African Responsible Tourism Award winners are ‘reinventing’ travel to continent

Looking across the winners of the inaugural African Responsible Tourism Awards, one encouraging trend is clear. Several of the winners are not just examples of what you might class as typical 'African' tourism done well. Instead, they are challenging such preconceptions and stereotypes, and reinventing traditional tourism models along the way. Take Chobe Game Lodge in Botswana, which has won the Best for Resource Management Award. Not only does it have the 'most advanced biogas plant in any … [Read more...]

Is a good Tripadvisor profile now more important than a good hotel website?

I have just stayed at a wonderful homestay on the Malaysian island of Langkawi. My traditional wooden rice cottage had been saved from demolition, transported here and rebuilt. The food was amazing homecooking using produce from the surrounding paddies and farms. It deserved its Tripadvisor ranking as the second best place to stay on the island. But its website was almost non existent. Three photos, all of beach nowhere near the lodge, and no relevant copy. It was clear our hosts had no idea … [Read more...]

What do you get if you cross sustainable tourism with a sense of humour?

Not a lot. At least not from the many mirthless hours I have recently spent wading through websites and marketing campaigns trying to find examples using humour to talk about responsibly run tourism. Plenty about saving the planet. Not much that suggests people enjoy doing it. Anyone who has ever tried to talk about the importance of sustainable tourism will know how hard it is to keep the crowd interested. For most of the world, sustainability might be necessary, but it's dull. It's why … [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...]

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...]

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...]