I have spent the last year actively researching, socialising and promoting the tourism industry around the world- so what are some of the things I have noticed?
It is unbelievably obvious that social media has expanded the way in which we research travel and destinations, but the impact on the ideologies that revolve around choosing a destination is the most evident.
More than ever, third world countries are gaining interest and people are thinking outside of the box when it comes to travelling. Places like Morocco, India and the Philippines are booming and inbound tourism is bigger than ever. Their economies are thriving from this influx of expenditure and the potential for these places to develop into top destinations is colossal. New hotels, all-inclusive resorts and theme parks are popping up everywhere and the local residents have new employment opportunities, leading to sustainable economic growth. This can, however, be damaging to the local cultures. We have seen, in places such as Bali, the impact tourism can cause on culture and increasing crime. These issues are also spreading across the globe with the surge and we may be losing some treasured cultural norms.
Visual content is vital. People are more inclined to make decisions based on what visual imagery and videos they are provided online, through print marketing campaigns and on T.V. This is helping many smaller tourism boards, such as Tulum, Mexico, share their secret beauties and again, helping their economy. People are sharing images more than ever and the impact of channels like Instagram are becoming irreplaceable.
Group tours are more popular than ever. With the help of social media, gorilla marketing and blogs- tour companies such as Contiki and Intrepid are thriving. People are able to share their experiences and instead of relying on word-of-mouth. These agencies can actively spread their products to new markets online and create a distinct brand image using visual storytelling.
The sudden increase in boutique accommodation and room sharing has gone crazy in 2015. Air BnB, FlipKey and Coach surfing has dominated the accommodation market. People are thinking outside the box and through new media, are seeing the weird and wonderful places you can now rent- oh and it is much cheaper than most hotel chains!
Solo travel is increasing- especially for females. As women, we have been empowered to have the confidence to go out on our own. The impact of travel bloggers here has, in my personal experience and many of my close friends, been a driver for this change. Reading up on the adventures of an inspirational traveller is motivating our generation to get out and try new things, things that our parents would never have dreamed of.
So what would I say are the top destinations that I have seen promoted over 2015?
– Tulum, Mexico
– Siam Reap, Cambodia
– Marrakech, Morocco
– Boracay, Philippines
– Buzios, Brazil
– Coral Bay and North Western Australia
So my Roamers, I want to hear your opinion- what do you think? How have you seen the industry change this year?