Everyone working in responsible tourism can learn something from watching golf

Two very different events took place in Scotland last weekend with lessons for anyone working to develop responsible tourism. One was a gathering of activists and environmentalists for the New Story Summit at the Findhorn Foundation. The other was the biennial golf competition between USA and Europe known as the Ryder Cup. The purpose behind the Findhorn Summit is summed up on the event's homepage: 'If we do not create a positive, realistic picture of the future, we will not live into … [Read more...]

How to create great holiday experiences by engaging with sustainability (recipe includes fish)

I have just witnessed a masterclass in how to engage a group of holidaymakers in issues confronting a tourism business trying to operate sustainably. However, no one there came for a lecture in responsibility, or even felt that was what they were getting. What they came for, and spent over one hour in rapt attention at, was a masterclass in how to fillet fish. I am on the island of Tresco, situated 28 miles of the south west coast of England. This weekend has seen the annual Tresco and Bryher … [Read more...]

Innovator Spotlight: how to discover an authentic slice of rural Italy with Terra Tua

Terra Tua runs walking, bicycle and horse-riding tours in the Italian countryside, taking its guests off the beaten track to discover a slice of authentic village life. Jeremy Smith spoke to the company's manager and chief guide, Elena Riccioni about the challenges and rewards of running a responsible tourism business. What inspired you to create your business? It all began from the beauty and historical interest of our area and the realisation that visitors wanted to delve more deeply into … [Read more...]

How to make a difference in campaigns by using social media marketing for tourism

I spend a lot of my time studying how to use the ever growing number of tools available to communicate mine and my tourism clients' messages. Over the course of the next 700 or so words I will share some of the most important lessons I have learnt. And at the end of the blog there's a twist, and a quick experiment to explore how our industry might do more. Four days ago I shared what has already become my most popular Facebook post. One of my clients - a hotel in Dominica - had filmed their … [Read more...]

20 beautiful words that I have discovered, which remind me why I love travel

I read a beautiful article by the environmentalist George Monbiot last week, in which the longtime critic of environmental injustice admitted he might have been using the wrong tactics in his writing for the last 30 years. According to Monbiot, more and more studies show people don't respond as well to being warned of what is wrong, as to being reminded of 'the love and wonder and enchantment nature inspires'. He refers to a wonderful project called Landreader, in which photographer Dominick … [Read more...]

The art of destination marketing: inspirational storytelling to sell responsible tourism

Good destination marketing is hard. So much has to be left out when you distill the essence of a place and its people into a pithy phrase, that there is a tendency to play it safe. No wonder the majority of tourism destination slogans favour superlatives that do little other than boast about their country being the most beautiful place in the world. With its new ‘Reconsider South Africa’ video, South Africa tourism takes a different approach, shifting the focus from 'aren't I beautiful?' to … [Read more...]

Why you need to stop selling tourism products (and start telling better travel stories)

riding by cart through romania

A post this week on Hotel and Resort Insider declared that two of the three travel trends for 2014 were 'The Green Revolution' and 'Travellers Today Aspire for a Meaningful Holiday'. (The third trend I will talk about in the final paragraph). How then, can businesses  marketing responsible tourism respond? First, they need to understand why these trends are happening. At its worst tourism is homogenous and destructive. It is disconnected from the places and communities around it. It lays … [Read more...]

The art of good responsible tourism communication: Are we talking to the right people?

It's not surprising that if one of our blogs is about marketing or communicating responsible tourism, it gets more hits. Or that at WTM last year more people were trying to cram into a room to hear a talk on marketing responsible tourism than were to discuss issues around tourism and child protection. People want to know how to make their businesses successful, and how to communicate what they do to get more guests. Last weekend, however, I stayed in a bed and breakfast in the British seaside … [Read more...]

The secret of good tourism communications (or why I hate towel reuse schemes)

This time of year is very much awards season - the Golden Globes, the Baftas, the Oscars. And as of last year, the first award scheme in the hospitality industry to recognise which hotels have the most luxurious towels. The Fluffies - as these awards are known - is an award scheme with a hidden agenda. What it really is is a clever piece of marketing tourism communications by a cleaning product company, who organised the awards, decided which hotels won, sent out the press releases, and then … [Read more...]

Why i have a huge problem with bucket lists and their impact on tourism

Another yearly ritual comes to pass. The first weekend in January, and every newspaper's weekend travel supplement is a twist on 'The cool places to visit 2014 travel list'. This year there's a lean towards World Cup themes, and WW1 gets regular mentions. These lists are as easy to gorge on as Christmas candy, and after a while, about as nourishing. As is the case with any travel list, I inevitably find myself challenging some of their selections. So that while my own experiences meant I was … [Read more...]