LGBT Market Trends & Destination Marketing

As the global visibility of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community increases, there has a steady increase in interest in this community as a consumer group, a trend which is particularly evident in the travel industry.

A 2012 Global Tourism Report on LGBT Tourism published by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) shows that gay/bi men had taken an average of 3.9 trips in the past 12 months. With lesbian/bi women, that number was 3.3 trips.

As highlighted in an older post (see here), for destination marketing, caution is necessary against making assumptions about the LGBT market, with the international organizations publishing the aforementioned studies stating that the wedding market for this sector is a big driver, and that the LGBT sector appears to have bucked the recession trend, bringing higher-than-average spend to their holiday destinations. Generally savvy in digital media, LGBT travel is also influenced by social media and digital or actual word of mouth.

This year has also seen to major developments for the international LGBT community with the legalization of same sex marriage by several countries worldwide.

In April, New Zealand became the first country in the Asia Pacific to legalise same sex marriage and is now the 13th country to legalise gay marriage, after Uruguay passed its law earlier in the month, followed by France.

This comes in contrast with the latest news coming from Russia just a few days ago where Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law allegedly one of the most draconian anti-gay laws on the planet. The new law comes only seven months before Russia is to host the Winter Olympics in Sochi expecting visitors and visitors from around the world.

Meanwhile, several destinations have just launched dedicated tourism campaigns targeting the LGBT market. Here is a selection of the latest initiatives:

“Make History” in New Zealand

Tourism New Zealand launched a nationwide ‘Make History’ campaign in Australia this June, capitalising on the recent attention New Zealand gained by passing the Marriage Amendment Bill.

The tourism organisation is holding a competition offering the chance to be the first Australian same-sex couple to wed in New Zealand.

Make History

The new campaign has received significant attention from Australian media since the competition launched on Friday 21 June 2013.

The campaign is being conducted in partnership with the Star Observer, a weekly gay and lesbian community newspaper, with the competition winners set to be announced 15 July 2013. Prize includes return flights from Australia, accommodation, a special wedding ceremony and stylish reception.

According to the organization, the significant attention the change of legislation received in Australia has provided a great platform to further promote New Zealand as a wedding and honeymoon destination for anyone and everyone.

New York Loves LGBT

Since New York legalized gay marriage in 2011, there has been a continued push to promote the state as a same-sex wedding destination. With the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision striking down the Defense Of Marriage Act, the state is also highlighting the other big draw: same-sex marriage.

As New Yorkers celebrated pride weekend in the end of June, New York Governor Cuomo announced a new “I Love New York LGBT” tourism website- The new campaign invites LGBT travelers to explore why there is so much to love in New York State.

The site will help the LGBT community plan their New York State vacation by listing popular destinations while it also features a calendar of LGBT events and resources.


The logo for the new campaign features the iconic ‘I Love NY’ logo with a rainbow-colored heart. The content is dedicated to the LGBT market segment while it also highlights the state’s long history with the LGBT community.

Sources: Tourism New Zealand, New York State Tourism, UNWTO, IGLTA.

Check out all the latest Tourism & Travel Trends here.

Fresh Destination BrandWatch: Barbados & Las Vegas

Barbados Tourism Campaign feat. Rihanna

The new tourism campaign by Barbados features Rihanna and it will run entirely through social media.

The recent release follows November’s sneak preview of some of the images from the new Barbados campaign from Rihanna’s social media accounts using the hashtag #Barbados.

The campaign has combined heritage with innovation to differentiate Barbados,” says the Barbados Tourism Authority and “the idea of an ‘Inside Out’ campaign makes it possible for every visitor to experience their own Barbados”

The Barbados tourism website says about the beautiful island, “Driving on its English, African and West Indian roots, Barbados has established its own distinctive identity, evidenced in its customs, traditions and values, and passionately expressed through the rich history, exceptional cuisine and artistic talents of its people.


New Campaign for Las Vegas

Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority has just launched a new ad series starring an actor playing a guy named Las Vegasdotcom, an average Joe who has nothing to do with Sin City but gets pestered for tourist info. Soon, he becomes an expert.

According to the Authority, the idea is to target “persuadables” rather than loyal repeat customers and showcase the revamped website, where visitors now can book rooms and customize a trip in addition to getting tourist info.

The campaign, touting the Las Vegas tourism board’s official (and refreshed) website, is focused around everyman Las Vegasdotcom. He isn’t a resident of the place but gets harangued for Vegas tips by his colleagues and neighbors. Before you know it, he’s giving helpful advice to those who need to know.

There are no showgirls, no big-name acts, no images of funkily designed casinos. It’s just a regular guy telling regular folks about a nice place to check out — and check out, online, of course.

“What happens, stays” isn’t being retired though. It’s just that the city needs to keep offering people “reasons to visit,” according to the   LVCVA.


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Global Travel Trends 2012

During the ITB 2012, IPK International unveiled the preliminary results of the World Travel Monitor® survey which  show a 5% rise in global outbound travel (with overnights) in 2011 to 750 million (following again of 7% in 2010).

The latest surveys conducted for IPK’s World Travel Monitor® indicate that significant changes are brewing in travel and booking behavior worldwide. For example, more off-season travel as well as continuing increases in online bookings can be expected. Unsurprisingly, the use of “social media” and “smartphones” will also be on the rise as sources of information or assisting in making concrete travel plans.

2012 Outlook

Even as the global economy may face recession, IPK anticipates a slight 2% growth in global tourism in 2012 coupled with the rifts in the world of tourism widening even further.

Tourism demand will grow in the emerging markets: by 4% in Asia and 6% in Latin America. The traditional European and North American travel markets will remain in a phase of consolidation with only moderate growth rates: 1% for Europe and even a slight drop (-1%) for North America. The release highlights the fact that distinct shifts are expected in the tourism source markets, especially as those in the southern “Euro crises countries” will not be in a position to travel in the manner to which they’re accustomed.

Main survey  findings include:

Europeans Embracing Cultural Travel

While Europeans took more trips compared to 2010, the World Travel Monitor data for 2011 shows that the total volume did not top the record high reached in 2008. The number of outbound trips rose 3.5% in 2011 to 414 million, following a 2% growth rate for 2010.

In terms of the types of holidays taken last year, the Europeans showed a preference for beach holidays, this segment increasing 5%. At 12%, the number of tours recorded potent growth while city breaks also saw a 9% increase. Countryside holidays, however, fell by 4%.

Large source markets stagnating while Russia booming

As IPK’s numbers show, Europe’s most important source markets experienced various ups and downs in 2011. Great Britain was the only European source market to experience absolutely no growth last year (0%), while the markets of Germany, the Netherlands, France, Italy and Spain increased their total outbound numbers by 1-2%.

Yet the largest growth in Europe last year, a 13% increase in outbound trips, was achieved by Russia. The outbound trips of the Swiss also recorded an impressive increase (+9%).

Positive trend continues in the all-German travel market

The World Travel Monitor confirms that the all-German market (domestic plus outbound trips) continued to develop positively last year. The Germans took 321 million domestic and outbound trips in 2011 (+4%) with overnight stays, at 1.6 billion, being 4% higher. Significant for the tourism sector: the number of holidays also rose 4%; i.e. now 45% of the entire travel market. Meanwhile, business (+6%) and private (+3%) trips also showed positive growth.

Once again, there was no change in the Germans’ top three holiday destinations in 2011: Austria came in first (16% market share), followed by Spain (15%) and Italy (13%). All three were able to hold onto their market shares with single-digit growth rates. Other popular outbound holiday destinations for the Germans last year included Turkey (8%), France (6%), the Netherlands (5%), Greece (4%) and Croatia (3%).

Germans taking more holidays at home as well as abroad

When it comes to their holiday trips, the Germans again showed a preference for staying closer to home, with the number of domestic trips rising 5% last year to 92.9 million. However, German outbound holiday travel was also able to post a robust 4% gain to 52.7 million holidays this time.


Check out the Latest Travel & Tourism Trends here

Destination BrandWatch: What’s your ID?

Destinations are competing in a crowded marketplace where travellers are not particularly loyal to specific destinations and visitation decisions are affected by multiple factors. Developing a distinctive destination brand is crucial in order to clearly position the destination and differentiate themselves from competitors. The brand is not just something you promote, but the heart of what the destination is all about.

This makes it clear that successful destination brands certainly go beyond promotion, expressing and uniting stakeholders, connect with consumers emotionally bringing out the values and manage to consistently meet and exceed expectations offering quality services and experiences on the spot.

York is “Britain’s Home of Chocolate”

York has just recently announced a new marketing campaign to get known as “Britain’s Home of Chocolate” following on the strong history which was apparent in the city and its people were very passionate about.

The ancient city of York is being branded as “Britain’s Home of Chocolate” as part of a major drive to showcase its proud confectionary history which stretches back more than 100 years. Last week the launch of a new Chocolate Trail marked the start of a new marketing campaign which is set to put York on the map as the British capital of chocolate.

Spearheaded by Visit York, the “Indulge Yourself in the Home of Chocolate” will see a series of new chocolate events and festivals launched across the city which will complete the total experience along with special new attractions as well as new tourism products build around the concept.

“The city is claiming its rightful status as Home of Chocolate. Throughout its history, York has been awarded many different titles from the Romans, who chose Eboracum, meaning ‘place of the yew trees’, to the Vikings who named it Jorvik, meaning ‘horse bay’, and now we are claiming the city’s rightful association with chocolate. “For centuries, the confectionery industry has shaped the city and it continues to satisfy the nation’s undiminished appetite for one of our favourite indulgences. Now is the right time to tell York’s chocolate story to the world.” is what chief executive Gillian Cruddas said.

And there is a long story to back that claim up as well as very promising future prospects. York is the birthplace of some of the world’s biggest confectionary dynasties including Terry’s and Rowntrees, which is currently celebrating its 150th anniversary.

The industry continues to flourish in the city and 80,000 tonnes of confectionery are produced in York each year at one of the largest chocolate factories in the world, including the world’s most successful chocolate bar, Kit Kat. A surge in the number of independent chocolatiers opening in the city and a global research centre dedicated to confectionery innovation helps York to stake its claim as the ‘Home of Chocolate”.

A destination’s identity actually captures and includes all the elements of the destination values and experience to then be presented appropriately to its markets. So it is becoming apparent that especially in an era of increasing “service excellence” demand, each experience before, during and after the visit has a vital role to play in defining and delivering the promise that is inherent within the destination brand.

Nashville Claiming the “Home of Music” Title

Across the pond, Nashville has been branded as the “Music City” for a few years now, however the guitar, an iconic symbol of Nashville’s music scene mainly representing country music, is giving its place to the musical notes as the most visual icon for the city in an attempt to include all music genres represented in the city.

With the aim to change the perception of the city from a country music epicentre to a world center of music, musical notes and symbols are emerging in Nashville’s logo as city promoters seek to illustrate the variety of sounds there. The Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Grand Ole Opry and the local musicians union are in tune with the trend.

The city rolled out a “Music City” campaign about seven years ago, and the music note subsequently evolved as a favorite. Now, officials are using the notes in all branding and promotional material, while downtown, colorful blue signs have just been erected in the entertainment district signalling “Musician Loading Area.” The note also is used on some of the bureau’s branding and promotional materials and amenities sold at Nashville’s visitor center and given to visitors. The website also displays an eighth note. Even the Music City Center, Nashville’s new convention center now under construction, has music notes on signs hanging on outside fencing.

The musical element is apparent in the entire presence and content provided by NCVB as well, with updated events sections, available music lists to listen to, musical applications, radio shows information, music venues, restaurants and many more available online which actually support the brand proposition.

According to the Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau “the promise of Nashville, where the music is inspired, created, recorded and performed, is to provide the ultimate musical entertainment experience, celebrated throughout our diverse cultural and entertainment offerings, and presented in an authentic, unique, friendly and unpretentious atmosphere.”

As this Washington post reveals here, the city is clearly considered the home of country music with Nashvillians still calling it the “guitar town” and also being the home of a large guitar manufacturer. The instrument has been associated with Nashville for decades as the city gained exposure across the country and even the world.

So consistent use of the representing logo, icons and messages along with targeted events and products which will showcase the diverse cultural and entertainment offerings are going to help alter the perception initially in the local community and ultimately in the target markets.


Destinations Tell the World They Are Open for Business!

This time of year, especially with the opportunity of large exhibitions such as the WTM in London last week, we see the launch of new marketing campaigns by destinations announcing to the world that they are “Open for Business”. Let’s see what’s new for several destinations around the world.

New Marketing Campaign for Egypt

At the World Travel Market 2011 (WTM) Egypt soft-launched its new touristic campaign “We’re Egypt” addressing to potential tourists the following message: “we are friendly, we are open-minded, we are proud of our country, we are Egypt, see you soon in Egypt”, a warm invitation to come and share the outstanding experiences Egypt has to offer.

In his opening allocution, the Egyptian Minister of Tourism Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour emphasized on the stability and security in Egypt and announced the upcoming efforts of his Ministry aiming to develop and diversify the touristic offer in Egypt for it to include more efficiently eco-tourism, desert safari along with cultural and seaside tourism. The aim of the campaign is to show Egyptians enjoying their own country, give a clear positioning of the experiences in different parts of the destination, and clearly target families, older people, couples, youths and honeymooners.

M. Abdel Nour also pointed out that tourism indicators show the beginning of a recovery in the tourism sector. He moreover welcomed the fact that the decrease in the number of tourists to Egypt during the year 2011 compared to 2010 is only 25% in spite of political turmoil.

Speaking at the opening of travel trade exhibition World Travel Market (WTM), WTM chairman Fiona Jeffery said the speed at which the marketing campaigns have been launched “demonstrates the importance the new democracies in Egypt and Tunisia have put on inbound tourism for their long-term economic future”.

“Tourism can help build up these countries’ new democracies and has the potential to do so across all the Arab Spring countries.”


Thailand’s Offline Marketing Initiative

Thailand is stressing it is still open for tourism with a bus advertising campaign launched in London last week which will run for the next three months.

Two London buses will carry a fully-wrapped design with an iconic beach scene on one side and image of an elephant appearing to spray water over top deck passengers on the other. They will supported by buses with smaller panel ads. A similar campaign will start in Dublin in January.

Speaking at World Travel Market, Tourism Authority of Thailand UK consumer marketing and PR manager Jo Cooke says there had been no question of pushing the campaign back despite flooding in the country. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is currently advising against non-essential travel to Bangkok and other areas affected by flooding but passengers can still connect to other parts of Thailand through its international airport Suvarnabhumi.

The capital’s domestic airport is flooded but Cooke says this has had minimal impact with the two low-cost carriers that use it having moved to Suvarnabhumi. Beyond Bangkok the flooding has mainly affected rural areas. All the popular resorts are fully open.

Cooke says tour operators and agents are still reporting healthy bookings: “Premier Holidays tells us Thailand is still selling well and we are still in Trailfinders’ top three destinations.” She adds: “The floods have already cost Thailand about two billion Euros or more. Tourism accounts for 10% of GDP. We need tourists.”


Cape Town Tourism Launches New Global Marketing Campaign

Cape Town Tourism has unveiled its new global marketing campaign, with the tag line “You don’t need a holiday, you need Cape Town”. The new campaign aims to encapsulate everything Cape Town has to offer, including tourism, design, business, studies, nature, and the rich diversity of its people, to capture a bigger share of the international and local travel market. The inclusive marketing campaign was launched internationally at the World Travel Market in London.

According to Cape Town Tourism CEO Mariëtte du Toit-Hembold, Cape Town needs to retain its existing successful initiatives and overlay them with a “compelling global marketing and communications campaign…that takes Cape Town to the world in a bold and comprehensive manner”. “The marketing campaign is about more than just attracting tourists. It’s about incorporating business and investment, the creative and innovation sectors and academia into one vision and direction: economic growth, job creation and inclusion to the benefit of all citizens,” Du Toit-Hembold said.

“Whilst we acknowledge that Cape Town is still plagued with serious social issues, we must illustrate the determination to resolve these issues via tourism, education, service delivery, city planning and design,” she said. Tourism contributes an estimated R14 billion to the city’s economy every year, employing just under 300 000 people. She pointed out that the tourism market has become more difficult, especially due to the global financial crisis, and Cape Town must be differentiated from other cities, with the message incorporating not just natural beauty but personal stories that inspire and resonate with both locals and visitors.

“The marketing campaign offers inspirational Cape Town as the antidote to an uncertain and changing world – an urban elixir, if you will … take a good dose of the tonic and although we can’t promise what you will find, we can promise that you will find your better self. The tagline is ‘You don’t need a holiday, you need Cape Town!'” Cape Town Tourism aims to generate demand locally and domestically (and try shed the image of an expensive destination); ensure optimal visitor dispersal and spend; and improve the tourism industry’s capability to convert prospective business into revenue. It will work with airlines and tourism operators to offer better travel packages, and will also launch a series of Discovery Channel and National Geographic television programmes in 2012.


Bulgaria Launches Enhanced Advertising Campaign 

As it prepares to position itself as one of the key international tourism destinations for UK tourists, Bulgaria’s Deputy Minister of Economy, Energy and Tourism, Mr Ivo Marinov and Mrs Anelia Genova, Director of Marketing for Tourism were in London to announce Bulgaria’s tourism strategy for the next decade, including the launch of an enhanced advertising campaign titled ‘Bulgaria: Magic Lives Here’.

Known primarily as a beach and skiing destination, Bulgaria is keen to showcase its other attractions including a rich history and culture, a diverse nature and delicious food and wine. Bulgaria also wants to turn the spotlight on some of its fast-expanding tourism products including city breaks, spas and eco-tourism.

Having just  November 2011, the campaign will reveal little-known aspects of Bulgaria such as a heritage steeped in rich history and culture, a diverse and beautiful landscape and its natural mineral springs. The campaign’s underlying message is that Bulgaria is both ‘unexpected’ and value for money.

The media campaign consists of advertising in print and electronic media in the UK, the internet and outdoor advertising. Advertisements, advertorials and articles about Bulgaria will be published in specialised travel media as well as in more general media. The television campaign includes four new promotional videos of Bulgaria – “Image”, “Nature”, “Culture” and “Spa & Wellness”. The other components of the campaign are outdoor advertising with more than 200 locations in England and Scotland, as well as internet campaign encompassing 7 web-sites.


Marketing Campaigns Going For The Luxury Market

Luxury travel sectors are distinguished by uniqueness, brand imagery and high price levels—the main guiding principles of the luxury sector—but they are also impacted by the same trends. The main trends characterizing the luxury travel sector are the development of personalised services, a move away from ostentation, the increasing importance of digital media, and progressively more attention to green and responsible social principles. Above all, as with the luxury sector in general, according to a recent study by the International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM), the demand for luxury travel is expected to grow, especially in relation to emerging economies, e.g., in the BRIC countries.

The perception of luxury is continuously evolving. Now we’re seeing a move away from ostentation toward authenticity in the travel experience, and a call for sustainability and environmental conservation as an integral part of the offerings for affluent travellers.

On the distribution side, the greater use of online tools will have an effect on the sales process and on communications. A shift towards a more self-sufficient approach in travel planning is therefore expected, plus increased influence by social media in the decision-making process. Let’s see how some destinations have addressed these trends in their marketing activities.

Mexico to Use Maya Calendar as a Starter for Tourism

Hollywood depicts the Maya calendar’s end as a cataclysmic event. But top Mexican tourism officials are betting an invitation to see Maya ruins will attract hordes of older, wealthier U.S. visitors.

In Mexico, where drug violence has hobbled the nation’s $70-billion tourism industry, government leaders hope to counter Tinseltown’s doomsday scenario by promoting 2012 as the year of the tourist.

Several of Mexico’s top tourism officials have been making the rounds in their northern neighbor, betting that an invitation to see Maya ruins will attract hordes of older, wealthier U.S. visitors keen on Mexican culture.

Whereas the Hollywood blockbuster “2012” depicts the end of the Maya calendar as the spark of a global calamity, the Mexican campaign will include a countdown to the calendar’s conclusion and urge tourists to visit archaeological sites in the states of Campeche, Chiapas, Yucatan, Quintana Roo and Tabasco.

The campaign is the latest effort by Mexico to overcome a steady stream of negative publicity over drug-related violence that has killed tens of thousands in that country and made many American tourists hesitant to venture south of the border.

U.S. travelers made up about 60% of Mexico’s 22.4 million international visitors in 2010, according to Mexican authorities. When drug killings first began to dominate headlines in 2008, tourism to Mexico dropped steeply. But it has been rebounding slowly ever since, mostly because of international visitors from countries other than the United States.

From January to May, the number of international visitors to Mexico grew 2.1% compared with the same period in 2010, according to the tourism board. During that time, the numbers of tourists from such countries as Brazil, Russia and China have grown by double digits, the board says. Meanwhile, U.S. tourism to Mexico remained mostly flat, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

In an effort to deflect attention away from the violence, Mexico’s tourism secretary, Gloria Guevara, and the governors of several Mexican states joined the recent swing through the U.S. to promote their country’s historical destinations, particularly 10 Maya archaeological sites in five Mexican states.


Tourism Australia Targets Affluent Asians

Tourism Australia recently unveiled plans for a new campaign including digital and online marketing aimed directly at big spending Asian travellers, especially from China and India.

The Australian Tourism Directions Conference was also told a 10 year strategic plan would be drawn up to attract wealthy middle-class holiday makers from India. Tourism Australia chairman Geoff Dixon told delegates the challenge was to send a unified image of what’s on offer “down under”.

“I believe our current marketing … particularly in the digital and social media spaces, is working outstandingly well for the industry,” he said. “Australia is a five star, must-see destination with some of the world’s best natural and man-made attractions. “Tourism Australia is unashamedly going to target the high-yield traveller in a new multi-faceted campaign now under planning for release in 2012.

“In the past our marketing has been far more generic and this will continue, but alongside a message of high quality and unsurpassed natural beauty.” Mr Dixon said the campaign would highlight world best attractions in Australia including luxury lodges, hotels and facilities, food and wine and natural wonders, but the message would have to be uncluttered and clear.

He said Tourism Australia had been told in no uncertain terms during recent trips to China and India that Australia spoke with too many voices. “Tourism Australia, the states and territories, airlines and private business all have legitimate messages but finite resources to spend in what is increasingly a cluttered market,” he said. “I strongly believe we would be better heard, particularly in Asia, with a clarity of marketing message through the one voice, in which some of our great experiences would be better segmented and told, helping disperse our international visitors right around the country.” Mr Dixon said there was already close co-operation between his body and the states, but that could be taken a step further to achieve better outcomes which would bring long term benefits to the industry.

Tourism Australia managing director Andrew McEvoy said the 10 year plan for India would focus on how to capitalise on what will be one of the world’s most massive outbound markets of 50 million travellers in the next decade. “It’s the biggest English speaking country upon Earth,” he said. “It’s a young audience, with 62 per cent of people under the age of 26. They are an adventurous growing middle class who want to put travel and destinations like Australia on life’s resume.”

Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson said it was essential for the industry to work together on its international marketing campaign. “More strategic co-operation is more important than ever”. “Team Australia domestically and internationally, but we’ll still have competition for business, sporting events etc. between states. “I think that’s healthy for the industry and keeps every state and territory on its toes and means we’ve got people chasing business internationally.”


New Zealand Invites U.S for Lifetime Memories

A new general marketing campaign was launched in the United States, asking Americans to consider New Zealand as a wonderful place to create lifetime memories during the southern summer months.

The campaign extends the 100% Pure You brand into online video for the US market. The videos feature ‘flashbacks’ to show how an everyday moment can encourage lifelong memories of a great New Zealand holiday experience. One of the videos includes Air New Zealand as a key partner, featuring their new premium long-haul product within the advertisement.

In addition to the video advertisements, rich media and flash banners are being used. A landing page has been built on which features all three advertisements, an image slideshow and partner travel deals.

Tourism New Zealand General Manager Marketing Communications Justin Watson says this campaign is part of Tourism New Zealand’s international focus to promote New Zealand as a fantastic destination in its spring and summer months. “We’re working with our industry partners to provide some really attractive offers which show that the experiences to be had in New Zealand really can last a lifetime.”

The lifetime memories campaign includes media placements and significant destination content through where the site features an image slideshow and partner travel deals. The United States is one of New Zealand’s key international tourism markets with 186,662 visitor arrivals for year end July 2011.

In addition, the forecasts show strong growth from China and promising emerging markets like Malaysia. “Tourism spending overall is expected to be roughly stable in real terms, increasing to 6.6 billion NZ dollars in 2016.”

New Zealand has been marketing itself strongly as a tourism destination in China. The national tourism agency, Tourism New Zealand, has signed up award winning Chinese film and television star Yao Chen as a brand ambassador for the country. In June, the agency signed up to a major promotional blitz with 10 Chinese travel companies in a campaign to encourage Chinese travelers to step off the track beaten by organized tour operators for more individual and adventure-based itineraries.


Online/Offline Marketing Integration Case Study: This is Athens

User Generated Content & Reputation Management through Integrated Online & Offline Marketing efforts

Back in 2010,, the official visitors’ website of Athens, Greece launched an online initiative titled This is Athens, a concept developed by the Athens Tourism and Economic Development Co. (ATEDCo) in partnership with abouTourism destination consultants and MindWorks/ website design & development by ATCOM . The campaign’s objective was to create the largest photostream ever made for Athens, inviting the city’s residents and visitors to upload their own photos online and show the whole world what Athens was all about.

The campaign rolled out at a time when the city’s and the entire country’s image was put to test due to intense but short lived public unrest incidents. The blow on the city’s image due to intense and one-sided media coverage was fierce and at the same time local residents needed an opportunity to revamp their pride for the city. The most effective way to achieve both and fight back was to show the world what was really happening in the city.

At a crisis time, when no tourism marketing campaign seems to be convincing enough, the challenge lies in depicting the actual and multi faced situation, leveraging the negative connotations which stay with the audience for much longer than those few days that the actual incidents lasted. This is when the actual people that form and represent the destination come into the equation and can play a crucial role.

The goal of the ThisisAthens campaign was to engage local people, showcase the everyday life in Athens, promote a flavour of true experiences and an alternative image of the city through user generated content. The campaign created the first-ever real-time photostream documenting daily life in Athens through more than 5,000 pictures. Every day, Athenian locals posted hundreds of photographs taken by them of  “their own” city.

The campaign received thousands of tweets and shares on Facebook and Twitter and contributed greatly to the image of this contemporary urban, historic and culturally-rich city we know as Athens. Furthermore there was the possibility to add tags, comments and descriptions in every uploaded picture thus making it easier to share and spread via social media channels.

In continuation of the online marketing campaign, in July 2011 the Athens Tourism and Economic Development Co. (ATEDCo) launched the This is MY Athens initiative, a visitor greeter program designed to give visitors the insider’s edge of the city through a walk with an Athens local.

According to the abouTourism perspective on strategic tourism marketing and integration, the second part of the ThisisAthens campaign was a transportation of the strategic drivers and objectives of the digital campaign initiative into an offline environment, while still utilizing online and offline media to promote it.

This is My Athens is free program available to visitors to Athens and staffed by volunteer Athenians who are excited to show visitors “their city” and all it has to offer.

Launched during a challenging period at a national and local level, during which tourism- an industry the destination is relying heavily upon- was also affected, the This is MY Athens program was greeted with unprecedented enthusiasm from Athenians. They were constantly expressing their desire to show the entire world what Athens was all about, in contrary to the city image they knew was circulating globally. Hundreds of volunteers registered their availability to meet and greet potential visitors to the city and many walks have already been organized while the list keeps growing.

Following a full destination tourism product audit, the program’s goal is to showcase the variety of the city’s tourist offerings through the program’s promotion and processes, offering visitors the opportunity to select from a variety of experiences.  In order to ensure the best possible visitor satisfaction levels, we ensured quality control standards and measurement were in place through documented visitors’ feedback and explanatory introductory sessions for all selected volunteers, informing them about the tourism product as well as the program’s ideals and objectives. The volunteering Athens Locals are then left with the freedom to create their own itineraries and the choice to show what they enjoy most about their city.

To facilitate the program’s processes, support the volunteers and achieve the best possible results in terms of service, we also incorporated the city’s Visitor Information network, by offering further information and registration possibility through the city’s Info Points positioned in high visitor flow locations. With the use of high end technology equipment (LCD screens and iPads) visitors are able to explore all the city has to offer digitally as well as register for a walk with an Athens Local.

The initiative was promoted through online and offline media and received extensive coverage mainly due to its voluntary nature and the fact that there was already a public desire building up for corrective actions. The campaign cleverly employed the public’s motivation to help promote their city and show a positive and alternative side of Athens by actually giving them the opportunity to become the city’s brand ambassadors. More than 300 Athens Locals have registered as volunteers making this one of the most successful visitor greeters programs available, while more than 100 visitor applications have already been received in less than 2 months of the program’s operation.

The two parts of the ThisisAthens campaign are an example of integrated marketing where online and offline marketing initiatives complement each other, driven by an accurate situational analysis and set marketing objectives to ensure consistency of the promoted message and efficient brand management. It is an ongoing reputation management campaign which involves the local population.

The next stages of the campaign’s development will include its expansion to the local audience, organization of street events, flash mobs, walks with celebrities and …well that’s enough for now…..Stay tuned for more!

For more information visit:

What’s New? Fresh Destination Promotional Initiatives

Visit Britain’s “You re invited” Campaign goes 3D

VisitBritain has unveiled the second phase of its global ‘You’re Invited’ campaign, as ten unique 3D artworks left London for a worldwide tour that will promote Britain overseas. The iconic artworks build on the high profile celebrity launch of the organisation’s marketing programme in June.

World famous 3D street artists Joe and Max were commissioned to create the interactive artworks for VisitBritain. This will allow members of the public to insert themselves virtually into some of Britain’s most iconic landmarks. The artworks will be displayed in ten key locations around the world, with those who have their photo taken on the canvas entering into a competition that will include a pair of British Airways Club World return flights to the UK.

As Britain moves towards 2012, the eyes of the world will be firmly focused on the country and what overseas visitors can experience when they are here. The 3D canvases provide an ideal snapshot of just some of the things on offer, highlighting Britain’s history and heritage, its countryside and natural beauty, culture, fashion, sports and a world-class welcome.

Sandie Dawe, Chief Executive, VisitBritain said: “Great Britain 3D is the first ever global tour of 3D art with the sole purpose of promoting a destination to an overseas audience. This is a fun, engaging and effective way of taking some of Britain’s most famous icons right into the heart of cities around the world.

“This marks an important new phase of our ‘You’re Invited’ campaign that is an open invitation to the world to come and join us before, during and after 2012. “Working in partnership with the industry, our aim over the next four years is to secure £2 billion of extra spending by overseas visitors across Britain. That will see a whole range of great deals and new products launched to encourage those considering a visit to Britain that now is the time to do so and turn their plans into actions.”

Tourism Minister John Penrose said: “The tourism industry is leading the way in growing our economy, but the best is yet to come.  VisitBritain’s ‘You’re Invited’ campaign is a brilliant way of promoting our country to overseas visitors, and I’m really pleased that the Abbey Road zebra crossing – which I recently gave ‘listed building’ status to – is one of the iconic images chosen.  The Olympics and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee will put us centre stage next year, but it’s good to remind visitors of all the other amazing things that Britain has to offer.”

The works have already toured Singapore, Sydney and Shanghai and next destinations are Delhi, Utrecht, Stockholm, Milan, Los Angeles and São Paulo.


Thailand through Google Maps with Street View

On September 1st the Tourism Authority of Thailand jointly announced with partner, Google Thailand, the launch of a new tourism promotion initiative featuring Google Maps with Street View and plans to invite Thais to nominate their favourite tourist destinations to be captured in images as Google Maps with Street View cars begin driving across the country.

Following the successful launch of the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s (TAT) latest campaign promoting sustainable tourism and a record first half of the year for tourism in Thailand with almost 10 million visitors, TAT is partnering with Google Thailand to introduce an innovation that will change the way Thais and tourists around the world can experience Thailand with a little help from technology and some specially designed, very cute cars.

Starting this month, a fleet of Google cars specially fitted with cameras will begin driving and taking street level photographs of public locations across the country including greater Bangkok and other major regional cities around the country. This activity represents a long term investment with the long term objective of capturing imagery across Thailand over the next 2 -3 years. These images will be made available at a later date in Street View on Google Maps.

Khun Suraphon Svetasreni, Governor, Tourism Authority of Thailand, explained, “We’re very excited to be working with Google to bring Google Maps with Street View to Thailand. The internet is a powerful platform for raising awareness and increasing travel to and around Thailand and with Google cars ready to start capturing images today, we see the long term output of Street View as a real opportunity for Thailand to showcase its tourist destinations and unique culture to the world while strengthening our economy. The Tourism Authority of Thailand has always embraced technology and through this partnership we hope to engage more people in sustainable tourism for a better tomorrow.”

In addition to announcing the tourism promotion program featuring Google Maps with Street View, with Google cars ready to hit the roads across the country, TAT and Google are pleased to announce preparations for launching a campaign in Thailand to photograph tourist sites and special locations. This campaign will give Thais the opportunity to nominate their favourite places across a variety of categories which will be captured in panoramic images, incorporated into Google Maps with Street View and shared with the world.

Google has partnered with a number of public and private sector organization to capture imagery from dozens of special locations and famed places around the world, including Stonehenge in the United Kingdom, Pompei in Italy, Legoland in California, and Versailles in France.


New York is “Open for Business”

New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced that he has launched “New York Open for Business”, a coordinated communications and marketing effort that will demonstrate to business leaders all across the world the benefits of doing business in New York State. This campaign is a component in the efforts to redesign the way state government works in order to drive economic growth and create jobs. New York needs to communicate that it is the place where businesses want to come and stay.

“The ‘New York Open for Business’ campaign will get the message out to companies throughout the world that New York is a premier place for businesses to invest and grow,” Governor Cuomo said. “As we continue to transform Albany’s approach to economic development, we must emphasize the many advantages New York has to offer, including our central location, our wealth of resources, our unequalled network of colleges and universities, and our diverse, innovative, educated and hard-working residents. With this campaign, we will help build a stronger economy and foster greater private investment throughout New York State.”

In recent years, businesses have left the state in record numbers and job losses have devastated local communities, giving New York the image of having one of the worst business climates in the nation. The goal of the “New York Open for Business” initiative is to promote the many assets of investing in New York so the state can regain its reputation as a business-friendly location. Some recent efforts include balancing the state budget with no new taxes, a local property tax cap, important ethics reforms, and the introduction of Regional Economic Development Councils that will focus State economic development efforts on the local level where they can have the most impact.

The campaign will be led by a committee of prominent business leaders from all across the state who have a wide range of business and strategic communications expertise.

Visit Wales kicks off digital outdoor campaign

Welsh tourism body Visit Wales has launched digital out-of-home ads which feature Piers Bramhall and Emma Foley, his competition-winning girlfriend, holidaying in Wales.

In August Bramhall was doorstopped by a Welsh choir and ‘Gavin & Stacey’ star Joanna Page who invited him to take a free holiday with his girlfriend to Wales as part of an ad campaign by Wieden+Kennedy.

Foley was chosen from 300 women who entered a Facebook competition. The winning couple will visit destinations that were suggested by Welsh tweeters who replied to @wewantpiers.

Production company Bigballs filmed Bramhall and Foley’s trip around Wales. Edited highlights will run across CBS Outdoor’s sites on the London Underground and JCDecaux sites at major rail stations across the UK.

The Visit Wales Facebook page (which has 194,620 likes) and Twitter account are being regularly updated with news from Bramhall and Foley’s trip.

Hannah James, marketing manager at Visit Wales, said: “We had the brief to communicate Wales in autumn as a really vibrant place with lots happening and an exciting option for a break this season. The ability to live broadcast an action-packed trip that a real couple are experiencing is a great way to do this”.


New Tourism Marketing Initiatives by Queensland, Japan & France

Share some Queensland holiday love

Australians have been urged to visit Queensland and share some holiday love with friends and family as part of a new marketing campaign valued at $800,000. The national ‘Love a Queensland Deal’ marketing campaign began over the weekend and will run for four weeks.

A mix of print, television and online advertising has been prepared to encourage people to book a Queensland trip now and travel during a quieter time of the year.

“We already know that Queensland is where Australia Shines and I encourage Australians to find a deal they love so they too can find their own ‘Queensland shine’,” said Tourism Queensland CEO Anthony Hayes.

“Holidaymakers are opting for shorter breaks and this campaign gives Australians the perfect opportunity to book Queensland holidays from three nights with travel available until March 2012.”

Mr Hayes explained that although feedback from tourism operators across the state indicated confidence for state’s tourism industry was still high around Australia, there was still the challenge for the sector to “keep the momentum going”.

Despite natural disaster slowing the sector’s traffic earlier this year, the sunshine state welcomed more than 16 million visitors for the twelve months to March, a three percent increase on the year before.


Japan’s Increasing Marketing Efforts

The summer months are vital to Japan’s $16-billion foreign tourism industry, with the nation typically reporting some of its highest tourist numbers in July and August. The disaster took a huge toll on the nation’s spring tourism season, when large numbers of visitors arrive for Japan’s cherry blossom festivals.

Japan is stepping up efforts to draw foreign travelers, even recruiting Lady Gaga to spread the word that much of Japan is safe for visitors. As part of the effort to lure visitors before the summer travel season ends, the Japan National Tourism Organization recently posted online the radiation levels for down town Tokyo, which the tourism group says are lower than in tourist destinations such as New York, Singapore and Hong Kong.

The country’s tourism campaign comes as Japan reports progress in stabilizing the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. But Japan’s tourism industry faces several hurdles, including lingering fear among foreign travelers about potential radiation hazards and increasing fuel prices that keep airfares to Japan high.

Since the disaster, the government-run tourism organization has organized trips to Japan for international travel agents and travel writers, persuaded hotels in Tokyo to offer discounts to visitors and posted information online — including video posts by celebrities and radiation levels — to show that most of the country is safe to receive visitors.

“We’ve been focusing our efforts on showing people that Japan is safe for travel and that it’s business as usual in Tokyo and most other major cities,” said Evan Miller, a spokesman for the tourism organization. “It’s fine to come here.”

Among the group’s efforts are online videos of race car drivers, ice skaters and other celebrities, including Lady Gaga, urging travelers to visit the country. “I can’t say enough to people all over the world that the majority of Japan … is very safe,” the singer says in an online video shot before a benefit concert in Tokyo in June.


France Unveils New Brand Logo and Website

On July 14 France celebrated its first annual international “Destination France Day.” On Bastille Day, the French government and Atout France hosted three international events to establish France’s national holiday as the day to celebrate France as a top travel destination. Parties were hosted in Paris, New York and Shanghai. All three events featured live performances, fashion shows, exhibitions, and French music.

On July 18, the winning logo was unveiled after receiving 29 percent of the votes from 82,877 Internet voters. This new logo will be the image of destination France. With this new symbol, French tourism will be embodied by a sole image that conveys the high quality and values of the destination. It will be visible in all collateral and on badges for all tourism-related personnel. The logo also will serve as the linchpin for a new communication strategy that unifies all the sectors of the French tourism industry.

According to Lefebvre, that strategy will introduce visitors to a France that has changed dramatically under French President Nicolas Sarcozy. The goal is to turn France into a more welcoming destination for visitors. The strategy also will focus less on iconic symbols, such as the Eiffel Tower and Cote D’Azur, and more on gastronomy, film and other cultural attractions.

The updated logo includes a representation of Marianne, the national emblem of France, as well as the phrase “Rendez-vous en France” to inspire and welcome the public to travel to France. The logo also includes the new French tourism website at, which is being completely updated to make it more interactive for visitors.