Destination Partnerships- Who’s your buddy?

In a highly competitive tourism marketplace and especially during times when every part of the available tourism funds matters, cooperation in tourism development and marketing at a regional and cross country level is certainly the way forward.

The initiatives that follow, initiated by destinations all around the world, show us that when it comes to tourism product development and targeted marketing, for increased destination awareness, visitors expenditure and local economic development, two -or in some cases more- is better than one!

China & Korea Join Marketing Forces

The China National Tourism Office (CNTO) and Korean Tourism Organization (KTO) launched a joint consumer travel marketing campaign for the U.S. market.

The campaign is built around a website —— featuring vacation packages to both China and Korea. The website is being promoted through an extensive campaign of both banner and search engine advertising. The objective of the joint marketing campaign is to raise awareness of travel to China and Korea, as well as to promote U.S. outbound travel bookings to China and Korea by driving traffic to tour packages featuring both countries. The campaign began in September and will run through December. The new website features a range of itineraries from experienced tour operators.

“By working with our supplier partners to develop these exciting and appealing tour packages, we will be able to provide diverse choices for travel consumers looking to discover the true magic and meaning that make up China and Korea,” said Xinhong Zhang, director of the China National Tourist Office in New York.

“The travel marketplace is ultra-competitive. It is no longer enough to fly to one destination in a region, even to China. We must make it as easy as possible for tourists to come and discover China and Korea, and begin to see what these two countries have to offer for a complete vacation experience.”


New York City’s got Seoul

Seeing potential in attracting more travelers from Asia, New York City’s tourism agency recently announced a partnership with the government of the South Korean capital to spark more cultural and recreational visits between the two metropolises.

As part of the agreement, an advertising campaign will appear in the entertainment and shopping districts of both cities. More than 130 posters in Seoul will promote travel to New York City; 70 posters in the city will encourage New Yorkers to visit Seoul. Digital ads for Seoul also will appear in Times Square. In addition, Korean Air is offering a discount on flights between Seoul and New York City for a limited time.

The two cities have much in common. “Both are global leaders of business, innovation, design and style,” said George Fertitta, chief executive of NYC & Company. “Both are pop culture capitals.”

The partnership is NYC & Company’s first with an Asian country. It previously formed partnerships with London, Madrid, Sao Paulo and Miami. NYC & Company said travel from South Korea to the United States rose 49 percent last year. About 223,000 South Koreans visited New York City in 2010. Among them, about 60 percent visited for leisure and 40 percent to see friends or relatives. More than 650,000 traveled from the U.S. to visit Seoul, a city of almost 10 million.


Holland & France Target U.S. & Canada with Social Media Campaign

The Netherlands Board of Tourism and Conventions (NBTC), the France Tourism Development Agency (Atout France), Air France and KLM launched a new social media promotion, called “What’s Your City-Self?” Are you a fashionista or an avid art lover? A design aficionado or a foodie? Until Oct. 26, the national tourist boards of France and The Netherlands as well as Air France and KLM, aim to help U.S. and Canadian travelers discover the individual character that each of these cities have to offer.

“Travelers from the U.S. and Canada often don’t realize how close Amsterdam and Paris are to each other,” said Conrad van Tiggelen, director, North America for NBTC. “By finding out your unique city-self through our joint Facebook application, we’re hoping travelers will be inspired to visit either destination this fall.”

By answering five questions, travelers can find out if they have more in common with Paris or Amsterdam. Once they have uncovered their city identity, travelers will be given itineraries and detailed information on what attractions to visit on their next trip to either Paris or Amsterdam. By entering the quiz through the NBTC, Atout France, Air France or KLM Facebook pages, contestants are automatically entered for the chance to win one grand prize trip for two and experience two nights in Paris and two nights in Amsterdam, including complimentary air transportation on both Air France and KLM.


Cantata, Joint West Europe Tourism Development

Celtic Authentic Niche Tourism Advancing the Atlantic Area

CANTATA2 is a 2.2. million euro tourism development project funded through the Interreg IVB Atlantic Area Programme and working in Denbighshire in North Wales in the UK; Shannon, on the West Coast of Ireland; Galicia, in North West Spain; Poher, in West Central Brittany, France and Montemor-o-Velho, in Western Portugal.

Originally piloted in County Clare, Ireland, as the Live the Life Scheme, it was recognised that tourism is a key economic driver in Europe but recent research indicated that visitors were becoming increasingly suspicious of mainstream marketing; they suffered from marketing overload and could be disappointed by their tourism experiences.

Mainstream tourism drives the visitors to tourism ‘hot spots’ or ‘honey pots’ whereas CANTATA2 aims to move visitors from the ‘hot spots’ to more peripheral and under developed areas and deliver authentic and genuine visitor experiences, thus promoting and strengthening local distinctiveness.

CANTATA2 is the second phase of this project, following a successful phase one that ran from 2005 to 2008.
In phase one, the project carried out research studies and made connections with the local tourism trade to get to know the local businesses and their problems. It also worked with the trade to help promote the local distinctiveness as well as providing opportunities for SME’s and micro-businesses to network and undertake skills training designed specifically for them. The project started at grass roots level, bringing in the local trade early on to tell CANTATA what they wanted from the project as well as steering the project on an ongoing basis. Its success lay in the ability to fill gaps that other projects and funding streams were not able to fill and in it approach to working in an organic manner, continually developing its actions to meet the needs of the tourism trade.

CANTATA2 will capitalise on the knowledge gleaned from phase one and develop the ideas into tangible results. The business networks will be strengthened and more ownership by the local trade will be visible. Results will also include actual tourism products to attract and retain visitors, such as food trails, e-tourism products and trails, cultural events, marketing campaigns. New, innovative technology and marketing methods will be explored and utilised and skills in such will be passed on to the trade.

People are at the heart of CANTATA. The project is intended to foster a sense of pride within these local communities, pride in the region and in the way of life. This will communicate itself to the visitors in terms of a welcoming attitude and in-depth knowledge of the area, a confidence that what the area has to offer is of interest and value to the visitors.


Africa Regional Brand Development – Three Countries, Three Cities

Africa tourism authorities have undertaken to encourage foreign tourists to use the recently launched Three Countries, Three Cities tourism route which involves Swaziland, Mozambique and Mpumalanga Province in South Africa.

The Triland concept is about creating synergy between the three countries where tourism is concerned. It is aimed at making visitors enjoy tourism experiences unique to each of the three countries in one route over a period of 24 hours or more.

Swaziland, for instance, is renowned for its culture and festivities, Mozambique is known for its beaches and vibrant nightlife, and Mpumalanga for its wildlife in Kruger National Park and also the breathtaking natural landscape. The proximity of these countries to one another was seen as something that would make it possible for tourists to have a wholesome experience in a short space of time. They can travel on their own or use tour operators to follow a set route that involves the three countries.

“The new brand will be targeting… international markets such as the United Kingdom, France, Portugal and Italy, to name but a few. Mpumalanga will lead with its flagship wildlife offerings, Mozambique with its pristine beaches and Swaziland will focus on an authentic cultural experience,” said Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA) spokesperson Kholofelo Nkambule. The new regional brand seeks to position the region as a world class tourism destination, contribute to employment creation and economic growth.

The launch of the Three Countries, Three Cities brand follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding that was signed by the MTPA, National Tourism Institute of Mozambique (Inatur) and Swaziland Tourism Authority (STA) in 2009. “Stronger relations have been forged with our counterparts in Mozambique and Swaziland, which will make transfrontier tourism a reality, presenting some fantastic multi-destination opportunities for local and international tourists alike,” said Nkambule.

MTPA acting chief executive Nthabiseng Motete said the new brand would also develop sustainable and responsible tourism, participate in the conservation and protection of biodiversity and preserve cultural value and national pride. “The three destinations truly complement one another,” said Motete. She said the new brand would lead to increased lengths of stay, which would translate into economic spin-offs for the region.

Inatur chief executive Hermenegildo Neves said the three countries would work together for a common goal, which is to establish a common business framework for tourism in the region. “By working together, we can all achieve a much more desirable destination status, pooling our resources where marketing and product development are concerned”.


Unique Selling Propositions-What’s yours? Tourism marketing recipes with fresh ingredients

Bhutan turns up the happiness for tourism marketing

Bhutan, the country perhaps best known for giving the world the measurement of ‘gross national happiness,’ is preparing to inject some happiness into its tourism marketing in an effort to boost visitors.

The Tourism Council of Bhutan announced recently that it had adapted a new global marketing effort for the Kingdom, centered around the phrase “Bhutan, happiness is a place.”

Designed to differentiate the tiny country from its booming neighbors China and India, the campaign is focused on the thing from which Bhutan made its name, happiness, which the council says “has irrefutably been proven as the core and the true essence of Bhutan.”

Since being coined in the 1970s by the King of Bhutan, the idea of gross national happiness has been used as a cornerstone of Bhutan government policy and has also spread to other countries as a welcome counterweight to GDP, an economic measurement.

Now, Bhutan’s tourist authorities are hoping to cash in on the brand, using their new slogan with the country’s blue national flower to headline a push for the upmarket tourism they are keen to develop.

Tourism to the unique towns and unspoilt jungles of Bhutan is relatively young by most standards, initiated only in 1974, and although it has grown rapidly in recent years, the government is keen to make sure that visitors don’t have a noticeable impact, preferring low-key visits which contribute a lot financially.

Tourist authorities, therefore, will be hoping that their new campaign strikes the perfect balance – Bhutan needs visitors, but it fiercely protects the traditions, culture and wildlife which make it unique, as one of the last bastions of a pre-globalization world.


Korea Tourism Organisation launches tourism campaign based on food and culture

Korea Tourism Organization is launching a global online campaign with the goal of introducing Korean food culture with the help of a Hollywood star and famous YouTube musicians.

At the center of the global online campaign is a Web site,, which targets English, Chinese and Japanese-speaking countries by highlighting different aspects of Korea. The Web site encourages user interaction, including the posting of stories about Korean food and culture. Users are encouraged to repost the Web site’s address on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Ameba and QQ.

“We would like to see the wide-spreading of the Korean culture and food to the American audience through this global campaign,” says Lee Charm, the CEO of the Korea Tourism Organization, in a statement.

The effort includes a Korean cooking contest, “Korean Food, Top Chef Challenge,” hosted by Cathlyn Choi. Choi is the producer of “Cathlyn’s Korean Kitchen,” the only Korean TV Cooking Show in English

Another feature on the website is a three-minute long omnibus mini-drama starring Clara C. and Jennifer Chung, rising stars of YouTube who are proud of their Korean heritage. The video footage is scheduled to be released simultaneously through YouTube and Buzz Korea’s campaign site.


Online advertising is expected to become more popular in the United States during the next 12 months, with a recent report from eMarketer indicating that American companies will spend more than $28 billion on online marketing campaigns.

Dublin launches Culture Trail website and App to promote its cultural collections

Dublin Culture Trail is an interactive, virtual trail that opens up a unique window into the world of culture in some of Dublin’s finest visitor attractions.

Dublin Culture Trail takes you on a journey of discovery and adventure through stunning videos and photographs of Dublin’s museums, galleries, historic buildings and cultural centres and introduces you to the people and artists who make it all happen.

Located in the heart of Dublin city and within a short walking distance of each other, the venues on the Dublin Culture Trail will give you a sense of the city’s distinct history, heritage, tradition and vibrant contemporary cultural life.

The Dublin Culture Trail and the downloadable app is designed to help residents and visitors learn more about the cultural life in the city and plan their own unique cultural trail.

Dublin Culture Trail is an initiative of Temple Bar Cultural Trust in partnership with a consortium of Digital Hub Companies, funded by the Department of Tourism Culture and Sport. All of the content available on has been developed in consultation with, and with the generous support of, the staff and supporters of the venues themselves.

The Dublin Culture Trail App takes you on a journey of discovery and adventure through stunning videos and photographs of Dublin’s museums, galleries, historic buildings and cultural centres and introduces you to the people and artists who make it all happen.


“California Classics”  showcases various California destinations through the lens of classic California movies

Ever wondered where the car chase in Bullitt was filmed? Fancy drinking wine in the vineyards from Sideways?  Want to shop ’til you drop in the exclusive boutiques from Pretty Woman?

CTTC’s U.K. office created a unique campaign, “California Classics,” to showcase various California destinations through the lens of classic California movies. The multi-faceted campaign is composed of tv channels, movies magazine, newspaper coverage and film screenings.

Sky TV – Eight California movies (Vertigo, Terminator 2, Chinatown, Milk, East of Eden, Escape from Alcatraz, Bullitt and Rebel Without a Cause) played at 8 p.m. on Sunday Sky Movies Modern Greats over January and February. The screenings were preceded by an introduction by well-known U.K. TV presenter Alex Zane.

Sky Movies Magazine (5 million circulation) and – CTTC has secured 4.5 pages of advertising and content in Sky Movies Magazine, the world’s largest circulating movie magazine. Additionally, CTTC has a four-week road block of Sky’s Web site for the main campaign period. All advertising inventory will drive consumers to

The Guardian (356,000 circulation) and (31 million unique visitors) – Each Saturday in its “Weekend” magazine, the Guardian published an advertorial based on the film showing the following night on Sky TV. Through, CTTC launched a microsite to house all advertorials.

Film Screenings – CTTC featured four additional classic California films (Top Gun, Point Break, Pretty Woman and Sideways) in high-end movie theaters in six locations across the U.K.

In addition to the campaign elements above, CTTC will also be running several incentives and promotions to further engage the U.K. audience via social media. These will include a Twitter competition in which participants will be asked to review a California film in 140 characters or less, thus earning a chance to be published in the Guardian and win a trip to California; and a UGC competition, where participants will remake a California movie, upload it to, and have a chance to see the film remade in California and shown on the site.




Destination BrandWatch: N.Zealand Brand Evolution & New Marketing Campaigns from S.Africa, Abu Dhabi & Korea

Continuous Brand Evolution from Tourism New Zealand unveiling ‘New Zealand 100% Pure You’

The campaign launched in Australia on 9 January with three television commercials and digital content carrying a ‘New Zealand 100% Pure You’ tagline.

Tourism New Zealand CEO Kevin Bowler said the campaign was an evolution of ‘100% Pure New Zealand’. It was a strategic response to research conducted in 2010 that found that personalising New Zealand’s marketing message and placing a greater emphasis on experiences would help increase visitor numbers.

The move has been well received by many in the industry, including the Tourism Industry Association (TIA), Tourism Holdings Limited and Destination Queenstown.

TIA Chief Executive Tim Cossar said the New Zealand 100% Pure You campaign positioned New Zealand as a modern destination with activities to suit a variety of visitor types. It recognised that New Zealand had more to offer than scenery and adventure activities, he said.

“The 100% Pure campaign has continued to evolve since it was introduced over a decade ago. The industry still feels strongly that the 100% branding remains a big asset and this new activity will take it in a new and interesting direction.

“Nothing stays the same and the last few years have illustrated that clearly to our industry. As a country our campaign activity must remain fresh and relevant while ensuring that the unique attributes and culture of New Zealand are well positioned in international customers’ minds.This new activity well help that happen and extend the reach of the 100% Pure New Zealand campaign.”

“As always, the industry will be looking at how the new activity delivers customers into their businesses. This is always the most important signal of success.”   Source:

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Destination Marketing and the ”FOOD” element: A Market Overview

Gastronomic tourism refers to trips made to destinations where the local food and beverages are the main motivating factors for travel. It is also known as “food tourism”, “tasting tourism” or “culinary tourism”.  According to the International Culinary Tourism Association, culinary tourism is defined as “the pursuit of unique and memorable eating and drinking experiences”.  What this means is there is a particular audience of people who are willing to travel the world in order to sample and experience authentic international cuisines.

The Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation ( GPTMC ) joined with the William Penn Foundation, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission ( DVRPC ) and the local food community today to announce the launch of Philly Homegrown™, a $450,000 consumer education and tourism marketing program. Philly Homegrown™, accompanied by the tagline Real Local Flavor, promotes the people, places and flavors of the area’s 100-mile foodshed—from Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties to Amish Country to the Atlantic Ocean.

Food has an undeniable importance for holiday makers. As such, food tourism has gained an enormous potential in recent years. A high percentage of travellers, consider dining and food as relevant activities during their travels.  However, the role of food in the marketing of destinations has until recently received very little attention globally and locally. All indications, though, are that local food holds much potential to enhance sustainability in tourism; contribute to the authenticity of the destination; strengthen the local economy; and provide for the environmentally friendly infrastructure. Food also holds a key place in the “think globally, act locally” debate. Some buyers are keen to support local businesses, or protect the environment by avoiding foods which have been transported long distances.

California Travel & Tourism Commission and Wine Institute Launched National "Land of Wine and Food" Campaign back in 2008.The heart of the campaign focuses on the Web site

Destination marketing campaigns around the world show that there is a strong connection between tourism and gastronomy. However, there is little empirical evidence, to show for example, whether or not there is a gastronomy-tourism market segment. Or, does destination’s gastronomy contribute to the tourists’ quality of experiences while visiting the destination? And, do tourists return to the destination to resample its cuisine? In any case, gastronomy plays a major role in the way tourists experience the destination, and indicate that some travellers would return to the same destination to savour its unique gastronomy. To this direction more and more Destination Marketing campaigns are now focusing on the food element as a central part of its destination tourism product.

Mexico embraces food tourism to bring visitors via its latest ''Aromas & Flavors'' Marketing Initiative

Facts & Stats

  • Culinary tourism tends to be largely a domestic tourism activity, with consumers travelling to places to eat and drink specific (usually local) produce.
  • A domestic survey of leisure travellers in America found that 17% engaged in culinary related activities.
  • The International Culinary Tourism Association predicts that this will grow rapidly in the coming years. According to USA Today (27 Feb 2007), 27million Americans have made culinary activities part of their travels in the last three years.
  • In the UK, food tourism is estimated to be worth nearly $8 billion each year. International culinary tourism is less significant than its domestic counterpart. Whilst consumers do consider food when deciding where to take a holiday, it is not usually the main consideration.
  • The growth in popularity of ethnic cuisines like Thai, Indian, North African, Mexican and Chinese throughout the industrialised countries is attributable to a significant degree to tourism where visitors sample local foods and develop a taste for them.
  • Food and drink festivals constitute the sole instance where the decision to travel is taken solely on the grounds of the gastronomic experiences offered. These are becoming more prevalent, in particular in Europe. Whilst this segment is growing, at present there are estimated to be no more than one million international culinary tourists travelling each year.
  • Gastronomic consumers tent to be couples that have above-average income, are usually professionals and are aged 30 to 50. This correlates closely to the demographics of the cultural tourist.
  • The International Culinary Tourism Association states that on average, food travellers spend around $1,200 per trip, with over one-third (36% or $425) of their travel budget going towards food-related activities. Those considered to be “deliberate” food travellers (i.e. where culinary activities are the key reason for the trip) tend to spend a significantly higher amount of their overall travel budget (around 50%) on food-related activities.
The "Great Northumberland Picnics'' campaign aimed to find the best locations for eating out and wanted to let people know where they best like to spread their picnic blanket, as well as the best places to go and things to eat in the county.
  • The main source markets tend to be in Europe and North America, in particular:
    • Germany
    • United Kingdom
    • Benelux countries (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg)
    • Italy
    • France
    • Scandinavia
    • United States

In Europe, the main competing destinations are:

  • Spain
  • France
  • Italy

In Asia, they include:

  • Japan
  • India
  • Thailand


The " Have a cracking time in South Devon" campaign will encourage visitors from across the UK to come to South Devon to enjoy one of most delicious yet undervalued great natural local resources, South Devon crab.

According to the Barcelona Field Studies Centre there are 5 major trends driving the food tourism revolution in destination marketing.

Trend 1: Trading up

All across world, growing affluence of the populations has a profound impact on consumer spending. Consumers spend a higher proportion of their income on prepared food, gourmet products, eating out and food items with some form of health or ethical benefits. For discretionary purchases, consumers have traded up where the product is aspiration or traded down when the product is only function.

Trend 2: Demographics and Household Change

An ageing population and changing life styles have driven demand for increased eating out and food tourism opportunities. Groups that provide growing markets for food tourism are summarised in the table below.

Growing markets for food tourism

DINKS: Double Income No Kids.
SINKS: Single Income No Kids.
Both Dinks and Sinks: younger people, between 25 and 35 years of age, no children, affluent.
Empty Nesters: parents whose children have flown the family nest. Between 45 and 55 of age, well educated, high disposable income.
Boomers: members of the baby boom generation in the 1950s.
Divorcees: searching for new partners and subsequently will take prospective partners out for dinner and away for romantic weekends.

Trend 3: Rejection of ‘MacDonaldisation’

Tourists have increasingly rejected the industrial ‘fordist’ model of low cost mass production of food, searching out local, fresh and good quality cuisine that reflects the authenticity of the destination. The end of the ‘MacDonaldisation‘ of food culture has seen Starbucks fail in Australia as the brand is perceived as bland and lacking individuality.

Trend 4: Growth of the Multi-Cultured Consumer

Multiculturalism has become an everyday concept in the daily life of the consumer, driven by immigration, globalisation, the internet, the expansion in specialist and minority TV channels and the relentless growth in international tourism. What were once exotic foods have become foods of first choice and today curry is the United Kingdom’s favourite dish.

Trend 5: The Role of the Celebrity Chef and Media

The emergence of the niche food programmes, TV channels and magazines means the food celebrity and expert has been created. The celebrity chef shapes tourism products in a way that is often referred to as the ‘Delia effect’ after the media chef Delia Smith, whose 1998 television programme ‘How to Cook’ resulted in an extra 1.3 million eggs being sold in Britain each day of the series. The phenomena of Gordon Ramsey with ‘Hells Kitchen’ and the ‘F word’ or Jamie Oliver‘s campaign for good wholesome school dinners all drives our interest in good quality food. source:

The Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) launched its 'I Love Korean Food' campaign in three Australian cities―Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. The "JC Decaux Citylights" campaign will feature Korea's unique cuisine and give Australians the chance to win a trip to Korea for two to experience a taste of royal cuisine. To enter the competition, contestants are urged to submit an entry at naming three dishes on the table featured in the campaign's poster. The contest runs from March 22 through Aug. 31. The winner will be announced on Sept. 3.

Tourism organizations (including national, state and regional tourism boards) as well and  tour operators can benefit from targeted food tourism campaigns.  Fine cuisine and travel go hand and hand and a targeted marketing campaign can help drive that point home to these potential travelers. Gastronomic  tourism is considered a subculture of cultural tourism and certainly food is a major component of any culture. This trend can be used to encourage travelers to visit other states or even foreign countries on a quest for the best  food experience in the world.  As Benjamin Christie nicely points out  “If a person wants the best steak they may travel to Texas, the best barbeque in Louisiana and no visit to New York city  would be complete without sampling a piece of New York style pizza. Overseas, a trip to Singapore wouldn’t be complete without sampling Singapore chilli crab, butter chicken in India, chicken stay in Malaysia, peking duck in China, sushi in Japan, quesadilla in Mexico, Maori cooked hangi in New Zealand and the best pasta would require a trip to Italy, of course. The list is endless when it comes to culinary tourism”.


“Fabulous Food 1Malaysia’ celebrates the unique, diverse and fabulous Malaysian culinary that so aptly conveys the rich cultural tapestry of Malaysia,”