This Year, We’re Celebrating World Tourism Day More Than Ever
What is World Tourism Day, and when is World Tourism Day Celebrated? It’s been held every September 27th since the United Nations World Tourism Organization declared it in 1979. This date coincides with the WTO’s Statutes’ proclamation in 1974 and the end of the Northern Hemisphere vacation season and their beginning in the Southern Hemisphere.
The World Tourism Day celebration and commemorative activities aim to educate society about tourism’s impact on a social, cultural, political, and economic level. It’s especially crucial since the industry has just started to grow and gain prominence. Statistics show that the number of international tourism visits increased to 1.3 billion from 25 million in 1950. Our tourism whitepaper highlights this growth and the factors that paint a picture of the industry’s current state and its future.
World Tourism Day is a little bit different in 2020
Every celebration of World Tourism Day has a different theme, and this year is Tourism and Rural Development. The day aims to “...celebrate the unique role that tourism plays in providing opportunities outside of big cities and preserving cultural and natural heritage all around the world.”
Nonetheless, this year’s World Tourism Day comes at a critical time for the tourism industry. It’s quite possibly the most unusual celebration we’ve seen to date.
The tourism industry is one of the sectors bearing the brunt of the impact from the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s still important to spend time rethinking the future to mitigate the impact and for brands to adapt their strategies.
Tourism and Innovation
It’s time to innovate. We have to rethink everything. Brands need the ability to reinvent themselves and adapt to a new context. Everything we knew about our target and the strategies that worked has probably changed. We need to look for new ways forward, create new codes, and make new paths despite the uncertainty.
It’s also time to use the tools we have available to our advantage. If tourism and technology were already a critical formula, they’re even more crucial to optimize resources, internal processes, and offering hyper-personalized messages to every user. It’s more fundamental than ever to find the right messaging that resonates with users and transmits the safety and trust they need.
Our audience wants to listen to us and understand our point-of-view. Kantar’s COVID-19 Barometer found that 80% of Spaniards favor brands continuing to advertise while adapting the messaging and creative assets. However, 75% of them said that brands should adopt useful messaging (83%) or inform them about their efforts in overcoming the pandemic (81%).
We’ve never faced anything like this, but experience tells us that fundamental pillars will always work and help us in these challenging times. We recently wrote an article with tourism marketing tips for challenging times. We offered four key pointers to tackling the current malaise:
1. Listen to your buyer persona to overhaul your campaigns and messaging to personalize your content. It may be your audience changed, and you need to refocus your strategy.
2. Stay loyal to your brand both on the inside and outside. In times of change or uncertainty, we must stay true to the values and goals that brought us here in the first place.
3. Communicate more than ever with transparency to build trust. It’s time to be humans, put users at the forefront, and connect with them.
4. Be empathetic and try to understand users to build a relationship and foster a bond.
If you want to go in-depth, the article has more details and tips from our expert on 360° Marketing for the travel industry, Belén Vidal.
We’re also seeing examples of tourism innovation applied to the current challenge we’re facing. Tourisme Comunitat Valenciana (the Valencia region’s tourism agency) developed a Post-COVID Tourism Marketing Plan. Regional Tourism Secretary Francesc Colomer explained that “having the flexibility to resize our strategy in terms of scenarios, markets, and the product is fundamental for us to create value. With active listening on social and new tech solutions to learn of new trends, market availability, and what people think about our destinations to adjust to the most valuable marketing proposal possible.”
We think his remarks nicely summarize the focus we should give to the current context. We’ve also come to some very compelling conclusions:
- Adapt our strategies to the new context.
- Use data to create value.
- Deploy new technologies to detect trends.
We also shouldn’t forget to stay positive. We’ve wanted to talk to some of our clients and industry figures. Their words don’t lack positivity nor the conviction that this crisis will make them stronger:
"Today’s a day to recall tourism’s important place in our world. Tourism is dreaming, getting closer to another world. It’s culture, social impact, growth...TOURISM IS LIFE!
Let’s not let a pandemic take away our ability to dream. We’re sending all our support to our colleagues doing the impossible to keep our industry alive. We may have already known it, but we’ve confirmed that it’s a team of incredible people willing to keep shining during these challenging times".
Víctor Mayans, Marketing Director, ARTIEM
"There’s nothing permanent except change, and it requires PEOPLE and INNOVATION to guarantee success in our industry".
Manolo Lara, Director of Promotion, Turismo Costa del Sol
"The drastic decline in demand due to the pandemic is a fact. There’s no offer, product, or service problem. We’ll bounce back to be the driving industry in the economy, and we’re striving to ensure that the fewest companies and jobs get left behind".
Ramón Estalella, Secretary General, CEHAT
"2021 will mark the beginning of a new Tourism Era. It’ll be a more innovative, digital, efficient, sustainable, and human model. There’s still time to get ready for it; are you going to get left behind?"
Antonio López de Avila, President and Co-Founder, Tourism Data Driven Solutions (TDDS)
"Now’s the time for empathy. To break molds, and keep working together as a team day after day".
Belén Vidal, Project Manager at WAM with 10 years experience in the Tourism industry
"The biggest lesson Covid-19 has taught us is that we are all in this together. The moments when the strength and resilience of any organization or industry is tested, are those that offer opportunities for reinvention".
Giorgio Ascolese, Founder & CEO of We are Marketing
Innovation, technology, and resilience. These are the keys to tackling the new reality we’re in that will surely bring us plenty of lessons for the future.
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