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By Dr. Peter Tarlow from Tourism & More

TOURISM & MORE’S  “TOURISM TIDBITS”

March 2018

With the Northern Hemisphere’s winter soon to become spring, on some level tourism officials can take a sigh of relief that there were no major pandemics. This season was however in many parts of the world an extremely difficult flu season that resulted in a great deal of discomfort, days missed at work, and even in some extreme cases deaths.

Tourism is especially vulnerable to contagious illnesses. People are in close contact, often both tourism employees and travelers are subjected to filtered, rather than fresh air. Additionally we are all subject to issues of jet lag, disrupted sleep patters and irregular eating. In some of the less well paid tourism jobs employees fear losing a day’s pay if they stay home when ill, come to work sick, and then infect others.

If travel were not hard enough on a person’s body, there are still other problems that must be taken into consideration. For example, hygiene standards are not the same around the world. The traveler often has no way of knowing the level of cleanliness in a restaurant, if waiters and waitresses wash their hands enough and with soap and hot water. People staying at hotels have no way of knowing the quality of the mattress upon which they are sleeping or the condition of the air ducts that bring air conditioning into their room.

Additionally a sick chambermaid may infect a visitor’s room while cleaning it or become ill from a person who is staying in the room and has infected that room by sneezing or coughing. Examples of some of these health and wellness challenges can be seen in problems experienced within the cruise industry due to the Nordau virus, or in tourism buildings due to legionary’s disease,

Tourism promotes travel and schedules are built around the assumption of wellness. A traveler cannot change an airline reservation due to a cold or feeling sick, a person’s hotel reservation may force that person to check out rather than rest, and often it is not easy to find a place to eat at odd hours of the day. Finally, in many parts of the world, it may not easy to find an international doctor, the local health agency may not accept foreign health insurance, and language problems may make it difficult for the ill person to describe his or her problem to the local health professional. These same problems do not only apply to leisure and business travelers, but also to first responders, international aid workers, and government agents. Often these people are so involved in their labors of love that they forget that they too are fragile human beings who are also subject to illnesses. In order to help you think about caring for your visitors and at the same time caring for yourself, Tourism Tidbits presents to you the following ideas.

  • Develop a tourism health task force. Keeping visitors and tourism employees healthy is different from keeping local populations healthy. Visitors have less information and often more stress than the local population. The task force should consider everything from medical availability to problems of foreign health insurance. It should also look at local sanitation and hygiene issues, and how visitors can access pharmacies without having a local physician.
  • Work with the local media. The can be great allies or become a major problem. There is always a need to have the media aid in spreading information, but this must be done in a way that neither panics the public nor become a problem in and of itself. The example of the SARS reporting a few years ago is a perfect example of what not to do. In that case, misreporting about an illness caused a great deal of economic damage and made the problem worse rather than better.
  • Involve government agencies in your overall health plan. Many tourism related illnesses are interrelated to issues of clean air and water. Be mindful of where garbage is stored and even first world tourism locations often suffer from rodent infestations. These of course are also essential issues for the local population but the visitor is more prone to local diseases due to water and air pollution. Visitors often do not know if they can drink local water, how long water has been boiled before being served or if ice cubes have been made from purified water. It is the responsibility of the tourist industry to inform visitors of these precautions rather than assuming that a tired traveler will know to ask.
  • Have a plan in place regarding the way that you will deal with travel related mental heath problems. Travel produces stress and stress may result in additional mental illnesses that may range from personal behavior issues to psychotic behavior. Often people believe that being in a new location will solve an anxiety or stress problem. The results are usually to the contrary. This means that tourism professionals need to know whom to call when faced with a person suffering from some form of mental health challenge. Often these problems are made worse by the fact that the person has no support system in place and that the visitor may not be able to communicate in the local language.
  • Take care of yourself. The airline industry reminds us to put on our oxygen mask before helping others. Their advice is both sound and sage. The tourist professional cannot take care of others if s/he is sick. This means that tourism professionals need to take flue shots, eat correctly, assure that they have enough rest, and see a medical expert for regular check-ups. The better the tourism professional feels the better that person can handle the stress that comes with caring for others.
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By Dr. Peter Tarlow from Tourism & More

 

Credit: Tourism & More Inc.

 

TOURISM & MORE’S

 

“TOURISM TIDBITS”

June 2017

Some of the Best Practices in Tourism Security, Risk Management and Crisis Recovery, Part 1

 

This June we shall be holding the 23rd Annual Las Vegas International Tourism Safety and Security conference and in honor of our conference, this month’s Tourism Tidbits focuses on issuesT of security and safety. 

Although the public, media, and politicians expect continuous 100% safety and security, reality is that total security does not exist.  What is true of the non-tourism and travel world is even more so in the world of travel and tourism. Not only are tourism and traveling security problems often more challenging, but the traveling public can also easily be frightened, and in the case of leisure travel decide simply not to visit a specific locale.  Furthermore, many tourism professionals are frighten by the topic and provide more lip service to the subject than real substance.

To help you think through some of the issues and finds methods to confront these ever changing challenges, Tourism Tidbits presents you with the following ideas for your consideration: 

-Never forget that all travel security and safety begins with a sense of hospitality and caring.  Customer service is the foundation of any security program. Employees need to remember that they should not treat others in a way that they would not want others to treat them.  Customers are not the enemy; they are the industry’s raison d’être.  From the moment a traveler leaves his/her home until the moment that s/he returns the industry needs to project an image of we care, of creating an environment in which customers know that they are not prisoners or cattle but respected guests.

-Understand that in most cases (drugs being a major exception) acts of crime and acts of terrorism are different.  It is rare that poverty is a root cause of either crime or terrorism, and the two social illnesses have a very different interaction with tourism.  Crime has a parasitic relationship with tourism that is to say if there is no tourism then there is no tourism crime.  Although, terrorists may use crime as a means to fund their projects, their ultimate goal is the destruction of tourism and the economic prosperity that it produces around the world.

 
-The most effective security is proactive rather than reactive. This means find ways to layer your security and be aware of where the security weaknesses may be.  Know your property layout and remember that there are no 100% safe places in any building Use combinations of a physical security presence plus technology, such as surveillance, makes sure all your bases are covered. 


-Know local laws!  Hoteliers must know their responsibilities for security within local laws and regulations. Knowing whether issues would result in criminal or civil liabilities can influence security protocols.  Be aware of terror trends: Not every attack is the same.  Over the past several years, many terror events have “evolved to be locally inspired or involve locally trained citizens”.  The newest “trends” in attacks against hotels are small-scale, high-body-count attacks that draw global media attention. Nevertheless, do not forget that terrorism is ever changing and what is true this year may be different next year.

-Partner Simple partnerships with local law enforcement are an easy, low-cost way to keep security top of mind. Invite your local police to spend a night in the hotel or have dinner there.  The better the police understand the property’s security and emergency protocols and see the capabilities, the faster they can react in case of an emergency or advise you on simple solutions as to ways to stop and attack before it occurs. Ask your police department to educate hotel staff on what their own capabilities are and what emergencies they can and cannot handle.  Then develop a formal plan with the local police department and be sure that they have a copy of the plan

-Tourism security does not exist in a vacuum.  That means that tourism security is part of the overall local environment.  If a particular city is not safe, then eventually that insecurity will impact the local hotels, attractions and transportation systems.  What that means is that the tourism industry needs not only to ask for protection but also that it needs to work with local community leaders to bring down the overall crime rates.  For example, communicate with local organizations that seek to lower crime rates.  The bottom line is that what takes place outside of the hotel impacts what occurs inside of the hotel. Regular meetings between government officials, tourism officials, and local managers can save time and lives, and it can reduce from what might have been a major incident into a minor one.   In today’s world security not only adds to the bottom line, it can be a major marketing tool.


-Have multiple plans in place prior to an event and not after the event.  In cases of crises, crisis management is essential, but tourism and travel officials need to ask themselves if the crisis might have been lessened in its severity or even avoided if they had had good proactive risk management plans.  Crises come in all sorts of sizes.  A terrorism attack is a crisis on a large scale, but there are a million small inconveniences that government regulators have imposed on tourism that have created a sense of continual mini-crises.  When tourists need to factor terrorism hassles into their travel plans, many people may choose other methods of communication, leaving the industry in a business crisis. The bottom line is that many small personal crises may produce large industry crises.

-In an age of insecurity tourism officials must make sure that their security agents are not only well trained in every aspect of security including the customs and cultural habits of their customers, but also well paid.  For example, some cultures tend to be more trusting than others and different cultures may have distinct patterns for what is acceptable or not for female guests. It is essential that tourism management develop security patterns that meet not only the local environment but also meet the cultural needs of their guests. In a business climate as unstable as the current one, it is essential that security personnel be the best, that they receive regular news updates, and be able to act not only quickly, but in a caring and professional manner with travelers.  It does no good to have people well trained and then leave the field because of low pay.

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A special reminder: The XXIV International Las Vegas Tourism Security and Safety Conference is June 12-14.  To register please visit: www.touristsafety.org

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As of the writing of this article, Europe continues to have multiple terrorism attacks.  Tourism & More sends its prayers to all those who are victims of terrorism

No matter in what area of tourism you may be, the simple fact is that tourism is a customer-oriented business.  Without customer service, not only your marketing will eventually fail, but also the business’ viability will be in question. Good service is to tourism what oxygen is to the body. It is the lifeblood of how the industry works.Providing good customer service is often a challenge. Tourism, Many of the frontline positions tend to receive only entry-level pay. The hours are long and neither the financial nor social-psychological awards are great.   Often customers take out their frustration on these very people, even when the frontline person can do nothing or has no decision-making authority.  Thus, the people who often have the least amount of authority are often the most abused and at times most frustrated.

One of the results of these problems is that often frontline positions have a high rate of tur  The lack of training then results in poorer customer service that produces a downward spiral.

Often employers present customer service skills as a necessary part of the job or something that employees simply have to do.  Additionally, and all too often, frontline personnel in tourism are not treated as professionals and this lack of professionalism is then reflected in their attitude toward our customers.

The French have a saying: “Tout c’est dans la presentation/everything depends on how you market it”.  That statement also holds true for customer service. If we present the training as merely customer service, that often produces a “so what” attitude.  If, on the other hand, we present the same training as “life skill enhancement” then the value of what we teach goes far beyond that of a frontline tourism professional.

Change for-the-job training to life skills and we may succeed in changing the attitude of some of our more problematic employees.   When we present this training as a professionalization process used to empower our frontline personnel to make decisions that impacts the way a guest is treated, we are on the road not only to better customer service but also to happier employees.  To help you implement these attitudinal changes Tourism Tidbits suggests considering some of the following principles:

 

– Remind our frontline personnel that in life just as in tourism the key to winning over difficult people is to exhibit: Empathy, coupled with patience. Most people in life can accept that things do go wrong, but what they cannot accept is an attitude that states: “I could care less.” Hospitality is based on caring.  Work with your personnel to exhibit a healthy questioning attitude.  When we involve ourselves in the other person’s problems, we turn anger into an experience and we become our customer’s host rather than a mere employee.  Be careful not to confuse empathy with sympathy. Good customer service is always empathetic but never sympathetic.  In a like manner remember that visitors are in a new environment and often feel lost. Patience and the ability to state the same fact two or three times is a life skill that goes a long way toward personal success.

– Teach Crises come about when we have a tourism breakdown and we refuse to adapt to a new situation. Things do happen, planes arrive late, hotel rooms may not be ready, food may be served too cold or too hot.  Learning how to adapt to new situations is essential not only in tourism but also in life.  This need for adaptability means that have to allow our frontline people to make rapid decisions.  Chains of command rarely work in life and almost never in tourism.

– Just as in life remind your front line personnel that every customer is different and almost every situation is unique.  Often in life we become jaded and take the position that we have heard it all before.  In tourism, as is the case in most things in life, people want to be taken seriously, want to be heard and want to believe that their case is being handled in a unique and special format.   That means that we must learn to listen attentively and be sure that the other person understands that we are hearing their issue.  Remember that hearing an issue does not mean agreeing with it, but it does mean that we recognize the emotions of the other person.

– Communicate in a clear and calm manner.  Often problems arise when we do not say what we mean.  Avoid pronouns.  Make sure that you use clear and precise language.  Try to stay on topic and do not allow telephone calls to interfere with your problem solving.  It is essential to remind frontline people that most customers want a problem solved quickly and efficiently. They are not seeking friendships but rather solutions. In today’s world of hypersensitivity use words carefully and a joke can easily be perceived as an insult.

– Be Knowledge. One of the worst things that a frontline employee can do is provide false information.  A good rule of life is if you do not have an answer, do not create an answer just so that you can look smart of efficient.  On the other side of the equation, it is essential for management to provide frontline personnel with as much up-to-date and accurate information as possible.

All of us need to have a thicker skin and remember that a job is only a job.  In tourism as in life all of us will need to confront situations outside of our control (remember with the exception of natural complainers, that our guests are speaking to us because they have had a terrible day). This is where empathy comes into play and we remember that we have the power to turn someone’s awful day into a wonderful day.

 

 

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Facing both old and new security challenges

 

The first quarter of 2017 began in ways that were not that different from the end of 2016.  The tourism industry continues to be a target of terrorism and acts of crime.  For example, France has recently faced a series of attacks, some successful and some thankfully stopped.  Terrorism continues to be a problem in much of the Middle East and crime and violence continue to stalk Latin America.   Brazil has had the additional problem of a police strike in one of its northern cities.  Often these actions are highly publicized and this negative publicity in turn encourages those who seek violence. Acts of violence do not only cause death and destruction but are intimately tied to economic undulations.  Because tourism, and much of travel, is dependent not only on economic realities but also on economic perceptions, what occurs in the economy impacts the entire tourism world. It is still too early to note the impact of the ”Trump effect” on the long-term national and international economy.  We may hesitantly predict that European economies (and the euro) will continue to weaken. Europe suffers not only from post-immigration stress, but also from deep demographic problems combined with a lack of resources. The continent is wedged in between an ascending United States and a Russia that is flexing its muscles.  How these economic and political realities will impact European tourism will be fascinating to observe.

 

For this reason tourism officials will need to be much more sophisticated in the way that they view the world.  It is no longer viable for tourism and travel officials to receive their information from only one source. In the US and Europe with the collapse of the classical media, more and more of travel and tourism’s customers receive their news from social and non-traditional media outlets.  Tourism and travel professionals must take into account that political instability is now a major concern in Africa and Latin America, with the Middle East, Europe, and North America open to terrorism attacks and Latin America still suffering from high levels of crime and drug trafficking.  Brazil, along with much of Latin America, is suffering from both issues of crime and issues of health and sanitation.

 

An additional problem, especially in the field of tourism security (or better stated: tourism wellbeing) is the fact that salaries remain low causing both recruitment and personnel retention challenges.  High turnover levels make training difficult and often each time a person leaves, the information is lost.  To make matters even more challenging these are often the person with whom visitors come in contact.  The formula tends to guarantee low job satisfaction and low levels of customer satisfaction.  If tourism is to be a sustainable product then it needs to turn part-time jobs into careers without pricing itself out of the market. If the travel and tourism industry hopes to continue to grow it will need trained personnel, and a willing and enthusiastic workforce at every level from the managerial, to skilled workers to the semi-skilled worker.

 

  • Turning to issues of tourism wellbeing.  We note the following problems:
  • Issues of gang violence
  • Issues of health and the potential spread of contagious diseases leading to pandemics
  • Issues of crime spilling into centers
  • Issues of acts of terrorism
  • Media produced panics or psychological panics.

 

Many of these problems may occur in places that are open to:

 

  • The generation of mass casualties
  • Hold some form of national or international iconic value
  • Are easily accessed by the media
  • And in the case of terrorism, the long-term consequences are not only in the physical harm done to the victims but also in the economic hard that impacts the tourism industry directly and other local industries indirectly.

 

Here are some of the basics of terrorism and tourism about which that travel and tourism officials need to be aware:

 

Not all attacks against tourism need to be violent.  Terrorists do not only need to use deadly force, they can create a tourism crisis by means of cyber attacks, social media or simply creating rumors that create fear within the traveling public.  In today’s media interconnected world news spreads at extremely rapid speeds and can cause fear and cancellations not only at a particular locale but also across the globe.

-Despite the publicity and the media, statistically terrorism still strikes relatively few people and even fewer tourists.  The death of anyone is tragic, but a visitor is more likely to die from a road accident of a safety hazard then from an act of terrorism.  On the other hand, it is rare for the media to spend a great deal of time on road accidents. Tourism centers need to develop good media plans and have them in reserve so that if an incident should occur they are not developing a plan at the last minute.

-When acts of terrorism do occur tourism is often a magnet for terrorists.  Not only does tourism provide many “weak targets: but tourism values are the antithesis of terrorists’ values. Furthermore, the tourism industry is so large and diverse that it provides multiple targets for those seeking to create economic chaos.

-Thus the tourism industry faces a paradox.  Although most tourists are never impacted by acts of terrorism, when it does occur the media publicity is such that the reporting on terrorist attack’s impact is out of proportion to the act itself. Due to high levels of publicity a terrorist attack in any one location raises traveler anxiety levels around the world.  Due to the fact that terrorism is now a worldwide phenomena, an attack in any one location means that visitors are not only increasingly fearful but that these attacks may cause people to cease to travel or to travel less, thus impacting the entire industry.

-Attacks against non-tourist specific locations still act as passive attacks on tourism.  Terrorism is based on fear and the greater the public fears being away from home, the more precarious is the tourism industry’s situation.  Terrorists do not need to target a tourism industry actively to do it damage, a passive attack or a failed, but publicized attack is still a success from the terrorists’ perspective.

-Terrorism is no longer confined to major tourism centers.  The California terrorism incident demonstrates that terrorism can occur in what may have previously been considered unlikely locales.  This means that areas that were considered “safe” need to also develop counter terrorism plans.

 

By Dr. Peter Tarlow. From Tourism & More, Inc.

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Reviewing Some Fundamentals Of The Travel & Tourism Industry

Categories: Tourism Resilience, Tourism Safety & Security Issues
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February 2017: Part 2 of a two part series. Part 1 appeared in January

Last month we looked at some of the fundamentals of a successful tourism business or industry.  Although every local is different, and it is a basic principle to emphasize the unique and different aspects of your business or locale, human beings are basically the same around the world and the best principles of good tourism are the same across both cultures and languages.

Tourism is the telling of a story in which the visitor becomes part of the tale. To travel is to seek the different, to find a way to leave the humdrum of daily life and enter into a world of non-realities. This basic principal means that the tourism industry must allow its visitors to experience the unique and special in a safe and secure environment. Remember we are selling memories and it is our job to help our customers create memories that can be shared.

Do you understand your tourism product in the same way as your customers see it?  For example, you may say that you are a family destination, but if your customers view you from another perspective, it will take a tremendous amount of marketing change the image.  Before launching a new marketing campaign, consider how your destination makes its clientele feel, why people chose your destination over the competition, and what emotional benefits do your visitors receive when they chose your destination.

A smile is universal.  Perhaps the most important technique to learn in tourism is the way to smile.  A sincere smile can compensate for many an error. Travel and tourism is built around principles of high expectations, many of which never get met.  This gap between the image and the reality is not always the fault of the industry. There is little that the industry can do to make a rainstorm depart or to stop an unexpected blizzard.  What we can do, is show people that we care and be creative.  Most people can forgive an act of nature but few customers will forgive a state of callousness or lack of caring.

Tourism is a customer driven experience. In the last few years too many tourism and visitor centers have worked hard at driving their customers from human-based experiences to web page experiences.  The logic behind this move is that it will save large corporations such as airlines a great deal of money on wages.  The risk that these companies will have to consider is that tourists develop relationships with people rather than web sites. As tourist and traveler corporations drive people to web sites, they should be ready to accept the fact that customer loyalty will decrease and that their frontline personnel’s actions become even more important.

We may talk about educating our customers but remember that they are not in school and are not paying anyone to get a grade.  All too often, especially on guided tours, we have the false notion that our customers are our students.  Guides need to speak less and allow visitors to experience more. The average adult, on tour, stops listening after about 5-7 minutes. In a like manner too many police departments and security organizations falsely believe that they can educate the visitor regarding personal safety and security. Assume the visitor will pay no attention and develop security programs based on this simple fact.

Be authentic. Nothing gets unmasked more easily that a lack of authenticity. Do not try to be what you are not but rather be the best that you can be.  Tourism locations that are authentic and natural tend to be the most successful.  To be authentic does not mean only forests or beaches, but a unique presentation of cultural awareness.

Visitors may forget a sunset but rarely forget a good meal.  Emphasize the culinary aspects of your tourism industry. Use whenever local products, presented in both colorful and unique fashions, promote local recipes.  Food can change a good trip into a memorable one.

Seek out and develop new talent. Tourism is hard work and many people find the industry too hard. Be on the lookout for new and creative employees, seek people who are gregarious and extroverted, and people with both patience and a sense of adventure.

Use multiple methodologies to understand trends in tourism. There is a tendency in tourism to use purely qualitative or quantitative analytical methodologies.  Both are important and both can provide additional insights. Problems occur when we become so dependent on one form of analysis that we ignore the other.  Remember people surveyed along with computerized data are not always truthful. Although these methods may be highly valid their reliability factors may be lower than what we believe. Polling errors both in the US and the UK ought to remind us of the principle of “garbage in/garbage out”.

When in doubt, the right thing to do is the best thing to do. Don’t cut corners because times are hard. This is the time to build a reputation for integrity by doing the right thing. Make sure to give customer’s their money’s worth rather than appearing to be selfish and greedy. The hospitality business is about doing for others, and nothing advertises a place better than giving that something extra in a period of economic constriction. In a like manner, managers should never cut their underlings salaries before they cut their own. If reduction in forces are necessary, a manager should personally handle the situation, present a good-bye token and never be absent on the day of a lay-off.

When the going gets rough, be calm. People come to us for tranquility and to forget their problems, not to learn about our problems. Our guests should never be burdened with our economic difficulties. Remember they are our guests and not our counselors. Tourism ethics requires that your personal life stay in your home. If you are too agitated to work, then stay home. Once one is at the workplace, however, we have a moral responsibility to concentrate on the needs of our guests and not on our own needs. The best way to be calm in a crisis is to be prepared. For example, in the post-September 11th world, every community needs to have a tourism security plan. In a like manner, your community or attraction needs to train employees on how to handle health risks, travel changes, and personal security issues.

 

By Dr. Peter Tarlow. You can find the original article Tourism & More, Inc.
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Tourism and more

January 2017: Part one of a two-part series

Once again the travel and tourism industry faces both new and on-going challenges.  Travel and tourism cannot be separated from the world context in which they operate.  Be that context political states of war, or one of health issues or of economic undulations, what occurs throughout the world touches every aspect of tourism.  It is for this reason that every once in a while it is good for travel and tourism professionals to take a step back and to review at least some of the basic fundamentals of their industry. We all claim to know these fundamental principles, but all too often in the “madness of life and work” we need to be reminded of the basic principles of tourism, of what we do and why we do it.

To get the New Year off to a great start, Tourism Tidbits provides you both this month and next month with a listing of these principles and how they impact every aspect of our industry.

1. Travel and Tourism professionals need to enjoy what they do and to like their customers.  Travel and tourism is about having fun and if your employees are you do not come to work with a smile on your face then it would be better to seek another job.  Visitors quickly ascertain our moods and professional attitude.  The nice you are the more successful your company or local tourism community is going to be.

2. It cannot be stated too often, that most leisure travel and tourism are choice made by the consumer who is using his or her expendable income and time.  In all but a few cases, and with the exception of business travel and some forms of health travel, the customer does not have to choose to travel.  This simple fact means that tourists often frighten easily and may have unrealistic expectations.  It does the travel expert no good to become either frustrated or annoyed with his or her customer.  Although the customer may technically not always be right, the customer always has the option of not traveling.  In that case, it is the professional or the professional’s business that in the end suffers.  This fundamental principle is so important that around the world places that provide clean efficient and friendly service and products prospered in 2016.  Others, who took their visitors for granted, had disappointing results.  A basic rule of tourism and travel is, if you treated your customer fairly, provided a good product in a safe and clean environment then your industry did just fine.  If on the other hand, prices are not in line with your competition, service is poor and security is weak, the opposite is bound to occur.  Consider then the following fundamentals of tourism:

a. Tourism is security dependent.  In a world where one can experience “virtual” travel, where meetings can be held on a computer, and where the traveler is exposed to twenty-four hour news cycles, our customers no where it is safe and where it is not.  Countries such a France, Turkey and Egypt saw major declines in tourism because they were perceived not to be safe.  It is essential that you create a safe and secure atmosphere. 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 at 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.

b. Strive to provide an enchanting travel and tourism experience.  Tourism is not about education or school but about enchantment and the nurturing of the spirit.  A lack of enchantment means that there are fewer and fewer reasons to want to travel and to participate in the tourism experience.  For example, if every shopping mall looks the same or if the same menu exists in every hotel chain, why not simply stay at home? Why would anyone want to subject him/herself to dangers and hassles of travel, if our industry destroys the journey’s enchantment by rude and arrogant front line personnel?  To help your locale or attraction make money put a bit of the romance and enchantment back into your tourism product

3. Love your customers!  If your employees “hate” tourists then the message they are giving is one that destroys a sense of being special.  Often managers are more interested in their own ego trips then 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 eye.

4. In tourism a perception may not be true but its consequences are always true.  Negative reputations are not easy to erase and negative perceptions can destroy a tourism industry.  If our visitors perceive that they are not wanted, or are seen as easy prey, then they will soon find alternatives.

5. Never forget that there is a lot of competition in the tourism industry.  It behooves tourism industry executives to remember that there are lots of locales that have beaches, sun, serf, good restaurants, mountains and rivers. In today’s interlocked world major cities no longer sell only their local products but provide wide variety of products from around the world.  Basic principle: if you can get it there, you can probably get it here.

6. Our clients have more information than ever before.  The worst thing for a tourism industry is to be caught lying. It takes a long time to rebuild a reputation and in today’s world of social media, one mistake can spread like wildfire.

7. Marketing can aid in product development but it cannot substitute for product(s) development.  A basic rule of tourism is that you cannot market what you do not have.  Remember that the most successful form of marketing is word of mouth.  Spend less money on classical marketing strategies and more money on customer service and product development.

8. Emphasize the unique in your business or community.  Do not try to be all things to all people.  Represent 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?  For example, do not just offer an outdoor experience, but individualize that experience, make your hiking trails special, or develop something special about your beaches or river experience.  If, one the other hand, your community or destination is a creation of the imagination then allow the imagination to run wild and continually create new experiences.

By Dr. Peter Tarlow. You can find the original article Tourism & More, Inc.

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