More than 50 tourism ministers and deputy ministers from around the globe met to debate the challenges of branding their destinations at World Travel Market London, the leading global event for the travel industry, last week.
Aside from ministers, the event also heard from social media platform Facebook and other formidable internet websites such as Expedia. Destination branding has evolved from traditional approaches thanks to the ability to reach out directly to consumers on social media.
According to Dr. Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General of the UN World Tourism Organization, there will be 1.18 billion tourists in this year alone. At an incredible rate of four million tourists per day and with more than two billion smartphones on the planet, the potential of how tourism boards can target consumers directly is immense.
“Today, consumers have access to more information, more choices, and more opportunities to voice their opinions and can be the whistle-blowers for unethical practices or the biggest ambassadors for destinations and service providers,” explains Rifai.
Empowered with information, today’s savvy traveler demands more engaging branding and requiring destinations and companies to adapt their structures into more responsive models.
“It’s not enough to say you are good, you have to be good.”