One seventh (1/7) of the Planet Travels Internationally
One billion people will travel to global destinations in 2012, according to the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) barometer. Southeast Asia, Japan, and mainland China, especially, drive tourism growth in the Asia-Pacific region which now accounts for 22.1% of the international tourist traffic worldwide.
Globally, international tourist arrivals surpassed 131 million in January and February 2012, a 7 million increase from the same period of 2011. According to UNWTO forecasts, tourist traffic will increase 3 to 4% in 2012, reaching one billion for the first time.
Many DMOs in developing nations are struggling with tactical tourism planning and execution, market research, low-quality signage and interpretation (i.e., “Chinglish”), and failure to leverage social media and the Internet (See “The Seven Deadline Sins…”). ITSA scholars are determined to find solutions.
The Seven Deadly 'Sins' of Destinations Management and Marketing
Are tourists satisfied with their international travel experiences?
Not always. Tourists often miss unique travel opportunities because local destination management organizations (DMOs) spend too little time developing and marketing their local assets. They settle for “fractured” English and poorly translated signage. Although emerging destinations in Asia and Africa offer exotic and enticing travel experiences, urgent attention is needed to meet multiple challenges in travel services, hospitality and destinations management and marketing:
- Too many DMOs ignore market research. Many provincial and regional DMOs gather basic statistics on numbers of visitors and expenditures only. However, they lack more sophisticated measures to understand the dynamics of tourist inflows. The industry requires better data collection, in-depth interviews with international tourist clients, along with recommendations for marketing based on this research.
- DMOs are not engaged in sufficient tactical planning to establish tourism and hospitality goals and standards year by year
- DMOs require rigorous upgrades in their marketing communications standards. From poorly designed Internet DMO sites to printed and on-line materials riddled with language errors and “Chinglish,” DMOs in many sites are missing opportunities to attract discerning international customers.
- Social media tools are rarely, if ever, used to advantage to promote destinations in China and many other developing nations. Even with popular Chinese social media channels like Jen Jen and Sina Weibo, local DMOs are not using social media to promote and brand their tourism and destination services. And many of the leading foreign social media channels (i.e., Facebook, Twitter) are blocked in China, diminishing opportunities for powerful word-of-mouth marketing.
- DMO websites lack professionalism and multilingual search capability. It’s almost impossible to find many Asian DMO websites in the foreign-language versions of the most popular search engine tools, among them Google and Yahoo. More high-quality websites with easily remembered URLs are “must haves” in the future.
- DMO practitioners are spending too much time on junkets and ‘freebees.’ Many DMOs lack a global approach or a desire to learn sophisticated new data mining tools and techniques. Through consulting opportunities and published research, ITSA scholars make new knowledge accessible.
- DMOS are ignoring high-quality signage and interpretation at tourist destinations.
ITSA’s mission is not only to bridge the gaps in tourism research, education, and practice. We are committed to international tourism and hospitality leadership.
By belonging to ITSA, scholars and practitioners can collaborate, share new data and research findings, and learn about consultancy opportunities. Our members are working to make global tourism and hospitality an experience of “seeing through new eyes.”
ITSA’s Leadership Agenda
- Cooperate with all other parties to raise the value perception of tourism research and scholarship
- Encourage and recognize emerging young scholars in tourism
- Facilitate greater and more convenient communications among tourism scholars
- Focus greater international attention on the tourism issues within developing countries
- Generate more cooperation and networking among tourism scholars
- Promote professionalism and ethical practices in tourism research and scholarship
- Provide venues through conferences, forums, and publications for the presentation of the results from tourism studies
- Reduce barriers that exist between tourism scholars in developing and developed nations
- Reduce language and cultural barriers between scholars in different countries