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Published on Monday, April 25, 2016

Destination brands could make $Trillions

"You are the most powerful brands in global tourism" new folio  says, calls for destinations to recognize massive lost revenue from undervalued assets.

With over 1 billion international tourists, around 5billion domestic travelers, and a turnover reckoned in the $trillions, tourism has grown dramatically from around 125million in the 1950s

Destinations have the capacity to be the most powerful primary brands in this massive activity but they are actually its most undervalued assets. Releasing and redirecting the power of these brands could bring untold wealth to destination communities, foster cultural, social and environmental sustainability, generate local and global training and quality employment in tourism source markets and provide better, more authentic and more fulfilling experiences to visitors.

Destinations are at the very root of tourism sustainability. The most destructive element of modern day tourism is its waste of resources in offering mass commodity tourism rather than managing and valuing the product/experience.

Within this tourism paradigm destinations provide, for free, the valuable destination brand name, the marketing magnet that draws in visitors. The few local, regional or national government people who have some responsibility for a destination's tourism and its brand simply expect that increases in visitor footfall translate naturally into direct benefits for their destination economies.

This could not be more wrong. Like leeches, global commercial organisations suck the goodness out of these valuable destination brands rendering the tourism activity almost an economic negative except to the most active of the destination's entrepreneurs.

Secondary brands, intermediaries such as OTAs (Online Travel Agents) such as  , Tripadvisor and Airbnb acquire some 25% out of each transaction and global/national multiple branded retailers in destinations ensure that of what money is spent in a destination a substantial share leaks out to them.

Therefore destination communities cannot benefit to the full extent from tourism economic activity because it largely exists behind secondary branded paywalls - the intermediaries. The lack of local profits also renders the tourism activity impotent to deliver local social and cultural benefits.

Moreover, the focus on numbers to characterize success, as tourism has increased, has resulted in environment degradation and adverse cultural and social effects.

Naturally intermediaries who don't have to pay for brands focus on the most powerful and effective. -  immensely powerful brands such as Venice, Florence, Amsterdam, New York, London. This has  created a system where the winners take all and top level iconic destinations get too many tourists and other destinations, often as rewarding to the visitor, get too few.

So it is easy to see that economically, socially, culturally and environmentally, tourism could perform better in the hands of properly empowered destination managers who would be able to focus on destination and visitor benefits and create tourism initiatives that were designed for sustainability.

Integrated sustainable tourism initiatives, managed by destinations and globally marketed via qualified professional intermediaries could take the heat out of commodity tourism and deliver an activity rewarding for both guests and hosts.

It could provide the fullest, most complete and satisfying experience of a destination by the visitor and an ongoing mutually rewarding relationship with visitors and destination community hosts.

It is clearly in both destination suppliers and guests interests and could release $Trillions into destinations. Moreover there are many locally-based travel agents in source markets who would be able to link with destinations to provide value-based professional.

Find out how to get all these benefits and more with the latest SustainableTourism2016 folio HERE

More destination branding assistance and opportunities - seminar here

Marketing assistance here


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