MANAGING in the

NEW WORLD

Traditional travel agents are getting pushed out of the market due to the surge of digitization in the tourism sector. The agent has been bypassed, instead tour plans are being booked through online platforms. In order to stay relevant, tourism players must reposition themselves by offering only such services that clients want. Each player must try to specialize in something that they feel they can excel at. Adequate research must be carried out before going ahead with ideas. Clients must feel valued and their constantly changing preferences must be catered at by providing personalized services. Social media is a must to get best results out of digital marketing efforts. However, traditional models must not be abandoned altogether. Global agencies’ reach must be leveraged for certain projects.

Thailand is in the midst of converting its tourism operations towards a more sustainable and community based model. This was discussed and plans finalized at a recent forum held in the capital involving the ministry as well as major tourism players. The community based model has seen some success stories already such as the Bang Phlup community which has combined agriculture and tourism thus generating tourism jobs at grassroots level. Some other successful ventures in this regard include the Ban Ko Klang resort in Mueang district and Mae TEETA organic fabrics.

Tourism consulting provided by CLSA states that the Chinese outbound tourism market is set to expand to two hundred million plus by the year 2020. However, the growth rates have stalled. Hong Kong and Macau, the traditional top markets have declined in popularity, instead the likes of Australia, Japan, Thailand, USA and Korea are witnessing increase in tourist arrivals from the Chinese mainland. While shopping used to be the number one reason for international travels, Chinese people are now travelling more for cultural experiences.

With tourism increasingly becoming an integral component of more people’s lives, budget tours are gaining flavor. A tourism consulting publication has produced a list of places that are ideal for frugal travelers. Surprisingly, Barcelona in Spain tops this list mainly due to the weakening of the Euro against the dollar. Following similar pattern, the country of Greece is now ideal for budget travelers. Iceland is the new niche, however, it offers plenty of opportunities for inexpensive travel as well. Within the US, New Mexico state offers great travel options due to the free outdoor activities centred around Native American, Mexican and American history. Within the territory of Puerto Rico, the west coast offers affordable lodging options in comparison with the more touristy beaches. And of course there is Vietnam, a country tha

A number of events shook the world in 2016 to cast aspersions on travel plans. Even seasoned travelers are wary of travel due to the debt crisis that rocked Greece, the earthquakes in Chile & Nepal and terrorist attacks in Europe & Africa. However, experts claim that now is the best time to travel. One of the major reasons for that is the strengthening of the dollar against other currencies. Thus destinations that were earlier way too expensive, are much more affordable for American tourists now. This trend is particularly strong with regards to Canada. Tourism consulting provided by a respected publication has pointed out certain destinations which will trend in the year 2016. Cuba is now a more open country and ideal for travel. St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean has been identified as the destination where the super rich travel to. The likes of Australia, Croatia and Brazil have also been recognized as favourable destinations. Within the US, Detroit and Pittsburg have been accorded that status. As a matter of ca

International tourist inflows to New Zealand has increased in recent years with Chinese travelers being the top additions. Last year three million people visited the country and the number could soon exceed the local population. This is bringing economic prosperity and travel jobs yet is exerting pressure on local people. This difference is felt most starkly in the South Island where towns’ population is not much in comparison with tourists. Queenstown, Christchurch and Wanaka witness a deluge of Chinese visitors in particular in the month of February. This puts massive environmental and cultural pressure on the local populace.

In spite of terror threats, the tourism industry continued its bullish run. Tourism consulting provided by the UNWTO claims that total international tourists climbed up to 1.18 billion recording a 4.4% rise. France remained the top destination followed by the likes of the USA, China and Spain. Chinese tourists remained the top international travelers thus benefiting regional powers such as Thailand and Japan. The weakening of the Euro in turn benefitted Americans’ travel plans to Europe further aided by decrease in oil prices which led to reduction in travel costs. Terror attacks that hit France, Tunisia, Lebanon, Egypt, Mali and others did put temporary blocks to tourism but it rebounded on some occasions. Russia and Brazil were two countries that witnessed decline reflecting the economic downturn in those nations.

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