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Credit: GLP Films

We’ve all seen it, a destination experiences a tragedy – natural disasters, war, economic problems… Then, global media outlets start to spread the word, bookings decrease and tourism drops dramatically. Negative and/or inaccurate press about the state of tourism economy in a destination can be a challenging uphill battle. However, marketing can very quickly provide solutions to change global traveler perceptions and help market that a destination is “open for business”.

So, how can you quickly and effectively get the message out to the global travel community that a destination is still “open for business” even if it is still a state of recovery? The key to changing perceptions is a strategic distribution plan driven by story-driven content marketing.

Read the full article on marketing resiliency here.

By Laura Knudson & Hilary Lewkowitz for GLP Films.

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Tourism Tidbits: Providing Tourism Cheer

Categories: Community, People and Places, Tourism Resilience
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Tourism and more

Wishing Everyone a Happy Chanukah and a Merry Christmas

December 2016: Tourism this past year has faced many challenges, from a slow economy in Europe to ISIS attacks, from medical issues such as Zika to waves of terrorism in Europe and wars in the Middle East.  For many around the world, despite the fact that this has not been an easy year, the month of December creates a great deal of “light” and “hope’. In the northern Hemisphere the lights of Christmas and Chanukah provide great beauty during the dead of winter. In the southern Hemisphere this is the beginning of the summer holidays and a time for rest and relaxation. December then is a time when most of the world seeks cheer and hope and looks to break the bleakness of everyday life with special events, with celebrations and with a chance to find beauty in life.

Tourism has a major role to play in helping all of us add cheer and a sense of joie de vivre to our lives. Despite the high cost of airline tickets and poor service along the continued weakening of the economy in many western nations, people seek the gift of travel.

Perhaps the greatest gift the travel and tourism industry can give the public is to find new and innovative ways to return at least some of the romance and enchantment to the world of hospitality. That means remembering that our guests are not mere statistical numbers but rather that each traveler represents a world unto him/herself and quality must always override quantity.

To help your locale or attraction put a bit of the romance and enchantment back into your industry, Tourism Tidbits offers the following suggestions.

Emphasize the unique in your community rather than the standardized.   Do not try to be all things to all people.  Be something that is special.  Ask yourself: What makes your community or attraction different and unique from your competitors?  How does your community celebrate its individuality?  If you were a visitor to your community would you remember it a few days after you had left or would it be just one more place on the map?  Emphasize unique shopping and dining experiences. If travel means nothing more than eating at the same restaurants no matter in where you are then it is merely a hassle rather than a memory.   For example, do not just offer an outdoor experience, but individualize that experience, explain what makes your hiking trails special, and your beaches or river experience with ideas from ecology, history or geology. If your community or destination is a creation of the imagination then allow the imagination to run wild and continually create new experiences.

Create enchantment through product development.  Advertise less and give more.  Always exceed expectations and never overstate your case. The best form of marketing is a good product and good service. Provide what your promise at prices that are reasonable.  The public understands that seasonal locations have to earn their year’s wages in a few months. Higher prices may be acceptable but gauging never is. If the other communities are building golf courses, then build something else, think of your community or destination as another country.  People do not want the same food, language and styles that they have back home. Sell not only the experience but also the memory by being different from other destinations.

Take the time to get excited about your community and then share that passion with other.  Ask ten neighbors what places they most like about your community and then make sure that you visit these locales.  You cannot get other people excited about your community if you are not excited about it.  Play tourism in your own community. See what you like and dislike about it and then emphasize the good and fix the bad.

Think of why it is great to be a tourist in your location. Do you offer special types of food that want to make people forget for a few days about counting calories, provide unique experience, or give people a chance to unwind?  Does your locate have unique music or can a visitor have a once in a lifetime experience when visiting?  Can your locale provide the visitor with a chance to leave his or her schedule and turn every hour into a happy hour?  These are the basics that make being a visitor and tourist fun.

Assess the areas of your tourism experience offerings that destroy enchantment and then fix them.  For example are your guests subjected to:

  • lines that are too long
  • a lack of shelter from the weather, sun, wind, cold etc.
  • rude service personnel
  • personnel that neither listen nor care
  • traffic jams and airport hassles
  • a lack of adequate parking
  • no one who is willing to listen or own a complaint?

Remember that tourism is first about people.  Tourism is about fun and you cannot help others to have fun if you dislike your job!  Make your job something special, do something goofy every day and find new ways to break your daily routine.   Remember that you need to be less interested in yourself and more interested in the vacationer’s experience.  An employee who is unique, funny, or makes people go away feeling special is worth thousands of dollars in advertising.  Every tourism manager and hotel GM ought to do every job in his or her industry at least once a year.  Often tourism managers push so hard for the bottom line that they forget the humanity of their employees.  Be with the visitors and see the world through their eyes.

Enchantment starts with caring and appearances.   The rule “people first” is an essential part of tourism, but along with good customer services, comes the way your locale, business and community appear.  In tourism appearances matter!  Develop a group of specialists in such fields as lighting, landscaping, color coordination, exterior and interior decorations, street appearances and city themes, parking lots and internal transportation service.  Utilitarian devices, such as the San Francisco trolley cars, can be vehicles of enchantment if they enhance the environment and add something special to place and help to differentiate it from other locales.

Create lists about what is special about your community and then make sure that the local population is aware of these attributes.  All too often locals believe that there is no reason anyone should come to their community and in fact there is nothing to do.  Run regular newspaper and TV spots that emphasize information such as:

  • What special attractions you community has
  • Special nature trails and outdoors activities
  • What to do when there is inclement weather
  • When festivals and special events occur
  • What are some of the special traditions and customs in your community
  • What are unique shopping opportunities

Remember hospitality starts with people so the more personal interactions that you can create the more positive is the memory that visitors take away from their visit to your locale.

Create a safe and secure atmosphere.  There can be little enchantment if people are afraid.  To create such an atmosphere local security professionals must be part of the planning from the beginning.  Tourism security is more than merely having police or security professionals hanging around a site.  Tourism security requires psychological and sociological analysis, the use of hardware, interesting and unique uniforms and careful planning that integrates the security professional into the enchantment experience. Enchantment oriented communities realize that everyone in the community has a part to play in creating a positive tourism experience and one that creates a unique and special environment not only for the visitor but also for those who live in the community.

By Dr. Peter Tarlow. Read more on Tourism & More, Inc.

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Strengthening the Safety of the Hotel and Hospitality Industry Through First Aid Training

Categories: Tourism Resilience, Tourism Safety & Security Issues, Uncategorized
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We can all agree that at all levels within the hotel and hospitality sector we would rather the time worn cliché of ‘Accidents Will Happen’ was not true. However, real life tells us otherwise.

As a duty of care, Management must ensure that staff are looked after and that, in turn, a percentage of whom are trained in essential first aid and health and safety care. An accident or injury could potentially ruin a guest’s vacation. However, a swift and decisive response can mollify what could be a distressing and painful situation for the guest concerned.

When a disruptive event or disaster occurs in the vicinity of a hotel, resort or popular tourist destination employees may find themselves in the role of first responders before professional or specialized assistance can arrive at the scene. Therefore, ensuring that those working within the hotel and hospitality industry are equipped with the skills to administer basic first aid assistance is an important consideration for creating a more secure and safer tourism sector.

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Yohann Maillard, CEO of Bangkok First Aid comments: “People who have an accident or for example a cardiac arrest, naturally are in distress. Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) often is fatal. Irreparable damage or death can occur in 4-6 minutes of SCA. In Thailand, paramedics take an average of 8-10 minutes to arrive. However, staff who are trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), automated external defibrillator (AED) and first aid skills can make the difference between life and death. CPR does keep the blood flowing to the core organs with some oxygen, allowing time for defibrillation and advanced care by Emergency Medical Services. Immediate CPR & AED can triple a patient’s chance of survival.”hospitality bkkfirstaid02

Building confidence to save lives is Bangkok First Aid’s mission. By providing enjoyable and accredited courses people become empowered and skilled in potentially saving someone’s life. Bangkok First Aid has delivered a number of specialized training courses and sessions to organizations engaged in the hospitality and tourism sector. Please see more information about the work of Bangkok First Aid by visiting the link: www.bangkokfirstaid.com.

 

Text and photos from Bangkok First Aid.

 

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Mauritius Emergency Preparedness Conference Highlights the Need to Strengthen the Resilience of the Tourism Sector

Categories: Tourism Resilience
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Mauritius Emergency mauritius01

Produced by the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC)

The iPrepare Business facility of ADPC participated in the inaugural Emergency Planning Forum in Port Louis, Mauritius on 31 August 2016. The Emergency Preparedness conference, organized by Celero logistics group was a valuable exercise in facilitating dialogue between partners from government, media, regional organizations as well as a variety of private sector representatives  from the Mauritian media, tourism and telecommunication sectors, as well as key regional organizations such as the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Secretary General represented by Ambassador H.E. K V Bhagirath, provided key perspectives and inputs into the day’s proceedings.

As well as informing the participants on ADPC’s work to integrate business, community and government for building more resilient societies, the iPrepare Business facility delivered an interactive activity session on ‘Preparing for Business Continuity Planning (BCP)’.

The session focused on four key sectors in the Mauritian context: PR & Media; Business & Technology; Supply Chain & Export and Tourism based on the innovation approach of the iPrepare Business facility under ADPC.

The exercise encouraged stakeholders from these different sectors to consider the value of BCP and take steps towards being better prepared for events which hold the potential to disrupt their operations, including natural disasters.
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Furthermore, Mr. Sen Ramsamy, Managing Director of the Mauritius based firm Tourism Business Intelligence delivered a presentation on the need for a more resilient and sustainable tourism sector which is more actively engaged in Emergency Preparedness efforts alongside other key stakeholders such as government.  Mr. Ramsamy’s presentation is available here:

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The key outcome of the Emergency Preparedness Conference was to identify ways forward for increasing private sector engagement for resilience strengthening efforts in the country as well as contributing to efforts for strengthening general disaster management arrangements by clarifying key gaps, challenges and potential areas across a number of key sectors including the tourism and hospitality sector.

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