Uncertainty on how fast source markets will recover and what will travellers want are the concerns that shape reassessments on demand trends for the tourism industry and will assist Barbados in developing strategies to help reimagine tourism and travel in the future.
Travel journalist, Doug Lansky, who is referred to as a ‘Tourism Development Thought Leader’, pointed this out during his presentation on Travel and Tourism.
He was speaking on Day One of the ‘Re-Imagining Tourism in Barbados’ online consultation, being hosted by the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport, in collaboration with the Inter-American Development Bank. The consultation will end tomorrow, Wednesday, March 31.
In his presentation, he sought to answer questions such as: What are the new determinants for travel; What role trends like personalisation, safety, digitisation, singularity, and the rise of travelling with a purpose play; What source markets and segments should be prioritised; What will be the importance of nature-based tourism and long stay visits; How will environmental sustainability and carbon footprint shape travellers’ choices?
Mr. Lansky stressed that COVID-19 had forced a change in business models, especially in tourism, and people are eager to travel again, but how and when they travel and what product offerings are available will help them to determine which tourism destinations they will visit.
Therefore, he suggested devising smart, quality over quantity, innovative and creative new strategies that provide a holistic look at the products and services being offered.
Based on current trends, he noted some of the things that travellers want. “They want fewer museums and more small groups and individual interesting experiences, that will allow them to spend their money doing something that gives them value in a unique and memorable experience at every price point, and a way to book these things online,” Mr. Lansky said.
Speaking on the topic ‘overtourism’, he pointed out that more than ever before the world had come to recognise “that tourism doesn’t work where it solely depends on big crowds” and the way forward involves implementing smart strategies that help to increase the average daily spending of visitors.
The travel journalist highlighted some positive aspects already in place that are beneficial to managing tourism, which include social distancing protocols, e-Commerce, online bookings, and WiFetch and Hopscotch delivery services.
Mr. Lansky commended Barbados for its implementation of its 12-Month Welcome Stamp Programme and encouraged the development of other smart policies, including one that addresses how to treat travellers who have been vaccinated or can show a positive test for antibodies.
He concluded his presentation by stressing that “with enough smart strategies and experiences, there’s no reason Barbados can’t get the same or higher economic impact from the visitor economy with fewer visitors”.