Tourism Industry – Sectors and Career Development
The Essential Elements of a Tourist Destination
There are five major attractions that draw people to a specific destination. These attractions are:
This unit will explain these attractions individually and explain how to market to these attractions effectively.
Every area has its own unique natural characteristics that distinguishes it from other areas and make it a desirable tourist destination.
Weather is one of the most defining natural characteristics of a region. For many tourists, it is the main reason they chose to holiday in a certain area. Tourist resorts should try and utilise the local climate to their advantage in order to attract tourists.
Tourists often desire a resort with a different climate during their holiday. This can be seen in Europe where tourists from the Mediterranean region will travel to Alpine ski resorts. Similarly, tourists from the colder regions of Europe will travel to Spain and Italy for sunshine.
The Landforms of an area also attract tourists and often compliment the weather. For example, many people see beaches as the perfect environment in which to enjoy warm weather.
Landforms also provide opportunities for people to engage in recreational activities. Tourist resorts should try and maximise the recreational appeal of local landforms throughout the year. For example, in the US state of Colorado, mountains are used for skiing in the winter months and for hiking, swimming and river sports in the summer.
It should be noted that tourists can also have a damaging effect on the environment. Measures should be taken within tourist areas to ensure that visitors cause the least amount of pollution possible.
Visiting Friends and Relatives
Another reason people visit a specific place is because they have friends and/or relatives there. When people move away from an area they often return there to renew ties.
In the USA, one out of five people move home each year. Unsurprisingly, the number one reason for travel in the USA is to visit friends and relatives. People visiting loved ones has a positive effect on the local tourist industry.
Some of these visitors will stay with friends or relatives. However, some will prefer to stay in tourist accommodation. These visitors are also likely to visit recreational facilities in an area.
Another reason people travel is to discover and/or reconnect with their ethnic roots. For example, Irish-Americans may take a vacation in Ireland.
First-generation emigrants generally stay with relatives whereas later generations are more likely to stay in hotels. For the former, there is a desire to see things the way they remembered them. Later generations expect more of the creature comforts to which they have grown accustomed.
Tourists are often attracted to a place because of the entertainment provided. There are two types of entertainment that can be offered or tourists; permanent or temporary.
Permanent entertainment is entertainment that is available in one place for an indefinite period of time. For example, Cirque du Soleil has staged circus shows in Las Vegas since 1990, each of which is attended by an average of 9,000 people. Permanent entertainment can give an area a reputation as a premier destination for a specific type of entertainment.
Temporary entertainment is entertainment that is available in one place for a limited period of time. Sporting events or music concerts are an example of temporary events. Popular temporary events attract large numbers of visitors to an area and have a positive effect on local tourist-focused businesses. During the 2000 Olympic Games, hotel occupancy in Sydney averaged at 93.3%.
Another major draw for people travelling is to experience the cultural traditions of other countries. These traditions include the religious practices, social activities and the day to day habits of a people.
A major example of people travelling to experience traditional culture is the city of Kyoto in Japan. Kyoto receives over 30 million tourists annually. Unlike other almost every other city in the developed world, Kyoto is very traditional. Many of the buildings in Kyoto were built during the feudal period and the city has many shrines, temples and traditional Japanese Inns (ryokan). Furthermore, Kyoto contains many traditional Japanese restaurants and tea houses. In Kyoto, tourists can eat classical Japanese cuisine, view a Japanese tea ceremony and witness Zen Buddhist monks in meditation.
Effectively Marketing Attractions
Tourist Destinations should be aware of traveller’s motivations for travelling and market their attractions accordingly. There are two types of tourist destination: primary and secondary.
Primary destinations are the final destinations of tourists. These resorts offer tourists one of the major tourist attractions. Primary destinations should be marketed in a way that makes the unique selling point (USP) the focus of their advertising. For example, Walt Disney World’s advertising highlights the unique entertainment attractions of the destination, such as their fantasy themed amusement parks. It is USPs that make tourists decide to choose one destination over another.
The advertising should also highlight their facilities. However, these are not featured as prominently as USPs in advertising. The reason for this is that other destinations will have comparable facilities such as accommodation and restaurants. It is the USP, rather than the facilities that attract people to a primary destination.
Secondary destinations are locations in which tourists stop on their way to a primary destination. Secondary destinations tend to focus equally on their facilities and attractions in their advertising. These locations are often cities or towns on tourist routes and are promoted by the local tourist board. In secondary destinations, some travellers will simply want to take refreshment and then continue travelling.
Others will also want to visit local attractions such as museums and heritage sites. Advertising for secondary destinations should appeal equally to both types of traveller. With effective marketing, secondary destinations can ensure that tourists provide a continued economic benefit to an area.
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