists- Nature loving, seek authentic local experiences and want to give back and volunteer in the communities they visit

  • Cultural- want to immerse in the country’s culture, go to festivals, get know the local people, tribes, other groups and customs

  • Educational - go to a specific place to study and research a country for professional reasons (eg: plant research for medicine, diseases, water contamination)

  • Special Interest - come to explore a specific passion like bird watching, fishing, diving, film festivals, etc.

A group of tourists can actually be in more than one of these categories, and a good tour guide will know this by learning about visitors between stops and use visitor and universally relevant information to make examples more personal as well as better help them achieve their goals and the experience they are looking for during their stay.

Manage the group: When dealing with a group of tourists whether it be a large or small group, management skills are very important. As a guide you must:

  • Be well organized and prepared for the group you will guide

  • Make sure everyone can see, hear well, and understand so the information is received and no one is left out

  • Assure visitors safe passage by being aware of all surroundings and the best ways to take advantage of the terrain free from danger

  • Handle unexpected situations such as medical attention if someone gets hurt or if there is a conflict within the group

  • Choose comfortable and safe locations for stops, preferably locations where the tourists can also enjoy a nice view, interact, and have a bite to eat

Make the tour dynamic: A dynamic tour has to have variety, activity, and excitement throughout:

  • Games, activities, or demonstrations

  • Using sense activities besides vision (smelling of natural plants and their properties)

  • Using natural objects or other props (learning to make a craft, cook, hunt)

A great example of a dynamic tour that implements many activities and variety can be found in the Bolivian Amazon tours in El Beni region of Rurrenabaque. There are animal sightings, interactive activities such as building a canopy, learning to weave, catching and cooking fish, learning about medicinal plants and how to survive in the jungle. Below are some examples of activities where tourists interact with the natives and nature in the Bolivian Amazon.

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Make smooth transitions: In order to provide a great touring experience, guides must keep the group feeling active and engaged as they transition from site to site by:

  • Asking questions or providing an activity to maintain tourist's interest between stops. Such activities could be as small as having an extra pair of binoculars and passing them to tourists so they can better spot a native animal or landmark.

  • Talking to tourists between stops, getting to know them and making a personal connection is a must. A good way to start this engagement is through storytelling. Guides could entertain tourists with a mixture local legends and myths as well as historical facts.

Evaluate your tour: In order to become a better tour guide and prepare for your next tour, you must:

  • Ask questions at the end of each tour in order to see how much the group has learned

  • Do a self-evaluation: did I accomplish what I wanted with this tour? What could I have done better?

  • Distribute and collect a tourist survey (should be no more than 5 questions, this way you get feedback fast. No one wants to answer 10 questions after a long tour so make it simple and easy to answer.

  • Create a blog or website where tourists can stay connected and give you more feedback

A great example of a tour guide connecting with tourists is Assigue Dolo. He is a tour guide in Mali who has his own webpage, where tourists can keep in touch with him and give him feedback. Great way to stay connected and keep tourists coming back and spreading the word.

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Read more about about our many tourism projects around the world in our Solimar Tourism Portfolio and find more examples of different tourism activities that help engage tourists.


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.

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Graphic from UNWTO

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 means 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 travellers. 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.

Here at Solimar, we understand the incredible opportunity that tourism presents for international development. It's why we are so passionate about what we do - we know that harnessing the power of tourism for good is vital to the economic growth and stability of the developing world. Everything we do seeks to use sustainable tourism as a force to stimulate economic growth and development while conserving natural resources and cultural heritage. To learn more about how Solimar uses tourism to spur economic development, visit our page here: http://bit.ly/1xEMP8t. 

Contact Us to Learn More

Why Devote Resources to Tourism Development?

 

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Of course we here at Solimar International believe that tourism is a critical industry, but recent data from the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) support this theory. The data is being used to call on world leaders and aid policymakers to devote more resources to tourism development.

The UNWTO called for higher support to tourism in international aid flows at the First High-Level Meeting of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation in Mexico City, 15-16 April 2014: http://media.unwto.org/press-release/2014-04-28/unwto-calls-increased-support-tourism-development-agenda

Tourism’s global economic importance

Tourism accounts for 42% of the exports of services of emerging markets and developing economies and has been identified by half of the least developed countries as a priority instrument for poverty reduction.

International tourism to emerging and developing economies has been growing strongly in recent years. In 2013, emerging and developing economies received 506 million international tourists, or 47% of all international tourist arrivals in the world, as compared to 38% in 2000. UNWTO forecast this share to surpass that of advanced economies in the coming years and to reach 57% by 2030. 

Despite being a high-impact economic activity, a major job generator and key export sector—accounting for 6% of total trade, tourism receives only 0.5% of the total Aid for Trade (an initiative of the World Trade Organization) disbursements and a mere 0.13% of the total Official Development Assistance as measured by the OECD.

The potential for poverty alleviation and social development, particularly for women and youth

“Tourism is recognized as a crucial economic activity and engine for development in Mexico. Representing 8.4% of our GDP, the sector employs the largest percentage of young people between 16 and 24 years, and a majority of the tourism work force is women. The National Development Plan states that development policies in the tourism sector must include criteria aimed at increasing the contribution of tourism to reduce poverty and allowing social inclusion. Because of the importance of the sector, the President recently announced the National Tourism Policy, recognizing tourism as one of the economic activities with the greatest potential for growth and the capacity to generate employment and foster development” said Javier Guillermo Molina, Chief of International Affairs and Cooperation of the Mexican Ministry of Tourism.

A trend toward public-private partnerships (PPPs) and the need to strengthen the private sector

The Minister of Development Cooperation of Luxembourg, Roman Schneider stressed the importance of strengthening the role of the private sector. “Governments provide the enabling environment but growth has to be generated by the private sector. This is in tourism even more obvious. The national strategies that we support in our partner countries include a strong private sector component through the hotel industry as well as local small and medium enterprises (SMEs)”. “Luxembourg sees many opportunities in the tourism sector for innovative delivery models, such as public-private partnerships”, he added.

 

You can download the new, brief UNWTO publication, “Tourism: Driving Trade, Fostering Development and Connecting People” here:http://dtxtq4w60xqpw.cloudfront.net/sites/all/files/pdf/tourism_and_development_final.pdf

 

Sources: http://media.unwto.org/press-release/2014-04-28/unwto-calls-increased-support-tourism-development-agenda, UNWTO, OECD

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 Traditional Foods to Try for an Authentic Travel Experience

 

One of the best ways to delve into a destination's culture is to sample its cuisine. Food is rooted in a place’s traditions, and eating local dishes is a great way to experience a small taste of a region’s history. Many traditional, authentic dishes from around the world that are popular in their home countries are obscure to most Westerners. Here is our list of the top 10 traditional foods to try in your next travel destinations:


1. Pempek - Sumatra

Pempek

Pempek is a popular specialty of Palembang in South Sumatra. It is a fish cake dish made with a mixture of Spanish mackerel and tapioca flour that is shaped and rolled like pasta. Pempek is served with noodles in a dark broth made of palm sugar, garlic, and vinegar. 

 

2. Mopane worms - Namibia

Mopane worms

Mopane worms are traditionally found in the northern part of Namibia. The Oshiwamba ethnic group lightly fries the caterpillars to create a crispy coating. The worms are a favorite of adventurous travelers looking for new culinary experiences. 

 

3. Ćevapi - Bosnia

Cevapi

Ćevapi is a Mediterranean street food sandwich served on a crusty bread or ciabatta bun. It is traditionally made with mince meat, roasted red peppers, onions, and sour cream. 

 

4. Hanoi fried fish - Vietnam

Hanoi fried fish

While pho is the most famous Vietnamese dish, Hanoi fried fish is extremely popular in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. It consists of fried white fish served with onions and pepper on a fajita-style sizzling plate. The dish is accompanied by a platter filled with lettuce, cucumber, carrots, pineapple, peanuts, and vermicelli noodles that can be stuffed with the fish into translucent rice wrappers and drizzled with muoc cham sauce. 

 

5. Charque de llama - Bolivia

Charque de llama

Charque de llama is a dish unique to Bolivia and popular amongst locals, particularly in the northern region. Llama meat is dried and served with stewed corn, boiled eggs, and cheese. 

 

6. Imagawayaki - Japan

Imagawayaki

Much of Japanese cuisine, like sushi and bento, has been accepted into Western diets. However, imagawayaki, a stuffed waffle cooked in a special waffle iron and traditionally filled with azuki bean paste, is still largely unknown despite its popularity in its home country. 

 

7. Ackee and saltfish - Jamaica

Ackee and saltfish

This traditional Jamaican breakfast may look like scrambled eggs, but it is really a mixture of codfish and locally grown ackee fruit. The bland, sweetish taste of the ackee fruit contrasts with the salty fish to create this Caribbean version of an omelet. The ackee and fish are usually combined with onions and peppers for a complete breakfast. 

 

8. Cong you bing - China

Cong you bing

Cong you bing, a popular street food in Shanghai and Taiwan, is difficult to find in the West. It can sometimes be found in the form of onion scallion pancakes at restaurants or in frozen food sections of Asian grocery stores, but these versions cannot rival the authentic experience in China. A fried, savory pancake made of unleavened dough and infused with scallions is topped with cheese, fried egg, and lettuce. It can be served with a variety of sauces from spicy chili to sweet hoison. 

 

9. Mensaf - Jordan

Mensaf
 Photo credit: Zach Heise from heiseheise.com

Jordan's national dish is hugely popular in its home region, but still relatively unknown to the West. It is a lamb dish cooked in broth with fermented dried yogurt called Jameed, topped with spices, almonds, and rice. Mensaf is often served on special occasions and holidays, and is eaten communally from a large platter. 

 

10. Slugburger - Mississippi

Slugburger

You don't have to leave the country for an authentic, local travel experience! During the Depression, northern Mississippians added potato flour to their ground beef to maximize burgers per pound. Today, slugburgers are made with beef and soybean grits. The burgers are shaped into small patties, fried in canola oil, and served with mustard, dill pickles, and onions on a 5-inch bun. 

Marketing To The Female Traveler

 

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In honor of Women’s History Month in March, we took a look at the female travel market. The results were eye opening—female travelers are clearly an important market to target.

According to Intrepid Travel, which booked over 100,00 US passengers for 2012, 63% were female. The majority of their travellers were aged 25–39 (46%). So female travelers between the ages of 25 and 39 are their biggest market. 

Further, a new report by MMGY Global and the Harrison Group confirmed that the not only has the number of affluent (read: higher spenders) travelers risen in the past few years, but the majority of those travelers are women. The study was conducted in 2013 and surveyed more than 2,500 leisure travelers at various income levels about their vacation habits over the prior 12 months. One of the more impressive stats from this study revealed that women now make up the majority of these affluent travelers at 54%, up from 42% in 2010.

Likewise, a 2013 survey by Small Luxury Hotels (SLH) of the World revealed that 48% of travel website users are now women, while a significant 66% of women said that travel companies would see an increase in business if they tried harder to serve women travelers.

Of course, women face travel dangers that men may not. Recent targeting of women as sexual assault victims in India has caused a decline in tourism to that country[1], as women are able to put their purchasing power behind tourism products they support and feel safe with. The SLH survey corroborated that making female guests feel both comfortable and secure are two of the most important considerations when creating the personal luxury experience. As a result, some hotels are starting to offer women-only floors.

So what can tourism companies and marketers do with this information?

Below, Phyllis Stoller of The Women’s Travel Group reveals some of the trends she sees in women’s travel. Phyllis shared that women are asking much different questions today than they were ten years ago. Here are some of her insights.[2]

 

1.  Women expect the same level of travel hotels and services that they have experienced in their business travel. Both today’s working women and women who are now retiring are seeking quality hotels and other upmarket services they had in their business travels and conferences. Women who have roles as executives, foreign service employees, and travel abroad students have had their standards in travel set by prior experiences. They are not willing to settle for less in their leisure travel. Between 2011 and 2012, Small Luxury Hotels saw a surge in lone female bookings with a 53 per cent increase in demand for rooms.

2.  Women are increasingly bi-lingual, making travel easier. In today’s global economy, a recent survey showed that a third of all business executives are bi-lingual. Most colleges require students to have at least two years of a foreign language. This requirement is making travel more comfortable for many women.

 

3.  Women ask questions and want smart answers about their destination and their fellow travelers. Particularly in group travel experiences, women want to go prepared, with all of their questions answered, with a reading list to get them ready for the travel and some background on the persons with which they will be traveling.

 

4.  Women are more adventurous in travel than men. Phyllis says that women are always seeking unusual and new destinations while men are more satisfied with more predictable golf resort destinations. Even the London-Paris-Rome vacations have evolved into more exotic locales in South America, Asia and India.

 

5.  Frequent flier mileage and loyalty points may dictate times and destination of travel. Even when going as a travel group, women are willing to book their own travel and arrive early to destinations so that they can use their frequent flier mileage and hotel rewards.

 

6.  Women traveling solo is growing. Today’s women are okay traveling alone. They may not be able to arrange dates to work with friends or family, and they are traveling solo in a group that might have their same interests in travel – adventure, culinary, art, history, etc. Also women are traveling solo at all ages. More of travelers are traveling by themselves, compared to ten years ago. Some of that can be attributed to the growth of the widowed and divorced, rising growth of “indies” (a new term for those over 27, not married, not living with a partner and without children) and the growing longevity and vitality of those in their senior years.

 

7.  Women’s expectations for travel have grown beyond normal travel agents. Their expectations for travel have been set by university, museum and club groups. They are looking for more intellectual stimulation and “experience” in their travel. They are also looking for these trips without paying the high costs that some of these trips have commanded in the past. Some 75% of those who take cultural, adventure or nature trips are women.

 

8.  Women are deal seekers but discouraged by loss leaders that do not work for solo travelers. Women are frustrated with the premium applied by some travel companies for traveling alone. Some trips actually penalize solo travelers. Cruise lines typically do not have “single” deals. Not surprisingly, most marketing is directed to couples and families.

 

For information on how to lead effective targeted marketing campaigns, download our Inbound Marketing Ebook!

Marketing with a purpose ebook

 


[1] http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/11/world/asia/rape-cases-are-making-tourists-wary-of-visiting-india.html?_r=0

[2] http://www.womensradio.com/2013/06/phyllis-stoller-the-solo-womens-travel-group/

Community-Based Tourism & Conservation Working Together in Namibia

 

We've mentioned before why the number 42 is so important to Namibia. 42% of Namibia's land is under conservation management. This is a huge accomplishment for this stunning, but young country - no other country in the world is close to this degree of protection. This specific number is also of great importance to the future of Namibia, where tourism is rapidly growing thanks, in part, to their successful conservation efforts.

Let's take a look at Namibia's conservation record over the last few decades:

  • Tens of millions of Namibian dollars has been funneled into nature conservancies.
  • Rhino and elephant populations have risen threefold since the conservancies began almost two decades ago, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature.
  • Only 4 rhinos were reported to have been killed in Namibia in 2013, by comparison to over 1,000 rhinos which were killed in South Africa.
  • Namibia is the only country across the continent with an expanding lion population.

However, these accomplishments weren't achieved overnight or without sacrifice. How has Namibia achieved such great conservation & tourism success?

Decentralization and community-based policies

Over the past two decades, Namibia has adopted decentralization as a development strategy, which has provided local people with the legal property rights to self-manage wildlife and to conserve wildlife habitats. A series of community-based policies, which establish wildlife conservancies and tourism opportunities, have accelerated local economic growth and development. According to these policies, the benefits from entrepreneurial opportunities associated with wildlife and eco-tourism have been trickled down to the local population.

Sustainable Hunting

While hunting precious animals might seem to jar with the principles of conservation, speaking of the current situation in Namibia, this practice has been very beneficial in acheiving overall conservation goals. The pattern of selective hunting, which can also be called sustainable hunting, is to sacrifice a small number of wildlife in order to conserve the larger population. The majority of Namibia's revenue is generated by the tourism and hunting – which can be channeled back into community conservation projects.

Innovative Supervision

Drones, which have most commonly have been associated with military use, have been put into commercial and civilian uses detecting wildlife crime in Namibia. Namibia's Ministry of Environment and Tourism and World Wildlife Fund, who got a 5 million USD Global Impact Award from Google, have partnered together to track the rhino and elephant herds against illeagal poaching.

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 A Falcon UAV is launched in Namibia against rhino and elephant poaching

Volunteering and Conservation Programs

The proper method to stop poaching from the source is to propel community conservation & develop alternatives forms of incomes. Fortunately, many previous poachers are now earning their living from protecting the animals they once hunted thanks to the efforts of several conservation programs.

Namibia also boasts a variety of public volunteer programs focused on wildlife conservation. For example, The Elephant Human Relations Aid (EHRA) enables volunteers to help reduce elephant-human conflict in the southern Kunene region of Namibia. These once-in-a-lifetime programs provide even more conservation funds while supporting conservation needs. Through these opportunities, visitors are able to truly immerse themselves in Namibia's culture and expand their philanthropic horizons.

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Volunteer in Africa with EHRA

As you can see, Namibia has been played an important role in this ambitious experiment to improve both community tourism and wildlife conservation. It can be a great model for other African countries to follow suit. 

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