Photo of Michael Eavis: Jason Bryant.
Editorial Re-make, Re-model From a rather disorganised start in 1970 with 1,500 people in a field, Glastonbury Festival has evolved into a very modern high-tech event. It may still take place in a field – or rather, lots of fields now, as it spreads across 900 acres – but the improved sound quality and huge screens, not to mention international broadcasting of the event, have helped it develop and keep pace with the expectations of its customers. You don’t even need to bring your own tent and, depending on your budget can opt for a seriously pampered glamping experience. As Glastonbury Festival heads towards its 50th year in 2020 it has become hugely successful by essentially offering the same thing – a great selection of bands and performers – but in a way that keeps up with changes in how people like to consume their experiences. This constant refreshing of the offer is an important aspect of any tourism business, from the destination level right down to the oneman-band Bed & Breakfast. Speaking to me for this issue, Bernard Donoghue, director of ALVA and newly-elected chairman of the Tourism Alliance, stressed the importance of the Product (one of his three Ps, the others being People and Price) and the need to “refresh, refurbish and improve”. Sometimes these changes are determined by what the customers are calling for – extra comfort, extra connectivity, extra value, extra sustainability – and incremental development by operators, hotelliers and attractions will keep pace. At other times, though, circumstances outside the immediate sphere of these businesses will force them to adapt more radically and quickly. In Kenya, for example, terrorist events and poor governance have put a real brake on tourism; on page 28 Ekta Bid describes how she has had to establish new areas of activity in response to this situation in order to remain in business. Refreshing the message as well as the physical is also important. In his article on pages 12 and 13,Tom Buncle takes a look at logos from destinations around the world, citing effective and less effective examples. Some have a built-in expiry date and others remain relevant and successful for many years.The trick is knowing when to move on and redevelop your brand or image. The Tourism Society’s own brand was refreshed earlier in the
Government View:Tourism: we mean business Tracey Crouch MP, Minister for Tourism
Policy: A cunning plan? Kurt Janson MTS, Policy Director,Tourism Alliance
Tourism Consultants Network View: Consultants offer their views on the Five-Point Tourism Plan
Travel and Tourism’s Policy Agenda: A busy time ahead Stephen D’Alfonso, Head of Public Affairs, ABTA – The Travel Association
Equality in Tourism:Will tourism recognise the contribution of women? Tricia Barnett, Director, Equality in Tourism Customer Loyalty: Strategies to help create longer-term relationships Liz Sharples,Teaching Fellow, University of Portsmouth
Destination Slogans: Silver bullet or meaningless puff? Tom Buncle FTS FTMI, Managing Director,Yellow Railroad
Climate Change and Heritage Tourism: Placing the National Trust on the climate change map Dr John Floy, Lecturer, University College Birmingham
Community-Based Tours: Broadening the catchment of tourism stakeholders 16-17 Julian C. Zarb FTS, Resident Visiting Lecturer, Institute for Travel,Tourism and Culture, University of Malta Festival Focus I: Glastonbury Gregory Yeoman FTS, Executive Director,The Tourism Society
Festival Focus II: It’s only rock and roll but our international tourists love it Joss Croft MTS, Marketing Director,VisitBritain
Business Improvement Districts: A role in destination marketing Giles Semper, Director and Becky Chantry, Project Coordinator,The means
An interview with... Bernard Donoghue FTS
Student View:Work placements Zivile Buragaite, MSc International Hospitality and Tourism Management, Sheffield Hallam University
Hospitality: How the strength of OTA positions are changing in relation to Rate Parity developments Frank Reeves, Co-Founder and CEO, Avvio
Golden Years: Balkan Holidays marks 50 years of change Chris Rand, Sales and Marketing Manager, Balkan Holidays
View from Kenya: Diversification in times of hardship Ekta Bid MTS, Managing Director, African Sojourn
Focus On... Oman Alison Cryer FTS MTMI, Managing Director, Representation Plus
Marketing:The power of celebrity Mike Bugsgang FTS, Managing Director, Bugsgang & Associates
Tourism Symposium 2015: A great success with seal of approval from the new tourism minister Linda Moore, Moore Communications
The Back Page: Chairman’s view with Sandra Matthews-Marsh MBE FTS MTMI
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It’s not so long ago that tourism was seen as a bit of a poor relation in government. Ministers could see that it was an important sector within the economy, but couldn’t see what needed to be done to grow it further. All the obstacles to further success seemed to be for others to break down. The last government tried to grasp the nettle by investing big money in the award-winning GREAT campaign to promote Britain as a destination for overseas visitors. They also set up a Red Tape Challenge to simplify regulations affecting the industry and, where they could, abolish them altogether. This approach – quality marketing and strict deregulation – did a lot of good. And, together with the world-wide attention that London 2012 drew, it meant that the industry grew to the point where it now contributes £60billion to the UK economy with millions of overseas visitors each year, and supports almost one in ten of all jobs here. But I’m a great believer in the notion that if something ain’t broke, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep trying to make it even better. So in mid-July we launched a new strategy – a Five-Point Plan – to build on progress already achieved, further support the industry, and bring together the whole of government to do so. In a nutshell, the key challenge for us now is to work out ways of getting this success story to make an impact in all parts of the UK. We in government and you in the industry know that there are vast areas of the country that boast wonderful scenery, a rich and glorious heritage and history, and world-class attractions – but so far it’s proved to be a real struggle to get overseas visitors to go there. This is what we are going to do. Firstly, we’re aiming to find ways to coordinate the sector better. We want local attractions and places working together with tourism organisations and trade bodies to help grow the sector for everyone, not compete with one another to no-one’s advantage.
Photo – © VisitBritain / Jason Knot and Lancashire & Blackpool Tourist Board
Tourism: we mean business
Government aims to boost tourism outside London Secondly, we’re going to take steps to attract the brightest and best into the industry.This is a globally competitive sector, so we need talented, creative and driven people across the country to consider tourism as a career choice - and we need to ensure that they have access to the skills, training and business support to make it a success.Tourism is all about people, and that means we have to put people first, both our visitors and those delivering the service. Thirdly, we have to ensure we keep our foot on the deregulation pedal, hacking away still more of the red tape that can hold back growth.The last government made a great start, but there’s more still to do. Fourthly, we’ll look at transport.The transport and tourism sectors need to work together if we are to unlock the economic potential of the growth in overseas visitors to the whole of the country. In the end we have to make sure overseas visitors can get out and about, if we are to make a truly national offer to them. And lastly, we’re going to work together to make sure that the welcome we offer
to visitors as they cross our borders is truly world class. We have so much to be proud of and how we greet those who come here, whether on business or for pleasure, should reflect this. This is a plan for more than just my department. Culture Secretary John Whittingdale is to chair a crossgovernment ministerial action group to make sure everyone is pulling in the same direction, and at the same time. So there will be Ministers from the Communities Department, the Home Office,Transport, DEFRA and BIS. And to make sure we’re focused on the whole of the UK, the group will also draw in Ministers from the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland governments, where and when needed. I’ve now been Tourism Minister for nearly three months. Everything I’ve seen of the sector so far has impressed me.Yes, the task ahead – putting our plan into practice – will be hard work, requiring goodwill and determination from all sides, but I’m sure we can make further progress. Believe me, we mean business.
Tracey Crouch MP l Minister for Tourism
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A cunning plan? The Prime Minister recently published the Government’s new five-point plan for tourism to replace the tourism strategy produced by John Penrose in 2011. And it’s fair to say that the two plans could not be more dissimilar. The John Penrose strategy was a 50-page document that set clear five-year targets for both domestic and inbound tourism growth: To attract 4 million extra visitors to Britain over the next 4 years. To increase the proportion of UK residents who holiday in the UK to match those who holiday abroad each year. These key targets were supported by 33 different policy actions that the Government was committed to undertake to help ensure that the goals of the strategy were achieved. These covered a very board range of issues from encouraging allweather tourism facilities and reforming the criteria for Brown Tourism Signs through to refocusing the activities of VisitBritain and VisitEngland and improving visa processing. By comparison the new five-point plan for tourism is only eight pages long and contains no targets for tourism growth or employment whatsoever, which means that it will be very difficult to judge whether the plan has been a success of not. The Plan is also sketchy about how exactly the Government is going to deliver the growth that it envisages for the tourism industry and the UK economy as a whole. While the document outlines how the Government’s efforts will focus on five key areas and contains 19 actions that the Government is going to take to improve the UK’s performance in these areas, there are significant gaps in the plan. For example, while the focus of the Plan is to get people away from London and into the regions, there is no mention of any actions to resolve the very significant problems being faced by the Destination Management Organisations that are responsible for tourism development and promotion in the regions. Another example of a glaring gap in the Plan relates to tourismrelated taxation. While the World Economic Forum’s Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2015 ranks the UK 5th overall, it found that the UK ranked second to last on price due to three things – Air Passenger Duty, Fuel Duty and VAT on accommodation. However, the new five-point plan makes no mention of any action to review tourism-related taxation, let alone seek to resolve this problem. And yet, despite all the gaps and lack of detail, this may actually be a very cunning plan. The reason for this is the Comprehensive Spending Review that is being undertaking at the moment. It was announced in the Summer Budget that the new Government is seeking to find £12bn of public spending savings as part of this Review – a task made even harder by there being three Departmental budgets where spending is being protected,
including the high-cost areas of the NHS and schools. As a result, the Chancellor recently told all unprotected Government Departments to draw up savings plans of 25% and 40% as part of the CSR process. The scale of these proposed cuts will present many Government Departments with some very difficult choices in terms of funding. And this is where the new five-point plan for tourism could actually be something that is more supportive of the tourism industry that it seems on first viewing. If you are a Secretary of State and do not want Treasury to remove funding from a particular area of your responsibility, one of the best ways to protect that funding is to produce a strategy that commits the Government to a course of action to support that sector. In this context, the detail of the strategy is not important – it’s the commitment that counts. And an even better way of trying to protect that funding is to have the Prime Minister launch the strategy so that he has a level of personal responsibility for its delivery (and therefore the funding). So, for all its brevity and gaps, this may actually be a very cunning plan.
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Kurt Janson MTS l Policy Director, Tourism Alliance
Tourism Consultants Network View
Consultants offer their views on the Five-Point Tourism Plan This is a positive statement from Government. A weakness is that it underplays domestic tourism and is curiously centralist.The section headed ‘Tourism Landscape’ is primarily about national structures, yet it ignores the serious challenge of maintaining the quality of the actual landscape for tourism (heritage, beaches, parks, trails, town centres). Rather than simply warning about competing DMOs, it should champion local management structures and community endeavour to support those assets that are the real generators of tourism. And surely ‘A GREAT Welcome’ is more than just an improved visa and border service?
Dr Richard Denman FTS MTMI, The Tourism Company The section of the Plan headed ‘A Great Welcome’ is a good start but a better and humbler recognition of the challenges facing potential visitors to the UK who need a visa would be more appropriate. Along with a recognition that in other
competing countries the visitor welcome extends to not requiring a visa at all. Experience elsewhere points to the value of an inter-Ministerial coordinating group, providing it has clear objectives, meets regularly and the top people actually attend. Reform of the Tourism Council is also to be applauded. Extending the welcome to the Landing Card? I’m not holding my breath.
Oliver Bennett FTS The plan says “Where local destination organisations compete against each other rather than collaborating, it becomes harder for the visitor and business alike” yet 80% of tourism revenue is generated within the UK so a large element of internal competition remains inevitable. In place of a LEP-patchwork free-for-all approach England could, of course, think about taking a strategic regional perspective to tackle wasteful competition. The establishment of an inter-Ministerial group to coordinate action in support of
the sector is a 'no brainer’, but do we really need a Tourism Council and a Tourism Alliance? The one change in regulation which really would help (and pay for itself) is avoided – a competitive rate of VAT for tourism goods and services. APD remains iniquitous: Wales awaits its devolution keenly.
Peter Cole FTS MTMI Long on motherhood and apple pie, short on new policy ideas - there’s a pungent whiff of old wine in new vessels. Come on government, you can do better than this, starting with a decision on the big issues: London airports, APD, and visas. Progress will be carefully monitored on the stated aims of cutting red tape and competing on a level playing field with other European countries by “streamlining and improving” the visa regime, while understandably navigating the “trade-offs between costs, service improvements and security.” It can, and must, be done!
Tom Buncle FTS FTMI
Tourism Society Think Tank Comment Should we be complementary, or should we speak the unspeakable? The Government’s “Backing the Tourism Sector – a Five Point Plan” is disappointing – a rushed pot-pourri, but not a workable plan. Our new Secretary of State, John Whittingdale, is a knowledgeable examiner of Government’s attitudes and actions on tourism. He chaired the All Party DCMS Select Committee with distinction for many years, producing insightful reports on the condition and needs of the industry. Now he is in the hot seat. I wonder what he thought when shown this document, trundled out so soon after his appointment? It is tidy, Cameron up front, nice pictures, arguably commendably brief, solid sounding headings, and bullet points on selective topics. But it doesn’t reflect the nature of tourism throughout Britain, or what Government needs to do or permit to
encourage solid, sustainable growth. They seem only to be aware of, or care about, inbound tourism.Yet 80% of the volume and value of UK tourism is domestic. Whilst rightly supporting VB it fails to recognise the strong role that VE must play with England’s industry, or the still critical input of Local Authorities. Its core topic is Gateway: “spreading the benefits of tourism growth across the country by encouraging more (inbound) visitors to travel beyond the capital”. Nutshell comments on the Five Points: 1. “Tourism landscape” – the text begins with a bullseye – “the lack of effective coordination ...with local DMOs competing rather than collaborating” – but the bullet points are mostly unrelated to this urgent and pervasive need.They promise a cross-Governmental Ministerial group...hooray at the top, but what about the sub-national and local level? I believe
Issue 163 Autumn 2015
collaboration needs leadership, and VE needs the funds and authority to inspire a functioning network in England. 2. Skills and Jobs...and apprenticeships: do more. Agreed. 3. De-Regulation: the last Government got a list of 60 from an industry working group but did almost nothing; why will it be different this time? 4.Transport – consider tourists’ needs...and air transport capacity.Yes. 5. Welcome – improve ...and visas to be simpler and cheaper. Worthy so far as it goes, but selective. Something borrowed, something (Conservatively) blue, but too little that is insightfully new – and not a plan of action on what really matters, everywhere.
Ken Robinson CBE FTS MTMI Chair, Tourism Society Think Tank
Travel and Tourism’s Policy Agenda
As MPs head back to Westminster after the summer recess spent either in their constituencies or on holiday domestically and abroad, we can reflect on what I believe to be an encouraging start for our industry under the new Government. I was particularly delighted to see the Prime Minister, David Cameron, announce the Government’s new tourism strategy ‘Backing the Tourism Sector – A Five Point Plan’, on July 17th. A Prime Ministerial announcement within the first 100 days of a new Government sends a very positive message about the value Government places on tourism as a driver of jobs and growth within the UK. ABTA welcomes many of the commitments made, especially around transport infrastructure, the creation of a new inter-Ministerial group, and common sense regulation. It will be the job of us within the industry to ensure these promises are kept over the life of this Parliament. Tourism Society members may be aware that, in preparation for a potential new Government and mindful of the key policy debates that lay ahead, ABTA ran a social media-led engagement campaign with all candidates ahead of the May General Election. #ValueTourism was designed to make a robust economic and employment case for the UK’s vibrant mix of inbound, outbound and domestic travel and tourism businesses. All candidates standing were engaged, with ABTA contacting a further 500 candidates directly. Of these, over 100 candidates across the UK and from a cross-party background supported the campaign by email,Twitter or Facebook, and 31 tourism advocates were elected to the House of Commons on May 7th. Since May 8th, ABTA has continued in this proactive manner, taking the positive economic and employment message of UK tourism directly to new and returning MPs in meetings in Westminster. It is heartening that our message is being listened to, and understood. ABTA has also been engaging in joint working initiatives with other industry
Photo – UKinbound
A busy time ahead
Mark Tanzer (ABTA), Tracey Crouch MP the launch of ‘Tourism and Aviation’ bodies to communicate with key MPs for travel and tourism policy matters, on a cross-party basis. A key example of this latter approach was seen in the industry’s work around the outcome of the Airports Commission, which reported on July 1st, recommending a third runway for Heathrow, and thus re-igniting one of the most contentious political debates in the UK. On July 14th, ABTA, the AOA,Tourism Alliance and UKinbound, held a lunch event to promote our new joint report ‘Tourism and Aviation’, highlighting the interdependence and interconnectivity between these two vital UK industries. The lunch was attended by a selection of MPs, including the new Tourism Minister, Tracey Crouch, the Aviation Minister, Robert Goodwill, and their respective shadows from Labour. The message conveyed from industry was clear – the leisure market plays a vital role in underpinning many key strategic air routes to the UK and the needs of leisure passengers must be a key consideration in the forthcoming aviation capacity debate. Elsewhere, in Europe, we also now have an agreement on the revision of the EU
Issue 163 Autumn 2015
and Deirdre Wells (UKinbound) at Package Travel Directive. This agreement will be rubber-stamped in the autumn and, while the new Directive will not be effective in the UK until spring 2018, the UK Government is likely to launch the necessary consultations on changes to UK laws later in this year. For the industry, this will mean changes to the Package Travel Regulations and Air Travel Organiser’s Licensing (ATOL) Scheme. These changes will have a significant impact on many travel agents and tour operators within the UK and it is important the industry is prepared to engage early in the revision process. A new tourism strategy, a new runway, taxes under constant review, and implementation of the EU’s revised Package Travel Directive represent only a part of what is a very busy agenda for our sector in Westminster, and Brussels. I haven’t even found the space to write about Air Passenger Duty, where A Fair Tax on Flying continues to lead calls for further reductions,VAT campaigns or the referendum on the UK’s future EU relationship.The industry is certainly going to be busy this autumn. Stephen D’Alfonso l Head of Public Affairs, ABTA – The Travel Association
Equality in Tourism
It is an uncomfortable truth that the hospitality and tourism industry is not much interested in gender equality. Where are the discussions taking place outside of academic, government-initiated or union-sponsored research? Unless it becomes a criminal offence to exploit women in the workplace, it is unlikely the situation will change. There is evidence aplenty of the generic kind to show there is a very serious problem both at home and abroad, although much of it, such as the Davis Report of 2011, focuses on the dearth of women in the boardroom and the business advantages of having women at the top table. Equality in Tourism – with our strapline of Creating Change for Women – came into being to encourage and work with the industry to take up the challenge of embedding gender equality throughout its business. No business can claim to be sustainable if women and men don’t have the same rights and opportunities. But why is the discussion so blocked? I’m told we have to give the industry time. There is zero direction from the trade organisations. Gender equality questions are not integrated into the certification processes of schemes such as Travelife or the Green Business Scheme. Having failed to get permission to quote from anyone relevant, I took the challenge to Gavin Bate, Director of Adventure Alternative and winner of the Responsible Tourism Awards. He identified the resistance to adopting gender equality into the industry as “the same as the climate change tipping point which has been passed yet still businesses
© Rawpixel – fotolia.com
Will tourism recognise the contribution of women?
won’t change their practices until their clients demand it and it starts to affect the bottom line. The debate washes around and it’s easy to ignore.There is no pressure to change even though there’s a general moral consensus on the need to change. The same is true of sustainable tourism; no interest in adjusting a business model if it is not affecting the bottom line. Business is business.” So what is it like down at the bottom of the chain? Hotel cleaners, housekeepers or room attendants take pride in their work. They want every guest to feel good about the high standards they achieve but
‘Equality in Tourism is both a research organisation and a consultancy. We are committed to bringing about equality of opportunity, of decision making, of pay and of working conditions throughout the industry.’
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working conditions make the workers’ lives very hard.The Observer newspaper recently exposed the sorry fact that Britain’s hotel workers are bullied, underpaid and have few rights. The report highlighted how exhausted room attendants are – they have to clean increasing numbers of rooms with no extra pay when they were already underpaid. They have few rights. Joining a union is very often not an option. It’s not surprising that union representation in the hospitality industry is amongst the lowest in this country. Recently published research reinforces this situation.The University of Warwick’s Scrubbing the Hotel Industry Clean: Removing ‘piecework’ for Housekeepers within Coventry, Leamington Spa, Warwick and Birmingham focuses on leading, internationally-known hotels in the area that fail in general to meet basic standards for its workers. Only 24% of the individual hotels engaged in good legal practice. 44% engage in bad legal practice and 32% have uncertain legal practice. Piecework payment mostly occurs by stealth with payment of the national
Women hospitality workers with paintings by one of Unite's Polish housekeeping members depicting her experiences in hotels This is over double the 1.8% growth minimum wage being conditional upon the Catering and Tourism division in 2013 that states that the gender pay gap reflects within UK non-tourism industries. Partnumber of rooms cleaned.The report is ongoing discrimination and inequalities. time employment grew cumulatively by clear that unreasonable expectations are 6.8%, slightly above the 5.7% of UK nonplaced on housekeepers – although it fails The norm is a culture of gender tourism industries. In 2013, 22.4% to mention that they are women stereotyping in the labour market and (251,000) of part-timers reported they (http://bit.ly/1OzaRIs). structural, unquestioned institutional had no choice because they couldn’t find barriers that affect recruitment, retention So is it workers themselves that need to full-time work. How helpful it would be to and board make-up. Within this is lack of take part in collective action to bring have a gender breakdown. flexibility and opportunity for employees about change? In the UK it takes a brave to manage their work and family Equality in Tourism wants to engage with hotel worker to join a union. “You need commitments. It is not only gender that is people working in tourism and hospitality courage to try to organise”, Ewa Jasiewicz affected by this but wider diversity. We to understand what the obstacles and a part-time organiser supported by Unite, explore this in depth in our report Sun, opportunities are.The issues raised here explained to me: “Housekeepers are Sand and Ceilings (http://bit.ly/1DMfYiN). are a global problem. We will be holding a atomized. session at the World Travel Market to The Office of National Statistics has been They’re on their own, room after room, very helpful in providing a 2013 analysis of explore them. Please join us. with only half an hour for lunch.They’re in tourism jobs by gender – something that We really don’t need to go over the wella vicious circle.The workers know they is not automatically analysed. Women known arguments again but we can work are vulnerable and there is the fear factor. make up 58.2% of the workforce in the towards erasing gender stereotyping in the The turnover is high and there is little accommodation sector and 52% in food market and at work, and the institutional experience of collective action.” In New and beverage but only 39% of barriers this has created. We can promote York visitors can consult a list of Fair management and 33% of skilled trades. broader awareness of the business case Hotels and are exhorted to ‘Sleep with Some would argue that it could be worse, for gender equality.There are plenty of the Right People’, as a result of union but then we don’t have an idea of wages examples about how business can help activity. and working conditions. Perhaps David staff to overcome the work and family Equality in Tourism is both a research Cameron’s push on transparency in wages divide. We have to push for gender organisation and a consultancy. We are will help. equality and diversity management committed to bringing about equality of principles being the bottom line for The status quo is exemplified by the opportunity, of decision making, of pay and business. British Hospitality Association’s chief of working conditions throughout the executive Ufi Ibrahim who tells us in the Let’s work together to turn around Gavin industry. annual report that “the best way to Bates’ sorry belief “that there is no interest The culture and practice of undermining protect the future is shape it”.There is no in adjusting a business model if it is not women’s working rights permeates mention of working conditions for affecting the bottom line.” We’d be throughout, from top to bottom. My employees, or reference to any delighted to find ways forward with you. fellow directors at Equality in Tourism, commitment to gender equality. Such a Or will business continue to be business? Daniela Moreno Alarcón and Lucy pity when ONS figures show that in 2009- In the meantime, do look at Unite’s Ferguson, are quoted in Tom Baum’s 2013 full-time employment grew facebook page: hotelworkersunite and at penetrating report for the ILO Hotels, cumulatively by 4.2%. our website: www.equalityintourism.org. Gender equality means that women and men have equal conditions for realising their full human rights and for contributing to, and benefiting from, economic, social, cultural and political development.
Gender equality is therefore the equal valuing by society of the similarities and the differences of men and women, and the roles they play. It is based on women and men being full partners in their home,
their community and their society. Gender equality starts with equal valuing of girls and boys. (Source: ABC of Women Worker’s Rights and Gender Equality, ILO, Geneva, 2000)
Tricia Barnett l Director, Equality in Tourism Issue 163 Autumn 2015
Strategies to help create longer-term relationships Within the highly competitive tourism industry it is acknowledged that consumer loyalty is difficult to capture. Our customers are renowned for their fickleness and lack of commitment to tourism providers and prefer one-off casual flings rather than long-term relationships. The benefits of a loyal customer-base are clearly understood by destination and attraction managers but successful strategies for building these partnerships are often difficult to identify. While it is recognised that loyal customers are very valuable to the sector strategies to keep tourists visiting (and spending!) are often considered too difficult and awkward to implement. Research has highlighted that many venues and destinations offer annual passes, which encourage repeat patronage but are unlikely to install the emotional connections essential to loyalty. Investigations at the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard (PHD) analysed their tourism loyalty scheme and highlighted key recommendations to help create more meaningful customer relationships and improve retention. The PHD is a naval heritage site encompassing major attractions including the Mary Rose Museums, HMS Victory and HMS Warrior 1860.The venue, which received over 740,000 visitors in 2014, also provides an extensive education and conference programme.The loyalty pass scheme offered a two-tiered product â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Admiral and Captain boarding passes both provided unlimited entry to the attractions; however, the higher-priced Admiral pass also included free event entry. The MSc project aimed to examine relationship management within tourism loyalty cards and to suggest ways to establish increased loyalty between the venue and its members. Tourism theory highlights that to improve loyalty venues must give customers attention and make them feel valued. In addition, the successful use of technology is essential to build a committed following. This can be through online purchase systems or social media interactions. In the
Liz Sharples l Teaching Fellow, University of Portsmouth
product which is high quality and value for money All would recommend the scheme to a friend or relative. The research showed that to help improve loyalty several strategies can be utilised. Managers must focus on providing a high quality and value for money product. Customer service must be outstanding and where possible personalised for scheme members. Feedback should be encouraged to increase dialogue and allow customers to become involved with the programme. Furthermore to help loyalty schemes maximise revenue three separate approaches should be considered: To increase spending:Target profitable segment, develop more revenue generating member-only events, improve revenue tracking and improve retail opportunities through transactional websites. HMS Warrior, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard research over 800 respondents were contacted through online and postal questionnaires.The survey collected a variety of data but the most relevant were membership duration, the reasons for pass purchase, how members felt about the product, what improvements they would like to see, if they felt loyalty to the scheme and whether they would recommend the programme. The key findings included: Over a third of respondents had belonged to the scheme for more than 8 years The main reason for purchasing the membership was value for money and attraction variety Over 95% thought the Dockyard provided excellent customer service Over 80% agreed they were valued as a customer Fast-track entry and more exclusive member-only events were the most valued potential improvements 87% felt brand loyalty towards the scheme. Brand loyalty was identified as a
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To improve renewal rates: Offer discounted rates (trial period), investigate reasons for not renewing, promote value for money through membership literature. To widen membership: Develop social media presence, launch price comparison and/or price per day, target new visitor segment, establish non-member knowledge of the scheme and purchase interest. In December 2014 the PHD was taken over by the National Museum of the Royal Navy and the programme is currently under review. Future plans include appealing to a wider market-base, new ticketing approaches, an improved CRM system and additional payment methods. Bill Sainsbury, Customer Relationships Manager at the National Museum of the Royal Navy, said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;These are exciting times for us with opportunities for building relationships with our visitors to sustain growth.â&#x20AC;? It is proposed that all destination and attraction managers should consider whether they are content with a quick fling or if their venues would benefit from more committed customer relationships and investigate the potential of a loyalty scheme.
Silver bullet or meaningless puff? Virginia “is For Lovers”, Egypt is “Where it All Begins”, and Dubai is “Definitely Dubai”. But how much impact do destination slogans truly have? Adding Value Too often the plaything of marketing agencies (at the DMO client’s expense), destination slogans invariably fail to hit the mark and add little to what might otherwise be a brilliant brand. How much money has been wasted with creative agencies generating mediocre calls to action in insipid slogans? Slogans, like logos, should be an expression of the destination brand. So, ideally, they should aim to be a ‘forever thing’ defining the destination, or at least designed to last for longer than this year’s marketing campaign. Otherwise they are eminently forgettable and add as much value to the destination as sugar to tea – something that is not necessarily an enhancement and you are probably better without. Memorable and Impactful Slogans are great when they are inspired, convey a destination’s appeals succinctly in a way that evokes the essence of the place, and could be nowhere else. It helps too if they say something new to you and say it in a way that grabs you, makes you smile and think “yeah, that’s nicely put”. A slogan needs to be impactful, memorable and contain one strong idea, such as Egypt’s “Where it All Begins”, Costa Rica’s former “No Artificial Ingredients” and even Texas’s “It’s Like a Whole Other Country”, whose folksy tone succinctly conveys both the character and the size of the state…..or New Zealand, a country that seldom puts a foot wrong in tourism marketing, whose killer slogan “100% Pure” manages simultaneously to be both slogan and logo and evoke not just the country’s scenic beauty but also the quality of its natural produce.
Great Slogans Apart from New Zealand, there have been few killer slogans in the history of tourism branding. “Ireland – the Ancient Birthplace of Great Times”, which was used several years ago for incentive campaigns in the USA, gets my vote for cleverly juxtaposing two of Ireland’s strongest brand values – heritage and fun – and claiming a unique space as the inventor of the craic. Croatia has sadly had to retire “The Mediterranean as it Once Was”, as it has become just as congested and expensive as the rest of the Med. Similarly Costa Rica’s bold, if not entirely substantiated, “No Artificial Ingredients” has been dumped in favour of a could-beanywhere “Essential Costa Rica”.
Changing Perceptions Sometimes slogans can have a less-thanforever life, if there’s long-held perception problem to address – usually in a market that is relatively familiar with the country. Mexico, which had become a jaded ‘beenthere-done-that’ place for many Americans, introduced a new slogan a few years ago in the USA to challenge this complacency and refresh its appeal: “Mexico – The Place You Thought You Knew”. But, for sheer courage in tackling prejudice and fear about visiting the country headon, it is hard to beat Colombia’s now discarded “The Only Risk is Wanting to Stay”. Although this could only ever have been temporary to get over the crisis of consumer confidence in previously violence-and corruption-ridden Colombia, its new Gabriel Garcia Marquez-inspired slogan of “Magical Realism” falls short of its brave former, no-prisoners, in-your-face slogan.
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Pitfalls But mostly destination slogans fail spectacularly. The risk is that a destination looks amateurish and hick if it tries too hard and fails to come up with a compelling slogan, in which case no slogan at all is better than an embarrassingly lame one that patronises readers – and, more disquietingly, residents. If it doesn’t paint a visual picture, it’s a dog. But it’s not easy. Unearthing a destination’s brand values is only one step on the ladder; translating them into a slogan that’s original, distinctive, succinct and compelling is a Herculean task. You can just imagine the marketing team pouring over a SWOT analysis and coming up with Belarus’s “Hospitality Beyond Borders” or Bulgaria’s “Unique in its Diversity” – both well-meaning but uninspiring. Similarly, you can see what Zambia’s aiming at with “Let’s Explore” and Canada with “Keep Exploring”, even if your inner Indiana Jones does just that and keeps on truckin’ to somewhere more undiscovered. Worse still, slogans should never be direct translations of the original. What might work in one language is almost certain to come across as clunky in another. Quebec may have been “Providing Emotions since 1534”, but does this turn you on?
Photo – Miles Holden
100% pure landscape in New Zealand’s fiordland indeed “for Lovers”. Use Your Stand-Out Assets If you can’t come up with the Holy Grail But perhaps that’s no surprise, as the state of a killer, emotionally evocative slogan, it’s has been running this slogan for 46 years best to use a descriptive one that anchors since 1969. the place in a single powerful idea, which “Incredible India” and “Malaysia – Truly Asia” at least paints a picture of your may not in themselves be visually destination, ideally based around a unique evocative, but the investment ploughed recognisable icon if you are lucky enough into them over the years, associated with to have one, such as Peru’s former “Land a jingle that lodges in your brain like a of the Incas”, Innsbruck’s “Capital of the cheesy pop riff, has paid off. Alps”, or Tanzania’s “Land of Kilimanjaro, Zanzibar and the Serengeti”. Finally, a warning: if you feel the urge to Or be bold and claim the space, as long as rebrand, think carefully about how much brand equity has been built up over the you can back it up, like “Angus – Scotland’s years and don’t be tempted to change for Birthplace”. change’s sake. I was once asked by a client how long an NTO logo usually lasts, to which I replied without hesitation “the tenure of one CEO”. Changing logos and slogans can create an illusion of movement, just like a go-faster stripe on a Toyota. But think carefully before you squander your inheritance. And, if it isn’t underpinned by substance, like the government reforms that underpinned Colombia’s “Only risk” campaign, then it’s no more than meaningless marketing puff. And, worse still, people will see through Conclusion: Keep It Real you in an instant and tell their hundreds of As with all branding, consistency and digital friends you’re a fraud. longevity, which require both sustained So, it’s worth bearing in mind Jeff Bezos’s management will and a significant budget, (CEO Amazon.com) observation: are essential. 52% of Americans 1 “If you make customers unhappy in the interviewed recognised that Virginia is physical world, they might each tell 6 friends.
“If you make customers unhappy on the internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends.” In other words, get your brand right, try to find a meaningful slogan that succinctly reflects what you’ve got, stick with it, and treat consumers as potential visitors who want to be inspired and informed, not patronised. Oh, and take heed from Hong Kong’s unfortunate timing, whose slogan at the outbreak of the severe acute respiratory disease (SARS) epidemic in 2003 was “Hong Kong Will Take Your Breath Away”. So, make sure it’s credible!
1 http://bit.ly/1KWb4a5 Tom Buncle FTS FTMI l Managing Director, Yellow Railroad
Issue 163 Autumn 2015
Climate Change and Heritage Tourism
© National Trust Images/David Levenson
Placing the National Trust on the climate change map
A volunteer reading the meters on the Norfolk This article begins with a brief background on the science and politics of climate change and tourism research over the past 30 years on this phenomenon. These events provided the background to a recently completed research degree in which, using the National Trust as a lens, I explored the contribution of climate change policy to sustainable heritage tourism. A glimpse into my research is provided, concluding that the charity has responded comprehensively to climate change but that visitor travel by car continues to undermine its sustainability credentials. Climate change is a natural phenomenon as old as the planet itself, evidenced by proxy indicators of climate-related variables such as ice cores containing CO2 levels, sand dunes and ocean sediment cores. Satellite imagery can now monitor changes taking place at the polar caps. Much of the polemic on global warming has centred on climate change sceptics questioning the veracity of the science and the extent to which the planet’s accelerated warming can be attributed to human activities (principally industrialisation since c.1750). The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
geo-thermal heating system at Brancaster Millennium Activity Centre, Change (IPCC) in its fifth assessment report (AR5) of 2014 stated: ‘Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia … Human influence on the climate system is clear, and recent anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases are the highest in history’1. Currently we are living in an inter-glacial period, with a natural warming-up process, but one that has been accelerated by unprecedented concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHGs).The United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change’s (UNFCCC) annual summit of 2010 held in Cançun in Mexico concluded that warming of the globe by more than two degrees Celsius by the end of this century would be unacceptably dangerous because exceeding this threshold would lead to irreversible changes such as melting the polar ice sheets and release of latent CO2. The late-1980s saw the establishment of international sustainable development goals (Brundtland Report of 1987) as well as the creation of the IPCC and the UNFCCC, the latter staging the annual climate change summits known as Conference of Parties (COPs). Against this
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background of international developments and the politicisation of climate change, the UK established a sustainable development strategy in the early 1990s and participated in the Kyoto Protocol; the National Trust too, developed its response to climate change at this time. Hitherto associated with destination planning2 or marketing3, my research interpreted sustainable heritage tourism as a convergence of heritage tourism and sustainable tourism: the former described as the oldest form of tourism4 which, for GB in 20145, accounted for approximately 475 million visits (indoor and outdoor) generating £10 billion expenditure; and the latter, a concept, arguably now a paradigm that emerged from sustainable development in the early 1990s.Tourism research into climate change is characteristically international, beginning with impact studies in the mid-1980s and since 2000 focusing more on travel behaviour and the quantification of carbon emissions across the diverse sectors of tourism; the notion of responsible tourism has also emerged. In the Tourism Society’s own quarterly publication, contributors have already discussed, for example, the realities of a green future for travel (Tricia Barnett, Issue 142); responsible skiing
© National Trust Images/David Levenson
A solar-powered ticket machine in the car park at Sheringham Park, Norfolk
© National Trust Images/Dennis Gilbert
(Veronica Tonge, Issue 149); and sustainable development, green growth and travelism (Geoffrey Lipman, Issue 154). I decided instead to research into landlocked tourism locally in the Midlands where the National Trust is a major provider of heritage tourism experiences alongside its core purpose of conservation of places of historic and natural beauty. UK-wide, an estimated 239 million visits were made to the charity’s sites during 2013/146. My research7 explored how the charity developed its climate change policy through which its approach to sustainable heritage tourism could be appraised. Although the Trust’s Enterprise Neptune, launched in 1965, was a campaign to protect 900 miles of the UK’s unspoilt coastline from what the charity deemed to be inappropriate post-war planning and development, it can be viewed as a precursor to the Trust’s adaptation measures to combat climate change in the face of coastal erosion and rising sea levels. Fifty years later, tackling climate change has become part of the Neptune story. Conservation implies a degree of management and adaptation in addition to the purer process of preservation, part of the Trust’s statutory responsibilities since it was founded in 1895. References to climate change appeared in the charity’s public domain in the early 1990s, a period that saw the Trust adopt the principles of sustainable development. Its first press release on climate change appeared in 1998 and by 2005, a formal statement of intent had been published. This resembles a centralised approach to mitigation (reducing dependence on fossil fuels); adaption (minimising risks to its properties); and a commitment to raising awareness on the issue and influencing people’s behaviour (much of my fieldwork
Solar panels on the roof at Hanbury Hall, Worcestershire explored this aspect). whose activities of late are creeping towards the post-modern tourist Since 2010, the charity has implemented a experience. decentralised approach to the For the charity to raise awareness of management of its properties, enabling climate change issues and encourage managers to develop various initiatives behavioural change alongside its essential and adapt to climate change (notably commercial activities is a challenge faced extreme weather events) tailored to local by the wider tourism industry. conditions and priorities. However, all properties are required to meet The National Trust will continue to offer centralised energy reduction targets, which much material for the sustainable tourism can sometimes conflict with the perpetual agenda both for tourism practitioners, goal to increase visitor numbers. commentators and academics. Currently, the Trust’s headline target for its energy policy is for the charity to be using References 50% of its energy from renewable sources 1. Climate Change 2014 Synthesis Report: by 2020 (‘getting off oil’). In 2013, the Headline statements from the Summary Board of Trustees approved an investment for Policymakers. of £35.5 million into renewable energy http://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5syr/ sources, projected to achieve an 2. Du Cros (2001) A new Model to Assist acceptable rate of return and save an in Planning for Sustainable Cultural estimated 2,500 tonnes of CO2 per Heritage Tourism, International Journal of annum. Tourism Research, 3: 165-170. The charity’s mitigation measures in 3. Donohoe, H. (2012) Sustainable response to climate change have gradually heritage tourism marketing and Canada’s materialised as its energy policy. Rideau Canal world heritage site, Journal of My research concluded that although the Sustainable Heritage Tourism, 20, (1): 121National Trust can be given credit for 142. implementing a raft of adaptation and Marschall, S. (2012) Sustainable heritage mitigation initiatives to protect its tourism: the Inanda heritage Route and properties and reduce its carbon the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Journal of footprint, as well as participating in public Sustainable Tourism, 20, (5): 721-736. policy debate and collaborating with likeminded environmental NGOs on 4. Timothy, Dallen J. & Boyd, Stephen W. environmental issues such as climate (2006) Heritage Tourism in the 21st change, visitor dependency on the private Century:Valued Traditions and New car to reach what are mainly rural Perspectives, Journal of Heritage Tourism, 1, locations belonging to the Trust remains (1): 1-16. the charity’s Achilles heel in terms of 5.Visit England,Visit Scotland & Visit Wales sustainable heritage tourism. (2015) The GB Day Visitor Statistics 2014. This has been a thorny issue for the 6. Annual Report 2013/14,The National charity since its vigorous transport debate Trust. in the early 1990s – and has been carried 7. Floy, J. (2015) Sustainable Heritage forward into the context of climate Tourism, Climate Change and The National change.The Trust’s conservation work Trust, PhD thesis, University of relies on visitor revenues and commercial Birmingham. activities derived from visits to properties Dr John Floy l Lecturer, University College Birmingham Issue 163 Autumn 2015
The development of tourism over the past fifty years has had social as well as economic impacts on communities, societies and countries. The UNWTO has described this ‘industry’ as: “A social, cultural and economic phenomenon which entails the movement of people to countries or places outside their usual environment for personal or business/professional purposes.” But the question is: Is tourism simply another cash cow for a destination? Admittedly, we have come to depend on the quantitative indicators for tourism success: the number of tourists visiting a site or destination in a given period, the number of bednights and revenue spent by the tourist and the seasonal distribution for tourism. But we are forgetting one important factor here – tourism is not just an industry where production and profits can be measured simply by output. It is about hospitality, about service and about a more overarching concept; it is about people. The socio-cultural impacts of the activity on a host and visitor community are what will really create that experience for tourists today. MacCannell (1976) first coined the term “Authentic and Inauthentic” for those experiences which the tourist can consider in the selection of destinations as offering worthwhile and value-added sojourns. Of course, these selections are not simply based on the financial issues – the value for money – but on those aspects of how much the tourist felt entertained and, to a large extent, how much they integrated with the community and society. In his book The Ethics of Sightseeing (2010), Maccannell speaks of the “other” as that destination where the tourist feels that this is the “place as symbolic shelter for every tourist desire, the ultimate destination”. Five years ago, during my time as Director (Tourism) with the Ministry for Tourism, Culture and the Environment in Malta, and as part of my doctoral research, I was instrumental in the development of an initiative that could add value to the tourist experience and diversify the
© Malta Tourism Authority – Claudio Brufola
Broadening the catchment of tourism stakeholders
Traditional nougat vendor at festa market for Malta and Gozo from the mainstream, leisure market during the summer months to a more socio-cultural approach for the shoulder months. The initiative was called ‘Discovering Malta and Gozo through its People and Culture’. It was successful in getting some fifteen local councils in non-traditional tourist areas to prepare an itinerary and tourist map intended for the individual tourist. In 2014, this initiative took on a broader scope; from a project to develop itineraries for the individual visitor who chooses to build his or her own travel programme, the project became one that promoted the idea of a community-based tourism experience working within the Institute for Travel,Tourism and Culture at the University of Malta. Over these last months, together with a number of students from Spain, Italy and the UK, we have managed to create the first pilot Community-Based Tour. Since there is no definition for the CommunityBased Tour in literature this is the interpretation for this phenomenon: A community-based tour defines that
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opportunity for a visitor to participate in a socio-cultural experience through direct or indirect interaction with the host community; getting a clear understanding of the history, stories and legends about the localities visited from the host community; savouring the local food and beverage specialities; participating in the traditional and folkloristic activities – all of which are organised, primarily, by the local community for their own education and entertainment. Community-based tours offer an opportunity for more stakeholders to enter the tourism field, in those areas that had never been considered as tourist areas. The case study that I will describe now concerning the concept of the community-based tour was instrumental in getting local councils to work together with the main objective to promote their localities for visitors – domestic as well as foreign. The pilot tours are different from the more popular, sightseeing tour, since they focus on ‘meeting the people’ rather than
© Malta Tourism Authority – Vanicsek Peter
simply ‘seeing the places’. The very fact that this concept was to create a new function for the local councils as well as a number of new stakeholders meant that there needed to be discussions and dialogue about the programme, logistics and actual scope for the tours. Such projects, that involve a community, should ‘belong’ to that community; it should be their responsibility to feel committed, to develop a trust between all stakeholders. Commitment should not belong to one person but needs to be a collective factor and this can be done if there is consistent and continuous consultation which is meaningful and does not simply satisfy any PR and political requirements. Each project should have its ‘champion’ who drives the scope and objective forward and engages his or her colleagues to ensure its continuation and success. Trust is a factor that can be inculcated throughout the process of consultation between all stakeholders and the facilitator, but trust depends on two key issues: honesty and synergy. Without the three factors of commitment, trust and synergy any project for community-based tourism may dissolve into obscurity. One final important factor is the consistency of momentum – do not allow the stakeholders to dissolve into a state of fatigue’ or apathy. A well-structured agenda and actionfocused plan would be imperative.The next stage should include a full list of the assets and attractions which the locality possesses; it is important that this information comes from the local council as the primary owner of the visitor promotion programme. The sense of ownership should not be based simply on the economic returns but must be developed around the sense of belonging which needs to be instilled in
Marsaxlokk fisherman preparing nets every local resident within the community. The collation of the itinerary for these localities was developed through the local council together with a number of local residents who have an interest and knowledge about the locality itself.This method will certainly be inclusive and create that sense of ownership and pride for the local resident; it will also mean that the assets and sites may not only be the iconic areas within the locality but, as well, those assets and sites that are only ‘locally’ known and can offer an alternative and unique attraction for the visitor. Once the itineraries are completed, the scope is to promote these for that visitor who is looking for a different experience, the visitor who may already have been to the destination and experienced the main iconic attractions. There needs to be personal interaction and pride in those whose role it is to welcome the visitor (preferably, these people should receive some form of
Mosta Festa 2014
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remuneration for their commitment and knowledge) to the locality.This is not a tour based on seeing the places alone but in meeting the locals, listening to the stories, legends and histories. The process of community-based tours in Malta and Gozo is still a work-in-progress; there are plans to manage the success and progress of the tours and the communitybased tourism experience in a qualitative manner focusing on the social, environmental, cultural and economic factors that impact the local host community as well as the visitors. Hopefully, we will be able to bring you the first results for this project in the coming months.The first pilot tours have been developed and are now ready for promotion on a test basis between three typical villages just on the periphery of the international airport on the island. There is talk about the implementation and process of a sustainable and responsible tourism activity; there are attempts to identify these processes and try to implement them; indubitably, we often fail. The main reason for this tends to be the fact that we look on the activity as an economic industry and we focus, primarily, on reaching certain targets – so many bednights, so much occupancy, so much revenue. We benchmark our results by comparing to the annual results from the previous year. The irony of such reporting is that we are looking at the tourism activity in its narrowest form – as it affects the hospitality and travel sector. By adopting a process for implementing a broader community-based activity and measuring its success in qualitative terms we will offer a better level of hospitality and service for the visitor; the host-visitor interaction can be more meaningful and authentic and, what is more, the economic benefits will reach more stakeholders and offer better incentives.
Julian C. Zarb FTS l Resident Visiting Lecturer, Institute for Travel, Tourism and Culture, University of Malta
Festival Focus I
Ask anyone whom they consider to be the grandfather of the British music festival and one name will feature above all the others: Michael Eavis. Listed as one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine, he stood for Parliament in 1997 as Labour candidate for Wells, where he polled over 10,000 votes, and was awarded a CBE in 2009. In February this year he picked up the Outstanding Contribution award at the South West Tourism Awards. Not bad for a dairy farmer. Eavis put the first Glastonbury Festival together (then known as the Pilton Pop Festival) on an impulse after attending the Bath Festival in 1970. From a modest 1500 attendees at that first one, the event is now the world's largest green-field open air festival, featuring over 1500 performances across more than 100 stages during five days in June each year. Total attendance, including staff and performers, is 177,000. As far as its contribution to the local economy goes, Eavis claims the festival brings £100m to the economy of Somerset every year.The secret to his success, he says, is to “Start very small and build up a reputation of trust and honesty through the years. Give really good value, and don’t rip people off!”The event itself he recently described as “44 years of semi-controlled chaos”. The festival-going public’s expectations have changed over the years, both in terms of levels of comfort available and technologically. “It’s taken 45 years to get where we are now,” says Eavis. “Every year
Gregory Yeoman FTS Executive Director, The Tourism Society
Photo – Jason Bryant
Glastonbury Pyramid Stage gets more techy and sound quality improves – visual screens are improving all the time too.Television has helped promote the show all over the world.” The festival works with the BBC as its media partner, featuring in over 30 hours of live broadcast on BBC2 and BBC4, as well as extensive coverage on radio and online. Bringing so many visitors to a rural location for just a few days can strain relations with local residents. According to Eavis, “The important thing is to engage and if possible, employ as many local people and businesses as possible.” Volunteers also help the festival run smoothly and help the site return to its former condition once the last visitor has returned home.Two Tourism Society members are regular helpers: Blanche Fitzgerald MTS has been an Oxfam campaigner, Oxfam steward and a member of the Recycling team. Describing her experience, she writes: “The six-hour shifts were sometimes gruelling, especially if you were put on an early shift (6am-midday), waking with the thought that only large swathes of sticky, wet mud await you.The scale of the festival became increasingly apparent whilst recycling and seeing just how many people it took to rid an area of all of its rubbish. On completing an area one felt a huge sense of satisfaction and relief. 1,300 volunteers form the Recycling Crew and it is estimated that in 2014, 983 tonnes of waste were recycled or diverted from
landfill.” The benefits of volunteering are not lost on her. “I’d highly recommend it,” she says. “With the advantage of clean facilities, free meal vouchers and a roomy campsite, who could say no?” Robin Barker FTS FTMI finds a few days each year at Glastonbury to be the equivalent of an annual sabbatical to reflect on humanity, your work-life balance, and – remarkably – to catch up on sleep! For around 10 years he has worked as a stage fire-steward, which means access to backstage bars, secure camping and – importantly – showers. The event has become an annual reunion with a different circle of friends and family, often holding conversations that simply don’t take place elsewhere. He highlights the opportunities for people-watching: “They are the friendliest bunch imaginable – you can start up a conversation with just about anyone. There’s also of course the music – some great, some dire – and a huge assortment of other activities to keep me occupied. I, for one, plan to keep on going for as long as I can.” And what of the future? Eavis is showing no signs of stepping back from the organisation. His daughter Emily has grown into the job of helping him with the festival, but he is not handing things over just yet. “In the long-term, when I’m ‘clapped out’, she’ll take on the reins!”
l Issue 163 Autumn 2015
Festival Focus II
It’s only rock and roll but our international tourists love it Music is a truly global language that has the ability to bring together millions of people sharing an unbridled passion. Or one thousand people, in the case of the Rockin’1,000 from Cesena, Italy: a group of devoted Foo Fighter fans in a field serenading their heroes with a unique performance of the hit song ‘Learn to Fly’. In response, the band has agreed to play a concert in Cesena. If you haven’t seen the video yet, check it out: www.rockin1000.com. It makes for inspirational viewing. But back to Britain – a mecca for music lovers the world over. Britain’s musical heritage is legendary and our live music scene has valuable international pulling power. Overseas music fans are increasingly travelling to see their favourite bands perform live at Britain's festivals and concerts, driving wealth into local economies across the UK. Festivals like Glastonbury – arguably the world’s most famous music festival – hold iconic status on the world music scene. Tickets to Glastonbury this year sold out in 25 minutes. We’ve also got T in The Park in Scotland, the Isle of Wight Festival, the Green Man Festival in Wales’ beautiful Brecon Beacons, and of course,The Proms in London – to name but a few. VisitBritain capitalises on this passion for British music in our work promoting the country as a tourism destination around the world. We use music as one of our key marketing themes in the GREAT campaign alongside Culture, Heritage, Sport, Countryside, Food, Shopping, Luxury, Love and Adventure. Earlier this year VisitBritain staged a #BritainRocks musical takeover across our social media channels to create buzz and conversation amongst our overseas audiences on the upcoming festival season in Britain by showcasing Britain’s iconic music heritage. The results showed an increase in engagement across our digital channels and very positive sentiment from our
overseas audiences, expressing a desire to come and experience our live music scene first-hand. The vast economic contribution of international music tourism to Britain has been recently quantified in UK Music’s annual report Wish You Were Here 2015 (www.ukmusic.org/research/musictourism-wish-you-were-here-2015). According to the report, 546,000 overseas music tourists visited the UK in 2014 to attend music events – a dramatic 39% increase since 2011.These tourists spend an average of £751 per visit, which goes directly to UK businesses. When you break it down by Britain’s nations and regions it’s an impressive picture: Region
Biggest festival in the region
East of England South West Scotland London Wales
Latitude Glastonbury T in the Park Wireless Green Man
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This increase in music tourism provides a huge boost to employment throughout the country, with 38,238 full time jobs in this sector in 2014. Because it’s not just the concerts that bring in money – there are the extra costs of food and drink, accommodation, taxis, charging phones and merchandise, to mention but a few. And the businesses that provide these services employ local staff. Tourism is Britain’s seventh largest export industry and currently worth £24billion to the country’s economy. Britain’s booming festival business is one of our most acclaimed and profitable global export assets. When you put them together, it is clear that music and tourism are powerful drivers for growth. Britain’s music scene also helps with how visitors perceive our country – as a modern, exciting and cosmopolitan place to visit. Not to mention motivating Britainwide travel, getting international visitors exploring different parts of the country, providing a massive boost to our nations, regions and local economies. VisitBritain’s ambition is to attract 40 million overseas visitors by 2020. We want to capitalise on the power of British music to help reach that goal and have plans to develop and extend the Music is GREAT component of VisitBritain’s successful campaigns. By ramping up our activity and forging better relationships with festival organisers, promoters, venues and producers we can boost music tourism growth together. Total direct & indirect spend generated by music tourism in the region £273million £221million £155million £148million £69million
Average spend per international visitor
£983 £980 £922 £860 £920
Joss Croft MTS l Marketing Director, VisitBritain
Business Improvement Districts A role in destination marketing Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) have been in existence in the UK since 2004. To date there are 210. BIDs are business led, owned and funded companies, dedicated to raising the quality and performance of a commercial location. The average BID has an income of £363,000p.a and money generated is used to fund place-specific projects. BIDs are well-known for their role in ‘placemaking’, with BID signage and collateral a familiar part of many town and city quarters. However, place marketing and events are a crucial and growing aspect of BID programmes. The means was invited to partner with Landor’s Group Travel Organiser magazine to run an event in London, designed to share best practice and introduce BIDs as a viable component of regional and national destination marketing. In advance of this,The means conducted a survey of 31 BIDs, aimed at determining the extent of their destination marketing activities. All responded that they are spending money on promoting their place, with 72% committing 10-30% of their annual budget.The survey suggests that BIDs tend to bring a ‘broad brush’ approach to destination marketing, targeting a range of audiences. But when asked to be more specific about prime targets their confidence appeared to be lower with national, international tourists and business tourists. 73% of BIDs say that there are other organisations that take responsibility for destination marketing in their place and 68% of BIDs identify that they work in partnership. Our experience bears this out – that BIDs, with relatively low budgets, are always seeking opportunities to work collaboratively. However, when
Shrewsbury BID’s love locks promotion – a hit on social media asked what barriers they had capital is available.There is scope for LEPs to have more involvement, with BIDs encountered, many focused on the perhaps helping them to deliver difficulties faced in forming successful programmes. partnerships – with national and regional bodies. It was suggested that, in a regional A general feeling emerged that the context, partnerships are often ‘bossed’ by marketing tools being used by all agencies larger destinations. Buy-in can be are behind the times.There is a need to expensive and competition exists between move beyond print media to embrace the BIDs, Destination Management possibilities offered by digital platforms Organisations (DMOs) and others for and social media. At the end of our ‘Local funding. Some BIDs expressed the view Tourism & the Visitor Economy’ that DMOs and other local/regional conference paper we asked how the bodies tend to ‘protect their turf ’ while future might look. frequently struggling for viability We asked whether each place would now themselves. have a BID with tourism or a DMO or a LEP or a Local Authority tourism officer? With respect to national bodies such as Or would each place have one of each? VisitEngland, BIDs expressed the view that they tend to seek relationships with This scenario appears disastrous. However DMOs rather than with BIDs.This has the a case study from New Zealand suggested effect of excluding BIDs from potentially that the ‘federal’ approach can work, as beneficial national marketing programmes. long as there is a high degree of coordination. Several BIDs also shared views on Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), of which This has the potential to be achieved tourism is often identified as a growth through effective strategies that identify point. However, they tend to focus on common aims and objectives and how these will be delivered. other priorities – perhaps where larger
Shrewsbury BID Year 1 Destination marketing programme Marketing is a major focus for Shrewsbury BID, spending half of its income on this priority. The first year has seen the BID cement itself as the new brand builder for the town centre, which is being used successfully to promote Shrewsbury as
an ‘original and one-off ’ place to live, work and visit.The campaign has built a strong online presence with the launch of originalshrewsbury.co.uk and two seasonal video productions which generated more than 49,000 hits on YouTube.
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A targeted PR strategy produced national press coverage and profile-raising feats such as flower bombing and a love lock stunt became a social media sensation. More than £175,000 worth of PR and marketing had been delivered, representing a sound return on investment for Shrewsbury BID.
Giles Semper, Director and Becky Chantry, Project Coordinator l The means
An interview with...
Bernard Donoghue FTS The Tourism Alliance was established in 2002 following the recognition of a lack of coordination between Government and the industry over the impact of the previous year’s Foot and Mouth outbreak on tourism.Thirteen years after attending its second meeting, Bernard Donoghue FTS is now its Chairman. He is also the Director of the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) as well as being involved as chairman or trustee in a long list of other important organisations. With a foot in the political door, he has seen tourism’s profile grow significantly among those who make the policies… but there is still much to do. Gregory Yeoman spoke to him.
uncoordinated message.Would you agree with that this impression seems to be changing? BD: It certainly is changing not least because we in the tourism sector have replied to Ministers and MPs that their charge that tourism’s voice is fragmented and uncoordinated is simply lazy politics and disingenuous.Thanks to the Tourism Alliance, and Kurt Janson in particular, our sector has become better, more disciplined and more confident in our lobbying. An excellent example of that is the unity which we displayed in our messages and recommendations to the Commons’ Culture Select Committee’s inquiry into tourism last year.
GY:What was your first tourismrelated job and how did it come about? BD: My first role was working for the then British Tourist Authority and English Tourist Board in 1997. I was appointed Government and Parliamentary Affairs manager – the first time the boards had such a role – managing our relationships with and accountability to Parliament, DCMS and wider government.The role soon expanded to liaise with the broader tourism industry on policy issues and I’ve been working in that field ever since. Having not worked in tourism before it was fascinating to find such an economically and socially important sector with such a relatively low political profile.
GY:You have been an advisor to a number of politicians. Have you ever felt inclined to stand as a parliamentary candidate? BD: Honestly, yes, but not for a long time! My first jobs were as a parliamentary researcher and speechwriter in Westminster and a similar role in the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. I had been chairman of the British Youth Council in my late teens and early twenties and thought that I would follow the political route that previous chairmen – including Peter Mandelson, Charles Clarke and Jack Straw – had taken, but I soon saw that if you wanted to change things politically it wasn’t always necessary to be an MP.That said, I’m a political junkie and I love my current role as being a happy blend of visitor attractions, ‘The Thick of It’ and ‘The West Wing’. GY: How helpful has knowing how
GY:Tourism businesses in the UK have often been criticised for presenting a fractured,
Bernard Donoghue at this year’s Best of Britain and Ireland
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the political system works been in your various roles? BD: Incredibly, as is the ability for an organisation to be critically honest with itself and not be too awed by its own propaganda. Politicians are busy people with competing demands and little time and therefore knowing how best to marshal your arguments, win support, cultivate supporters and affect change is just a political version of good CRM. And sometimes that means translating our sector’s vocabulary of millions, percentages and ROIs to more memorable and compelling phrases like “last year more people visited the British Museum and the National Gallery, combined, than visited Barcelona” or “more people visit heritage sites every weekend than go to football matches”.You match your vocabulary and tactics to your audience for very specific effect. GY: Over the years as chair of the Tourism Society’s Question Time session at the Best of Britain and Ireland show (now the British Tourism and Travel Show), have you noticed a shift in the messages the panellists have been hoping to get across, or in their understanding of the main issues? BD:Yes, definitely. It’s true that there are not huge differences between parties in their support for or understanding of tourism, but there are a raft of other policy areas which have an effect on our industry and those are often the places of contention. Such as the introduction and then abolition of RDAs; immigration and visas; transport infrastructure; Air Passenger Duty and VAT on accommodation and attractions. With a Government majority of 12 I can only assume that the desire to win every vote at the next election will influence a lot of the way this Government listens, and responds, to economic sectors over the next four years. GY: In 2012 many of the ALVA members experienced a drop in visitor numbers, but recovery has been strong.What are the current
GY: Overall, the UK is performing very well on measures such as visitor numbers and spend. Are there other measures to take into account as well? BD:Yes, enjoyment and repeat business. But when you say that the UK is doing well on inbound visitor numbers that’s certainly true – last year was a record year and we should celebrate that – but as a nation we have been losing our share of global business for a number of years and that’s affecting our international competitiveness. At VisitBritain it would drive me crazy to hear some politicians mouth their assumptions that sooner or later, unprompted, everyone would visit the UK for a holiday or business, as if we have some divine right to expect the world to lap-up on our shores. Every visitor to the UK is an investor in the UK and the fact that they have decided to spend their precious time and hardearned money with us should be the greatest compliment we can receive – and we should treat it as such. GY:The government’s new fivepoint plan wants to spread the benefits of tourism countrywide. If you could add a sixth point what would it be? BD:To implement the entire list of the Common’s Culture Media and Sport Committee’s Tourism Inquiry recommendations. If you want a list of everything that’s right with our industry and a list of how we, collectively, can overcome our challenges, I recommend reading it. GY: Can you sum up how the Tourism Alliance has become increasingly important over the years? BD: By being more evidence-based in our lobbying; by being more disciplined and coherent in our messaging; and by being more confident in articulating the achievements of our sector and our appetite to grow more successfully and sustainably.Those things are the result of the collective will and hard work of Chairs, board members and member
© Mark Hemsworth
trends? BD:There was a double whammy in 2012 of poor weather and the domestic and inbound displacement caused by the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Much of that business was won back if not by the end of that year then in 2013. Since then ALVA members have been outperforming the rest of the attractions sector. Across the UK last year we saw a 6.5% increase in visitor numbers to ALVA members with Scotland doing particularly well partly because of the Commonwealth Games; we learned our lessons from 2012 and shared them with our Scottish members and the Glasgow organisers.
Jousting at Blenheim Palace, an ALVA member already seeing the effects of a strong organisations and, of course, the hard Sterling against a weak Euro and that, work of Kurt Janson, our Director. I’m combined with having the second highest delighted to be playing a new role in that rate of VAT on our accommodation and collective effort. attractions in the EU, means that we have to be critically honest about our price as a GY:With many tourism destination. responsibilities devolved, how does the Tourism Alliance work with the GY: I have heard you describe the Scottish Tourism Alliance and the list of heritage features that you Wales Tourism Alliance? pass on your 15-minute bus route BD: We meet, share information, agree to work. Promoting pocket-sized common approaches and listen to each itineraries like this would be great other. Devolution has completely changed for helping people who work or live the tourism landscape of the UK and in the UK’s towns and cities to especially the level of public funding which appreciate their environment and goes into infrastructure and marketing. look at it with a fresh perspective. Our default position should be to aim to What could be done to encourage grow the size of the overall UK inbound the development of such a project? tourism cake, rather than be infatuated BD:You’ve got a good memory! We often about the size of the respective slices. take the amazing history and heritage that we have on our doorstep and are GY:You have spoken about surrounded by, for granted. I love that concentrating in your year as English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Tourism Alliance chairman on the Fund are supporting projects that three Ps: People, Product and Price. encourage people to tell their stories of What are the main challenges and their neighbourhoods and their opportunities in each of those communities and, through this oral history, areas? instil community pride and enable people BD: People: the greatest difference to be marketers and advocates for their between getting a 5-star Tripadvisor own cities, towns and villages. A number review and a 4-star is that a staff member of DMOs are using the authentic voices of their local citizens as part of their or a volunteer is more likely to be named marketing message; that should certainly in a 5-star review. be encouraged. People are the differential. We are nothing without our staff and volunteers who actually deliver the experience and define GY:Which do you go for on holiday: the visitor or customer experience. We beach, mountain or your should strive to reward, retain and invest destination’s leading attractions? in them and ensure that Government BD: In the UK a complete mix: I’ve been policies allow us to do that. spending a week every year for 19 years Product: we are a sector which knows at the Edinburgh festival every August. I’d that to refresh, refurbish and improve is to visit my members whether I was in this survive and grow. We should work hard to job or not (why wouldn’t you?) and as a ensure that political initiatives, like the former Chair of VisitManchester I do love Comprehensive Spending Review cuts, do a city with a great cultural buzz. And bars. not harm our product offering irreparably, And restaurants. Overseas I need a whether to our tourist boards or to our balance between city life and beaches so I publicly funded museums and galleries. go for a multi-venue holiday, and the holiday feels longer because you’ve fitted Price: as a nation we are losing our more things in. international competitiveness. We are
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I once read that you should remember what you liked to do when you were a child in choosing a career that is right for you. Even though my decision to choose tourism as a career was based on a variety of factors, I can still remember as a child spending hours looking through travel brochures and admiring sandy beaches, exotic places and luxurious hotels. My first experience of the tourism industry as an ‘insider’ was during my undergraduate degree (in Japanese studies!) in Lithuania, when I spent my work experience semester at a small travel agency. This determined my future career, showing me how exciting the industry is and also how beneficial placements can be. I have always loved travelling myself and wanted to do something I am passionate about in the future. Therefore when I finished my undergraduate studies in Lithuania I decided that tourism would be the right career for me. Nowadays competition is fierce, especially for young people looking for their first job, so it is important to stand out from other candidates. Combining a postgraduate degree and gaining more in-depth work experience was my strategy to finding my ‘dream job’. I chose Sheffield Hallam University for my postgraduate studies not only because it has a strong reputation in the tourism subject area but also because it offered the option for a work placement year. Even though it was challenging and required quite a few sleepless nights from time to time, I have never regretted my decision, as I gained so much. Although I learned a lot from the taught programme, academic experience is not enough to develop confidence in the search for a job in the real world. Starting to look for your first job is always daunting and sometimes you are not even sure where to start and what to do, so it was really helpful and inspiring to have advice on all aspects – even starting with how to create your CV and where to look
Zivile Buragaite l MSc International Hospitality and Tourism Management, Sheffield Hallam University
© Syda Productions – Fotolia.com
for suitable placement opportunities. It is also nice to share your job hunting experience with your fellow students, as you can learn a lot from each other and get ideas on how to improve your chances. Looking for a work placement is not an easy process. I sent quite a few CVs out before I finally secured my first interview – and fortunately this produced a job offer. I was really excited to receive Cosmos Holidays' invitation to join an assessment day for the role of Overseas Operations Assistant. My university experience was one of the main factors helping me to secure the job offer – not only as my postgraduate degree strengthened my profile, but also the work experience classes provided useful tips such as how to prepare for a job interview and what to expect on an assessment day. My work experience was rather short (six months), but very intensive and informative – it has become one of the
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best times I will always remember. I was working in a dynamic overseas role in Venice and learned not only about overseas operations related to looking after tourists when they step off the plane and arrive at the resort, but also more widely as I was communicating with other departments on a daily basis. Even though I decided not to stay overseas, this experience helped me secure a position at Jet2holidays a few months after I completed my placement. My new job is giving me insights into how the different departments of the business function, before I choose my preferred role. Every career path is different, but the first step is always the hardest and it makes it so much easier when somebody helps you along the way. The tourism sector is huge and there are numerous and varied paths to take, but I believe the best advantage of study and placement is that they give you a stepping stone to start from.
Against the buoyancy of increasing Occupancy and Average Daily Rate (ADR), the rising cost of acquiring bookings continues to erode profit growth for UK hoteliers. These costs are primarily made up of the fees related to OTAs (Online Travel Agents) and the advertising costs associated with driving website traffic. While many hotels are recording year-onyear growth in excess of 15% via their OTA channels, the commission charged (approximately 20%) is amongst the largest costs to hoteliers and it is not unusual to find properties now receiving up to 50% of total business through these high-cost channels. Additionally, the cost of acquiring website traffic is increasing dramatically. Analysis of Avvio’s client datasets indicates a rise in digital advertising cost that is primarily connected to OTAs competing for hotel brand names to achieve top page rank positions in paid search listings (such as Google PPC ads). Our research shows that this competition has impacted notably on hoteliers’ CPA (cost per acquisition) metrics: in Q1 2015 many independent UK hotels were paying up to 55% more to advertise on their own brand name compared to Q1 2014. Another advantage enjoyed by OTAs, underpinning their aggressive competitive approach, comes from the contractual obligation put on hotels to desist from distributing public rates below the OTA’s rates. ‘Rate Parity’ allows OTAs to promote ‘guaranteed best rates’– a very strong marketing message – and prevents hotels from advertising more enticing deals to consumers, therein eroding the book-direct benefits. Despite the cost of acquiring bookings growing twice as fast as RevPAR for many hotels, there are some long-overdue changes coming. OTA Rate Parity under fire throughout Europe A decision by European regulators in January has triggered Booking.com and Expedia to revise their contentious rate
© daviles – fotolia.com
How the strength of OTA positions are changing in relation to Rate Parity developments
parity terms. Hotels no longer need to maintain parity between different online channels – meaning that they can offer different room rates to their OTAs. However, hotels’ direct channels have not been protected by this regulation. In fact, a number of revised OTA contracts specifically exclude the hotel’s direct channel from this arrangement. By insisting that a hotel’s own website still cannot publically offer a lower room rate than OTAs, many industry bodies, including the BHA, feel that hotels and consumers are getting a raw deal. Recently, the French National Assembly removed the parity clause entirely between hotels and OTAs, threatening fines of up to €150,000 for violators, and the BHA is putting pressure on the UK Competition Markets Authority (CMA) to follow suit. Its decision will be published in August 2015. With Europe questioning whether the current situation may be against competition legislation, it seems that the days of Narrow Rate Parity may be numbered, so hoteliers should be prepared. A future without Rate Parity Regardless of the outcome on rate parity, it is difficult to find another industry as fragmented and confusing for customers as online travel. Price comparison services provided by
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MetaSearch brands, like Trivago and TripAdvisor, have become essential research tools for frustrated shoppers looking to find the best hotel option. And so, as price-disparity increases going forward, this fragmentation will continue to drive customers to these new distribution channels, where rate-shopping is made easy. To protect their most profitable direct channel, hotels must equip themselves to take advantage of these alternative channels and, at the same time, should refrain from handing the majority of their listings to OTAs. While the online landscape is evolving and becoming increasingly nuanced, things finally seem to be changing positively for consumers and savvy hoteliers certainly stand to benefit substantially from a world without rate parity. OTAs will not be going away – nor should they – but acquisition costs will continue to grow for now.To that end, hoteliers need to focus on driving their most profitable channel, direct website bookings, by 15% or more each year to ensure a profitable long-term online strategy. Additionally, traditional strategies or offthe-shelf solutions can help grow competitiveness and profitability for hoteliers. Whether rate parity disappears or not remains to be seen, but hotels that grow in online sophistication will not only survive but thrive.
Frank Reeves l Co-Founder and CEO, Avvio
Balkan Holidays marks 50 years of change In 1966 England was celebrating winning the World Cup, John Lennon met Yoko, the first British credit card was launched and the BBC began broadcasting in colour. It was against this background that the British package holiday market was entering boom times. Cheap flights to what seemed at the time like exotic destinations had led the way. British holidaymakers were tired of wartime austerity and the lure of sun and sand at an enticing price paved the way for tour operators to create packages to new destinations. Spain and Southern Europe were at the forefront of the boom. Keen to get their economies back on track they realised that they could guarantee what British resorts could not – a great climate. Even the traditional British fear of ‘foreign’ food could easily be overcome once the restaurants and hotels worked out that ‘chips with everything’ was the key to success. It was in this scenario that new destinations fought for market share. Spain could not have it all its own way. Just as the Spanish had been quick to put up hotels and create an industry, other countries were following suit. Bulgaria was one such destination. Its resorts on the Black Sea were a popular holiday destination for Communist Party leaders. Both Russian and Bulgarian bigwigs would go there for their holidays staying in resorts that we know today as Sunny Beach and Golden Sands. Hotels started to spring up on the Black Sea during the 1950s. Nearly 380 kilometres of coastline, hundreds of natural mineral springs and stunning beaches, many of which today are designated Blue Flag resorts, made it an obvious target for investment. The then Communist Bulgarian Government could see the opportunities for enticing British trade unionists and blue-collar workers to their beautiful beaches. That was how Balkan Holidays, which is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary next year, came into being, created as part of an all-encompassing organisation known as
Brochure launch with John Inman Balkan Tourist. Balkan Tourist was responsible for all aspects of tourism in the country and under its auspices the plan to fly British tourists to the Eastern bloc for summer holidays began. In the early days state-owned Balkan Holidays was established to give an opportunity to other operators to have airline seats from the UK to Bulgaria. Charters were shared with companies like Global. It was in co-operation later with
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Balkan Bulgarian Airlines that the first charter flights were started. Product Manager Nely Yeneva who has been with the company almost since the beginning recalls: “Flights were every fortnight and carried about 120 passengers. In the early years the hotels were 2-3 star but of a good quality and newly built. Sunny Beach was very green; you could hardly see the hotels. In the days before high-rise most hotels
Golden Sands resort had 2-3 floors; there were bungalows and a campsite. It was nice, lots of greenery and lovely beaches.” Mike Walsh, who was Sales Manager at Balkan Holidays from 1970 to 1974, recalls how travel agents played an essential part in establishing Balkan Holidays in those early years. “Balkan Holidays had great support from agents, both multiples, miniples and independents – companies like Thomas Cook, AT Mays, the Co-op and Travel Club of Upminster. Many agents were adept at attracting business from trade unions and factory workers using the Communist connection as a sales tool.Travel agents and the trade unions were the life-blood of Balkan and provided the foundation on which the company was able to grow in later years,” he said. By 1970 Balkan Holidays had its own offices and shop front in South Molton Street, long before the designer jewellery shops and Mayfair boutiques of today. Walsh recalls how bookings were taken in those days. “Administration and reservations were situated on the first and second floors of the South Molton Street office. I remember it being quite cramped as there were probably about 20 people working in the building at that time. I introduced the reservations system that Global used. “It revolved around a small cardboard tag that was turned over to show the sales. It might seem primitive now but it was remarkable how effective the system was and of course completely immune to the computer crashes that we have to live with today.” As the 1970s progressed Balkan Holidays was carrying about five thousand passengers on charters from Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester and Glasgow.The company chartered a Boeing 707 from BOAC in 1974, the first operator to
charter a BOAC flight to a Communist country. The inaugural flight was used to carry 30 travel agents and the then Editor of Travel News (now Travel Weekly), Jeff Mills, on an educational to Sunny Beach, Albena and Golden Sands. It made quite a big splash in the travel trade publications at the time. Brochure launches could take on a life of their own with entertainment playing a key role in educating audiences. “One of our most memorable brochure launches was at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London with about 100 agents and press. I hired John Inman who at the time was a jobbing actor prior to his ‘Are You Being Served’ fame. For £50 and a meal, he took on the roles of a city businessman, a young lady seeking fun, a hippy and a pensioner. I played the part of a travel agent and responded to his various characters’ questions about travelling to the Eastern Bloc,” said Walsh. By the end of the 70s Balkan Holidays was expanding to other countries and had begun a winter ski holiday programme to Bulgaria’s Bansko, Pamporovo and Borovets resorts. Winter charters were being shared with companies like Inghams. By now Balkan had moved offices to Regent Street. The 1980s saw further expansion with Balkan Holidays operating to other countries including the former Yugoslavia, Turkey, Romania, and Cyprus and even, for one year, Cuba. Perestroika in the late 1980s brought about major political changes across Eastern Europe. The Iron Curtain fell and Communist rule finally came to an end in Bulgaria in 1990. In 1991 when Intasun ceased trading Balkan Holidays passenger loads increased as they put on extra flights and the staff tally increased to 48.
Two years later Neli Walker, Operations Manager, who has been with the company for 36 years, recalls travel agents queuing outside Balkan’s offices to make bookings to Bulgaria because of the war in Yugoslavia. Balkan Holidays had charters to Mamaia in Romania at this time.The company was selling city breaks to Russia, Poland and Czechoslovakia, plus Bulgarian wine tours, monastery tours, and botanic tours, in addition to package holidays. It was to be another nine years from the end of Communism before Balkan Holidays was finally sold into private hands. After a challenging period when the company had to recover from its previous state ownership Balkan Holidays soon bounced back. During the Noughties the ski resort of Bansko underwent substantial investment. Once just a village with one hotel and inhabited by wild horses, Bansko has flourished to such an extent that it now regularly hosts World Cup Ski events. Now firmly ensconced in offices named by a previous Managing Director after the Bulgarian capital Sofia in London’s Conduit Street, Balkan Holidays can reflect on an eventful 50 years. In a period of time which has seen some smaller tour operators go out of business, it is indeed a tremendous achievement for Balkan Holidays to be celebrating its Golden Anniversary. The present Managing Director Alex Stoyanov sums it up like this: “There have been both positive and negative milestones that have helped Balkan Holidays to become the company that it is today. Balkan remaining a specialist niche operator has undoubtedly been a huge benefit as larger operators have moved in and out of the market.” Here’s to the next fifty years! Chris Rand l Sales and Marketing Manager, Balkan Holidays
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View from Kenya
At present, the Kenyan tourism industry is experiencing a downturn because of terrorism, insecurity and bad governance. After the Al Shabab attacks along the Kenyan coast, the Westgate Mall attack, the Garissa University and many smaller attacks, government-issued travel warnings were immediately strengthened for tourists travelling to, and foreigners living within, Kenya. Furthermore, the extremely negative portrayal in the international media has pushed potential tourists to alternative destinations such as Tanzania and South Africa. The effects are varied. Event organisers are looking elsewhere – Skal cancelled this year’s planned congress to Mombasa as a result of the travel warnings and media coverage. But the travel warnings were lifted two weeks after the cancellation. As a result of the downturn, many industry staff have been made redundant. This in turn has increased the crime level. I had some guests in Diani, the hotel restaurant and Kenya-based expats all robbed while they were having dinner. Thankfully everyone was safe, but confidence is dented. According to a report by the Kenya Tourism Board published in June 2015, visitors to Kenya fell by 25% within the first five months of the year. This shows that the industry has been badly damaged by the Islamist attacks. In 2014, KTB reported a drop by 25.4% in visitor numbers; British visitors dropped by 35% and American visitors by 22%. Those who do come are still drawn to the honeypots, such as the game reserves. However, many of the five-star Kenyan locations like the Maasai Mara have degraded as an attractive tourist destination due to poor governance. The National Reserve has exceeded its carrying capacity for accommodation and there are too many cars at one time at an animal sighting. The sustainable balance between the wild animals and the Maasai’s grazing livestock has been lost.
Photo – Kunal Bid
Diversification in times of hardship
Ekta Bid MTS l Managing Director, African Sojourn
Controlling visitors in Mara Triangle Conservancy As a result tourists are not getting value for money and are choosing to visit private conservancies which are properly governed. Better cooperation between the local communities, the county Government, hoteliers and tour operators working in the Maasai Mara would be a welcome improvement. For example, in Mara Triangle Conservancy cars are only allowed offroad to see the big cats. A maximum of five cars at one time is allowed at any sighting and watching-time is limited to ten minutes. Cattle grazing is not allowed in the Triangle. As a result there is only one builtup lodge in the Conversancy, a few camp sites and one tented camp. The players within the Kenyan Tourism sector have had to reinvent themselves to remain solvent. Some hotels at the coast have started turning part of their property into longterm apartments. Other lodges and hotels are concentrating on local events and conferences. My business, too, has had to diversify. Conservation has always been a passion and I have always wanted African Sojourn to promote conservation and support lodges and hotels that are sustainable. I was actively involved and tried to coordinate a captive breeding programme of Lammergeyer vultures. But due to
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political pressure this project had to be put on hold. I have started an events division. We organise corporate and individual functions. We are looking at tying up with a few resorts to host special interest tourism weekends such as art tourism and yoga retreats. A new venture which I hope will be longterm is agri-tourism. A family farm grows citrus, berries, lemons and a variety of fruit and vegetables. The plan is to have day and overnight packages where visitors can come, pick their own fruits and make their own meals with the fresh produce. As we deal with the hardships of the tourism sector in Kenya we have tried to diversify in order to remain a viable business. Hopefully an improvement in the sector will make this a fruitful and sustainable business venture. President Barack Obama’s visit to Nairobi on 24th July this year for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit will, I hope, also have helped restore international confidence in Kenya as a safe place to visit. And to help spread the word, the Kenyan Tourism Federation has launched the ‘Why I love Kenya’ marketing campaign, which can be found at www.facebook.com/ WhyWeLoveKenya or on twitter at @whyilovekenya.
Focus on... Oman
Beauty has an address
© Steve Graham
When placing the Sultanate of Oman’s tourism development in the context of the wider Gulf region the centres for immediate comparison with Muscat are its neighbours Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and for Salalah in Dhofar, the southern part of Oman’s Indian Ocean coast, it would be Ras Al Khaimah. Oman welcomed a record 2.1 million tourists in 2014 as opposed to Abu Dhabi’s 3.1m and Dubai’s 13.2m. These destinations are primarily comparable by the nature of their location, their luxury beach, spa and golf products and desert experiences. The Sultanate has over 5,000 years of history and culture to base its tourism product on. The UAE do not have this advantage so they have built attractions and created activities that have enjoyed international acclaim, from high-rise modern towers and shopping centres to theme parks and ski slopes. Meanwhile, Oman opened the majestic Sultan Qaboos Mosque and Royal Opera House, with a new national museum and botanical gardens in the pipeline for 2016/7. Oman Sail, launched in 2010, has revived Oman’s seafaring heritage, competing internationally, with an Omani becoming the first Arab to sail around the world. Some would argue that Dubai’s success is
due to its natural location as a hub almost equidistant between Europe, Far East Asia and Australia and the government’s foresight in developing its national carrier, Emirates, in 1995. Bahrain, Oman and Abu Dhabi on the other hand shared Gulf Air ownership until Etihad was launched in 2003 and although Oman Air has operated regionally since 1993, its first long haul flight to London wasn’t until 2007. How much Oman and its neighbours have capitalised on the displacement of tourists from Tunisia, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria or Egypt over recent years is debatable as it is more likely that this traffic has gone to Turkey or Greece due to cost and distance. However, there has been a certain percentage of cultural tours, cruises, luxury beach holidays and more recently interest in the sailing that Oman has attracted. When describing the tourist landscape that Oman is operating within, the best term would be ‘ever evolving’ – 12 years ago when the Sultanate started issuing visas on arrival for tourists and opening its overseas tourism offices Dubai was in major construction mode. Oman was able to attract repeat visitors to Dubai who were looking for a luxury beach and Arabic experience without the disruption of building sites. With the majority of Dubai’s construction completed Oman itself has and is also undertaking new hotel development due to the growing demand from tourists. Due to the space available this does not affect the visitor experience – Oman is after all approximately the same size as Germany with an Indian Ocean coastline of over 3,000km. However, building was disrupted by the discovery of new archaeological sites which are given priority. Three new boutique hotels have been developed in the Hajar Mountains, another of Oman’s unique and untouched aspects, offering a cooler climate in the hotter months. The Gulf region has become very priceled due to the vast bed stock and airlift in neighbouring countries.This makes it hard for Oman to compete on price and the
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Mutrah sea-front current strategy of differentiation suits Oman’s hotel capacity in the winter but has not yet harnessed the summer market, when temperatures are slightly cooler than Dubai, similar to Turkey or Greece and significantly cooler if you stay in the mountains or Salalah. In 2015 the Sultan celebrates his 45th anniversary. Initially, priority was given to the health, welfare and education of his people enhanced by a modern road network. Since 2005 there has been a master plan for Oman’s tourism development fundamentally based on sustainability, protecting the environment and enhancing the future for the people of Oman. Oman’s biggest tourism opportunities remain in the development of the leisure, cruising and activity market and the MICE market with the opening of a new convention centre in 2017 and airport expansion and developing its portfolio of annual events (Salalah Khareef Festival, Tour Oman Cycling Race, Muscat Festival and The Xtreme Sailing Series). The Oman Ministry of Tourism is a Corporate Member of the Tourism Society. Alison Cryer FTS, MTMI l Managing Director, Representation Plus
Photo – P&O Cruises
The power of celebrity
As the cult of celebrity continues to rise seemingly unabated, travel industry marketers are increasingly joining their FMCG counterparts by contracting the services of high profile personalities to become their brand ambassadors. But what are the upsides and potential pitfalls of adopting such a strategy? The media has been at the forefront of this celebrity phenomenon, particularly the tabloid newspapers and magazines. However, even the front pages of The Times and The Telegraph now frequently
use images of high profile showbiz and sports stars. Likewise, the mainline television channels have also entered the celebrity arena in recent years. Add to this the explosion of celebrity websites and social media usage with fans hanging on every 140-character message of their idols (pop star Katy Perry has over 46 million followers on Twitter) and the perceived power of such celebrity endorsement for products is difficult to deny. Those in the pro camp are quick to point out that the selection of a celebrity to
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front their brand is a serious business with in-depth research undertaken before a final decision is made. Matching the right celebrity with the brand and ensuring that customers can relate to the person is of paramount importance. Let’s face it, getting Joanna Lumley to promote a holiday centre operator simply would not be credible in the eyes of many consumers. Running intensive checks on potential candidates to ensure there are no ‘skeletons in their cupboard’ is apparently commonplace as is the fall back of having a substitute available should a negative issue arise. This year has seen a proliferation of travel industry companies using celebrities in their promotional campaigns. VisitEngland has used cartoon character Shaun the Sheep and his pals to highlight destinations in the domestic market. James Berresford,VisitEngland’s Chief Executive, said: “Following on from the success of the third ‘Holidays at Home are GREAT’ campaign last year, which starred Wallace & Gromit we have partnered again with Aardman to create another super TV advertisement. I am confident
Shaun will fuel the public’s imagination and inspire them to take a holiday in the UK this year.” In the outbound sector, P&O Cruises has had comedian Rob Brydon appearing in their TV and press advertisements extolling the total relaxation that can be had on this type of holiday. P&O Cruises’ marketing director Christopher Edgington said: “Rob Brydon is the perfect embodiment of a newcomer to cruise who brings his own personality and sense of adventure and fun to cruise. Rob was the obvious choice to front the campaign as he is well loved with a great sense of humour and it is easy for potential customers to imagine themselves in his shoes.” Not to be outdone in the celebrity stakes, VisitBritain enlisted the support of Welsh singer Katherine Jenkins to appear in its GREAT campaign promoting inbound tourism. Conrad Bird, Director of the GREAT Britain Campaign, said: “British creative talent has produced some of the world’s best music. Katherine Jenkins is a powerful symbol of this talent, and shows in no uncertain terms why Wales, where she hails from, is known as the land of song.” Other high profile travel campaigns using celebrities currently running include Premier Inns with Lenny Henry and Turkish Airlines featuring footballers Didier Drogba and Lionel Messi. Of course, it is not always full-blown marketing campaigns that are fronted by celebrities. In recent years there has been an increasing move towards using personalities to ‘sample’ holidays for articles in newspapers and magazines. The Mail on Sunday has been incorporating this tactic in its travel section editorial for some time. As you might predict, these articles tend to cover high end holidays such as the Caribbean and
cruising but, occasionally, more basic options appear such as cycling and walking breaks. However, not everyone in the marketing fraternity is convinced that celebrity endorsement works, arguing that it is a mistake to let someone else’s personality take over that of your brand. Major brands take years of hard work and investment to build but can easily be destroyed in an instant by the wrongdoing of the celebrity contracted to act as an ambassador. Prime examples of this in the past include Lance Armstrong,Tiger Woods and Oscar Pistorius. More recently, the Australian actress Nicole Kidman, was castigated by the Association of Professional Flight Attendants for her starring role in the Eithad Airways campaign. The Association claimed that the sponsorship deal conflicted with the star’s role as the United Nations Women’s Goodwill Ambassador as the airline allegedly has a poor track record in its
treatment of female staff. Another factor put forward by the antiendorsement lobby is that sometimes the celebrity endorses several different brands and yours can be lost in the melee or confused with another sponsor’s messaging. In today’s marketplace consumers are more savvy than ever and are less likely to be blinded by the claims of a celebrity endorser who they know full well is being paid handsomely for their appearance. According to the doubters, it is authenticity that counts rather than stars in your eyes. Most of the travel research presentations that are published point to recommendation by friends and relatives as the most important influencer on holiday decision-making. Does that mean huge amounts of advertising spend are being wasted on celebrity ambassadors? Back to the much used quote: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don't know which half.”
Mike Bugsgang FTS l Managing Director, Bugsgang & Associates Issue 163 Autumn 2015
Tourism Symposium 2015
Study tour to Ashford – Kent & East Sussex Railway The event began at Eastwell Manor with a B2B workshop by UKinbound for operators and suppliers, before delegates embarked on an afternoon of tours to different parts of the county. Attendees were given a choice of three themed tours. ‘East Coast Art’ visited the East Kent Coast for a tour of Turner Contemporary and a behind-the-scenes look at Dreamland Margate. ‘Ashford Experience’ included a tour of Chapel
Photo – Manu Palomeque
A debut performance by the new Tourism Minister,Tracey Crouch, a stellar list of speakers, plus the best in terms of tourism that Kent has to offer, made the Tourism Society’s Symposium held over two days in June one of the most successful to date. Over 240 delegates representing businesses throughout Britain together with leading industry professionals attended the event, hosted by Visit Kent. The theme for this year’s Symposium was ‘Connecting to the Future’. High-profile speakers included Sir Peter Bazalgette, Chairman of The Arts Council, Steven Norris, former Transport Minister, and celebrity chef and broadcaster Rosemary Shrager. Commenting on the event afterwards, the new Tourism Minister, who is MP for Chatham and Aylesford, said: “It was brilliant to be able to celebrate the best of British and Kent destinations in my first ministerial speech. We have a world-class tourism offer, which is why a record number of international visitors spent a record £21.8billion in local economies last year. But this is a very tough market, so it’s really important that symposiums like this one are taking place for industry professionals to share best practice and maintain our tourism growth.”
Photo – Manu Palomeque
A great success with seal of approval from the new tourism minister
Lunch at Chapel Down Vineyard
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Down Winery and a ride on the Kent & East Sussex Railway in Tenterden, followed by a visit to Ashford Designer Outlet, while ‘Medway and Maritime’ featured a tour of the Shepherd Neame Brewery, a Dickens tour of Medway, a visit to the Historic Dockyards Chatham, plus a chance to view the 1300 Faversham Magna Carta, on temporary display in the town’s Alexander Centre. In the evening delegates attended a reception where local producers had an opportunity to showcase their products including Kentish crisps, cheese, wines and ice cream. Details were also unveiled of Ashford’s new tourism wine trail by Borough Councillor Clair Bell. On day two, the Symposium switched to the University of Kent’s Colyer Fergusson Concert Hall, which hosted the business sessions. Delegates attended a series of talks and panel discussions on various topics affecting the tourism industry, including ‘Connecting to Quality’; ‘What’s the Future for Destinations – Do DMO’s Have a Future?’ and ‘Driving Visitor Economy Growth Through Local Cultural Programmes.’ Panel discussions were chaired by key industry figures including Sally Balcombe, CEO VisitBritain, Deidre Wells, CEO UKinbound, and Kurt Janson, Policy Director of Tourism Alliance.
Photo – Manu Palomeque
Sandra Matthews-Marsh MBE effortlessly cool.’ The attraction was offering a heady mix of heritage, vintage, retro and fierce independence in a unique and modern setting. But he was also confident that Dreamland would be sufficiently appealing to ‘Grannies and Grandpas’ visiting for the day with the grandkids and be attractive to more mature visitors during shoulder periods. In a fascinating look at what lies ahead for destination tourism marketing, Nick Hall, CEO of Digital Tourism Think Tank, presented his thoughts on a digital future for tourism. He shared his ideas on how customers made their decisions when selecting a destination, travel and accommodation. He also gave some useful insights into how destinations and businesses could influence these decisions by using digital media. Delegates also heard about another major
Photo – Manu Palomeque
There was also an opportunity to learn about a couple of new attractions that have come or are coming to Kent in the future, including the new Dreamland Margate, which opened a couple of weeks after the Symposium was held. Wayne Hemingway, HemingwayDesign, and Eddie Kemsley, CEO of Dreamland Margate, shared some of their plans for the rebirth of Margate’s latest attraction, featuring 19 rides plus a host of other entertainment attractions. Hemingway said: “You would never have gone to Margate ten years ago.” But now thanks to projects such as Turner Contemporary the town had recently been voted one of the Top 5 Places to visit in 2015. He hoped that Dreamland, a popular destination for East Londoners in the 1960s and 70s, would attract a new crowd of young creatives. Dreamland was aiming to be ‘cheeky, charming and
Manon Antoniazzi (Visit Wales)
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new attraction opening in Ebbsfleet, Kent, in 2020 – London Paramount Entertainment.The new £2billion development will occupy a 400-acre site near Ebbsfleet International Station on the banks of the Thames and is expected to attract up to 15 million visitors a year. It will be the first NSIP – Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project – to be funded in the UK. Executive Director Fenlon Dunphy told the Symposium that agreements had already been made with BBC Worldwide, Aardman Animations and the British Film Insititute in the creation of exhibits and attractions at the resort. “The theme will be the best of Hollywood meets the best of British,” he said.There will be 50-60 attractions and 5,000 hotel rooms on site creating a unique visitor attraction, which will be on a par in terms of scale with Disneyland Paris. Celebrity chef Rosemary Shrager, who runs her own cookery school in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, shared her thoughts with the audience about the importance of employing apprentices. She said: “Apprentices are crucial for our next generation and they are particularly important for the tourism industry, where service is paramount.” In the keynote address, Sir Peter Bazalgette, Chairman of The Arts Council, stressed the important role that cultural attractions played in attracting tourism to towns and cities. He said that research showed that visitors to destinations seeking arts and culture would traditionally spend more money. While destinations investing in cultural attractions would soon find that it was money that was well spent, as research showed that 43% of people visiting a town would go to a museum. He highlighted cities such as Liverpool, which had made a huge success out of its status as European Capital of Culture in 2008 and predicted similarly great things for Hull, designated UK City of Culture in 2017. Lyndsey Swift of VisitEngland chaired a Cultural Destinations update with Usha Mistry (Lakes Culture), Sarah Dance (arts consultant),Victoria Pomery OBE (Turner Contemporary) and Paul Bristow (Arts Council England). Swift highlighted some of the innovative projects that have come about through the Cultural Destinations programme and partnership with Arts Council England, while Pomery, Dance and Mistry described their own attractions in more detail. Delegates were invited to think about how they could broaden their cultural offering by developing and updating it – a historical basis was not always important (Mistry cited the example of the Paper Bridge installation at the foot of Helvellyn, in the Lake District) and accessibility to different audiences would ensure maximum interest.
Photo – Manu Palomeque
Former Transport Minister Steven Norris chaired the final session, called ‘What’s the Future for Transport in Britain.’ He invited the panel to suggest what they would ask for if they were granted five minutes with the Secretary of State for Transport and there was unanimous agreement that transport needed to be more joined up. Paul Kehoe of Birmingham Airport said: “We need to break down the barriers between organisations. We are guilty of not thinking about an integrated transport system.” “Connectivity is everyone’s holy grail,” added Stephen Joseph, Chief Executive of the Campaign for Better Transport. Summing up the proceedings, Sandra Matthews-Marsh MBE, chairman of The Tourism Society and chief executive of Visit Kent, said: “We are delighted to have hosted such a lively and thought-provoking Symposium here in Kent. “Attendance exceeded our expectations, and the feedback on both the quality of the event and the setting has been extremely positive.” “We are delighted to have attracted so many high profile speakers, and really appreciate the Minister for making the Tourism Symposium her first official
Photo – Manu Palomeque
Rosemary Shrager engagement. As a Kent MP,Tracey Crouch is well versed in her knowledge of UK tourism and has been very supportive of the industry in the past. “We are all looking forward to working closely with her and sincerely hope that she stays in post for the next five years!” she added. The Symposium was hosted by Visit Kent in partnership with Ashford Borough
Council. It was supported by VisitBritain, UKinbound, Arts Council England, Southeastern and the Coach Tourism Council with additional support provided by Kent County Council, Medway Council, University of Kent, Eastwell Manor, Q Hotels, Holiday Inn, and made. Next year’s Symposium is scheduled for 6th and 7th June. See the Tourism Society website www.tourismsociety.org for further details later in the year.
Linda Moore l Moore Communications
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Membership News Obituary – Lord Montagu of Beaulieu Lord Montagu of Beaulieu, former President of the Tourism Society from 1991 to 2000, has died. He was a pioneer of the ‘Stately Home’ business and a strong advocate for Tourism for over 60 years. He supported the Tourism Society from its earliest days, and for several years allowed the office facilities at Beaulieu to back up very limited secretariat resources. From 1952, when he opened Palace House to the public and exhibited old cars in memory of his motoring pioneer father, Edward Montagu’s dynamism drove the development of the visitor activities at Beaulieu. He created the charitable National Motor Museum which opened in 1972, which was integrated with his home (Palace House), Beaulieu Abbey and the other visitor businesses at Buckler’s Hard and on the River, becoming recognised as a leading visitor attraction, with attendances exceeding 1 million. Lord Montagu believed Beaulieu should participate actively in all organisations that could support the development of tourism, and sustain the heritage for future generations. He was a founder of the Historic Houses Association, then its President, and subsequently led the Association of Independent Museums,The Museums Association, and he became the first Chair of English Heritage.
Lord Montagu in 1909 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost outside Palace House Apart from his Presidency of the Tourism accessible to visitors and giving them the best possible experience, would Society and the Southern Tourist Board, encourage them to value our heritage he worked tirelessly to support the and help maintain it in the future. national Tourist Boards, leading trade Tourism and Beaulieu evolved, hand in missions to the USA and Japan for the hand, in ways that benefit visitors and the British Tourist Authority, and he lobbied host community, and protect the special Government to support the English qualities of the places that they enjoy. Tourist Board, and often spoke on Tourism and Heritage issues in the His enthusiasm for tourism and tireless House of Lords. energy to improve the quality of what we do, is a great example for all tourism His life’s work was to ensure that the professionals to follow. Beaulieu Estate would be conserved and be improved in his lifetime – a challenge Ken Robinson CBE FTS (former that he met. Chair of the Tourism Society and Managing Director, Beaulieu) He realised that making Beaulieu
Events September 2015
18th – Tourism Consultants Network:The Northern Powerhouse and its implications and opportunities for tourism;York
4th – Tourism Consultants Network at World Travel Market: Tourism Consultancy – Purposes, Pitfalls and Priorities: London
29th – Tourism Society Wales: St Fagans Folk Museum – Overall Vision of the Museum and Tourism Offer
4th – World Travel Market seminar: Digital v.Traditional Marketing in Travel and Tourism – Do or Die?; London
10th – Tourism beyond London – why bother? With VisitEngland; London
5th – Media Masterclass, London
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23rd & 24th – TMI Annual Convention, City of London 25th – Employability Fair, in association with University of Greenwich December Date tbc – President’s Debate and reception January 2016 20th – Prospects 2016
The Back Page Chairman’s view with Sandra Matthews-Marsh MBE FTS MTMI
Photo – pab_map – Fotolia.com
There has been plenty of food for thought this summer, whether reflecting on recent successes or considering the future of our industry. The Society was delighted to host the second Tourism Symposium, this year in Kent (read our full report on pages 3234). After months of planning, the Tourism Society team, Visit Kent crew and lead partners Ashford Council, Kent County Council, Ukinbound,VisitBritain, the Arts Council England and VisitEngland plus a host of supporters excelled themselves in providing our guests with a wonderful opening day of study tours and a taste of the Garden of England at Eastwell Manor in Ashford, followed by a thoughtprovoking day of talks and debate with some key thought leaders at the University of Kent at Canterbury. Attendance exceeded our expectations, we achieved the collaboration ambitions with other organisations and the feedback on both the quality of the event and the setting has been extremely positive. But perhaps the biggest highlight for me was that Kent MP Tracey Crouch chose the event to make her first public appearance as Tourism Minister, taking the time to address guests at the opening reception and giving a ringing endorsement of the value of tourism to the UK.
Digital technology will help destinations
Photo – Manu Palomeque
All-important infrastructure will keep tourism moving
Gerry Clarkson (Ashford Borough Council), Tracey Crouch MP and Sandra Matthews-Marsh – Tourism Symposium 2015. But I also wonder if this attention to Fresh from general election victory, the infrastructure will include one of the most minister was obviously feeling passionate important areas of all – digital tourism. about her new portfolio, but there was also an underlying buzz that perhaps Recent work with the excellent Digital tourism’s true value was (finally) being fully Tourism Think Tank has left me and my recognised by the powers that be. team with a host of exciting, cutting edge and cost effective ideas for boosting Cut to six weeks later, and the Prime tourism and creating more digital Minister announcing his ‘five-point plan’ to destinations. boost tourism across the UK in which he pledged that the Government will focus Yet feedback shows that some on spreading the benefits of our multidestinations are still lacking, through no billion pound industry beyond London’s fault of their own, the resources or the borders and into the regions. technology to reach today’s digital traveller. Those of us working in the industry have spent many years calling for both a wider It is vital that we push this to the forefront recognition of our contribution to the UK of discussions; without the resource to economy and a deeper understanding of help destinations, attractions and how multiple Government departments businesses engage in SMART tourism, we impact leisure, business and educational cannot achieve the level of co-ordination tourism. and collaboration with the consumers that the Government desires. It was interesting to note the emphasis placed on putting the right infrastructure We all stand to gain from this in place, particularly transport, which was announcement, and it shows that our hard a hot topic at the Symposium, so I am work is paying off. It is vital that we hearted that this has been picked up support this new plan and maintain nationally. momentum, and use it to increase and The £1 million ‘Rail for Tourism innovation’ improve our engagement with the Government. competition to help transform the travel experience for visitors, makes so much The Society, with its highly skilled and sense. expert membership, looks forward to working with the Secretary of State and Many destinations already work closely his team, and I know that the UK’s with their local transport operators to Destination Management Organisations share key messages, but the drive to and Tourism Consultants are standing further incentivise rail travel to passengers ready to support this plan. offers excellent partnership opportunities.