What is the tourism economy? Perhaps a better question would be – what isn’t?
Tourism’s tentacles reach deep into everything we do: not just for those of us who work in tourism, but for anyone who travels – and for many who don’t.
A recent media release from the World Tourism Organisation told us that “International tourist arrivals grew by 4.4% in 2015 to reach a total of 1,184 million in 2015, according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. Some 50 million more tourists (overnight visitors) travelled to international destinations around the world last year as compared to 2014.
“2015 marks the 6th consecutive year of above-average growth, with international arrivals increasing by 4% or more every year since the post-crisis year of 2010.”
… The scary thing, though, is that they go on to boast about it. Apparently blissfully unaware of the cognitive dissonance in the last part of his statement, UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, says in the article that, “International tourism reached new heights in 2015. The robust performance of the sector is contributing to economic growth and job creation in many parts of the world. It is thus critical for countries to promote policies that foster the continued growth of tourism, including travel facilitation, human resources development and sustainability.”
And why is that scary?
Because you don’t get to grow continuously AND remain sustainable.
Especially when you’re in a business that’s as potentially damaging to whole communities and the world’s environment as ours.
But that isn’t to say that we should all stop travelling overnight. If we did, we’d have to answer to Mark Twain, who famously wrote in The Innocents Abroad (1869) that, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” (Although he would later, in 1891, also write in a private letter that, “Travel has no longer any charm for me. I have seen all the foreign countries I want to except heaven and hell, and I have only a vague curiosity about one of those.”)
Tourism businesses and DMOs
So what’s the responsible thing to do?
Unfortunately, there aren’t any short answers. Tourism businesses and DMOs alike need to integrate their product development, packaging, communications, and marketing with the principles of responsible tourism and conscious travel (as developed by Anna Pollock – see her Conscious Travel Manifesto, or download her 90-page report, Social Entrepreneurship in Tourism – the Conscious Travel Approach).
And that can be a scary and daunting ask.
But, as a Chartered Public Relations Practitioner with PRISA (the Public Relations Institute of Southern Africa), and with more than 30 years of experience in tourism destination development – and as an advocate for (and speaker about) responsible tourism – perhaps I (Martin Hatchuel) can be of assistance?
I’m available for advocacy and communications (writing; strategic plans; collection of community-based information necessary for local economic development using the PACA process – Participatory Appraisal of Competitive Advantage) … and I work with an established network of highly experienced web developers, designers, film-makers, photographers, and other professionals.
So how can we help you?
- Please call 084 951 0574 or mail firstname.lastname@example.org
How can This Tourism Week help you?
I’m Martin Hatchuel, a tourism practitioner with more than 30 years of experience in the sector, and I write and publish This Tourism Week as an informed, insightful look at issues affecting tourism in South Africa. (And I’ve been doing it since August, 2002.)
Backed by a team that includes web professionals (iBall Media), a graphic designer (Jo Hugo of Design,Etc.), PR consultants (interface by goji), and others, I’m here to help you develop all your communications tools: text (media releases, reports, business case studies, stories), strategies, web sites, apps, images, adverts, brochures, printing, events, and more.
Please contact me: 084 951 0574 or email@example.com
Now go away on holiday – it’s in the economy’s best interests. And have a great tourism week!
Chartered Public Relations Professional