This report discusses the role of the sharing economy in city tourism. While it’s easy to see the sharing economy as a cluster of challenges, in reality it can be a useful tool for city authorities to manage destinations effectively, connect visitors with local experiences and bring economic benefits to local people. However it also has to be regulated in a way that is fair to all stakeholders.

The more the different segments of the tourism sector realize the dynamics of the sharing economy the more we expand the scope of our work on practical aspects and implications. TOPOSOPHY has produced this free discussion paper for DMOs to help understand their role, and plan the way ahead. The paper includes:

  • Analysis of recent trends in the sharing economy, and consumer motivations for using sharing economy services
  • Discussion of how DMOs can update their regulations on sharing economy activities
  • Practical tips on building a sharing economy impact assessment, and monitoring systems
  • Step-by-step guide to making the sharing economy work in favour of the destination and local residents

Visit our new website or Click here to download the full report (free)


Here at TOPOSOPHY we believe that you can only take the best decisions when you can see the bigger picture – so we’re starting the New Year with in-depth analysis of the biggest trends emerging in global tourism and

Will the Apple Watch break new ground where other tech wearables have failed to do so?

Will this be the year when we see Airbnb take the leap and merge with a major online travel agent?

Will we ever reach ‘peak selfie’?

Will DMOs take more initiatives in community and economic development?

Discover our top 15 travel trends for 2015…

Want to know more about TOPOSOPHY? Find out here.




In recent years, the sharing economy has begun to transform many aspects of life. It is enabling individuals, companies and communities to re-imagine how they live, grow, connect and operate sustainably. Tourism has emerged as one of the leading sectors for growth in the sharing economy as visitors and residents share homes, cars, boats, four course meals and a whole lot else.

As the sharing economy has ballooned to attract users and providers of all ages and walks of life, it’s clear that sharing someone’s apartment or car isn’t always just about saving money. A multitude of drivers have pushed sharing to become the mainstream practice that it is today and there are many lessons that tourism destinations and businesses can learn from that as they grapple with reforming laws to keep consumers safe, and competition fair.

In the coming weeks you’ll be able to learn more as TOPOSOPHY’s experts release a groundbreaking report called The Sharing Economy in Tourism and the Hospitality Sector with lessons to be learned on all sides and many opportunities to share opinions as TOPOSOPHY plans Sharing Economy Workshops across Europe in 2015.

Here’s a sneak preview of the report. Enjoy!



Are you wondering where the name ‘TOPOSOPHY’ comes from? Viewing a destination through a narrow lens, it’s easy to fall into the trap of presenting a destination in terms of its tourism activity today, rather than what it could offer tomorrow. TOPOSOPHY likes to do things differently. We take a step back and study the whole place (‘topos’ = place in Greek) with a critical but enthusiastic look at where the destination sits compared to its competitors, both near and far. The result for our clients is the choice of a totally integrated range of services including destination strategy and planning, place marketing & branding, market intelligence, trade marketingpolicy advice & government support among many others.

Global Tourism & Travel Trends

The World Travel Market Global Trends Report 2012 has just been released and highlights the nine key emerging travel and tourism trends worldwide, looking at how the global, regional and national political, social and economic situation is shaping the travel industry.

Major identified trends include:

  • Shopping is a major theme, with BRICs flocking to Europe, Indians jetting off on low-cost carriers to purchase gold, and hotels being built inside shopping malls in the Middle East.
  • Technical innovation is the driving force between the rise of smart TVs, creating new opportunities for travel brands and new business models such as Tingo.
  • Americans are drawn to countries coming in from the cold, such as North Korea, Cuba and Myanmar, while Nigeria’s film industry, Nollywood, is a magnet for intra-regional African travel.
  • The lure of luxury continues in Asia as upmarket car brands exploit the power of their brands and make inroads into the hotels sector.

Americas: The Attraction of Forbidden Lands

Since 2010, countries previously off-limits to American tourists have become open; benefiting economically from tourism revenue. Caroline Bremner, Head of Travel and Tourism Research at Euromonitor said, “It’s a small but growing market. Most US visitors to previously banned countries are expected to come from the Baby Boomer generation.”

Europe: BRIC’s Grand Shopping Tour

Brazil, Russia, India and China are embracing shopping tourism in key European destinations. Dynamic economic growth has led to rapidly increasing disposable income levels in these countries. Together with increased awareness of an improved quality of life, consumers from BRIC countries are keen to spend more on travel.

Middle East: Rise of Shopping Hotels

Big spenders with cash are driving the trend for Middle Eastern hotels built inside shopping malls. Wealthy consumers from Bahrain and Saudi Arabia have disposable income and love shopping, thus mega-malls in the Middle East are booming. Shopping malls and associated hotel developments are key elements in the recovery of tourism, which saw a difficult year in 2011.

Africa: Destination Nollywood

Nigeria’s massive film industry, dubbed Nollywood, is the world’s second largest film industry in volume terms, after India’s Bollywood and ahead of Hollywood, with more than 2,000 films produced annually. The increasing popularity of Nollywood in many African countries will be a major growth driver with the leisure sector attracting film fans.

Global Village: Digital Detox

In a time when technology is an intrinsic part of everyday life, with more consumers addicted to their devices, some hotels are going against the tide, helping guests to check in and switch off. Some hotels are offering “technology-free” packages as an escape for busy travellers.

Full Report Here.

Check out all the latest Tourism & Travel Trends here

abouTourism’s TrendSpotting 2012 is Here!

abouTourism brings you a compilation of the latest Tourism and Travel Trends to shape the industry

Moderate growth is expected for the tourism industry in 2012, despite the uncertain global economic outlook. Factors such as rising incomes in emerging markets and stable unemployment and disposable income in mature markets are expected to drive demand this year. We have entered a period of drastic change and the industry is reinventing itself to meet changing expectations, rapid technological advancements and a shifting world economic environment.

Visit our TrendSpotting 2012 Page to see all the key trends to influence the global tourism and travel industry in 2012. The list keeps growing as it is frequently updated with all the latest tourism and travel trends. Enjoy!

Tourism Campaigns on Facebook. Like this!

Tourism Ireland launched Irish-themed Facebook game

Tourism Ireland is hoping to exploit the phenomenal popularity of social networks in the weeks ahead by convincing more than 100,000 people to play an Irish-themed Facebook game which it launched on St Patrick’s Day.

The Ireland Town game allows Facebook users to create an “idyllic town in Ireland” with the help of a virtual tour guide called Sally. Once they have Irish utopia created, Facebook users can then explore iconic sites and attractions around the country without leaving their couches.

After certain challenges are completed, players can progress to the next level of the game and those who make it through all the levels will be in with a chance of winning a real world prize of a holiday to Ireland.

Tourism Ireland is hoping that playing the game will bring the Irish holiday experience to life for potential visitors – albeit without the rain – and they will be tempted to swap the virtual for the real and come to Ireland to spend hard cash in the months ahead.

Fans can progress faster if they convince their friends on Facebook to sign up and the tourism authority has expressed the hope that “the incredible viral effect of social games” will see up to 100,000 people playing Ireland Town over the coming weeks.

It is aiming to ape games like FarmVille and CityVille which are hugely popular with Facebook users with nearly a quarter of users in the US and Britain playing social games at least once a week.

“It is a unique promotional tool and a first, as no other national tourist board had done this before,” said Mark Henry, Tourism Ireland’s central marketing director.


Visit Britain launches Facebook app targeting Generation Y travelers

Tourism body VisitBritain has launched a Facebook app targeting Generation Y travelers encouraging them to visit the UK via a personal treasure hunt that takes place on the social network.

VisitBritain has partnered with STA Travel, Travel CUTS and Transat Holidays to launch the app, called Unite the Invite, which is only available to Facebook users in America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

The app, which was created by Albion, involves a competition to match two Facebook users via the social network. Users register with the app, upload their picture and wait for a “match” with another Facebook user.

Users are then given a virtual invite to the UK, which is split between themselves and their “match”. Users then post the picture of their ‘match’ on their wall, and ask their Facebook friends to share the picture in order to try to find their competition partner through the social networking site.

The fastest pair to find each other will win a trip to London, Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow, Edinburgh or Cardiff.

Laurence Bresh, director of marketing, VisitBritian, said: “The idea that we’re all connected by six degrees of separation has intrigued people for generations.”

“This campaign attempts to prove that theory. And, to our knowledge, no other tourist board or travel agency has taken this approach to engage students and young professionals.”

Tourism Australia and Quiksilver launch Facebook competition

Tourism Australia and Quiksilver have announced that they have launched a Facebook contest, “Surf, Sun and Social Networking in Australia,” that will send one lucky winner to Australia to be the official blogger for the 2012 Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast.

Beginning March 14 and ending April 8 contestants will have the opportunity to upload their best adventure photo to either or and describe in 100 words or less what they think is the best adventure Down Under. Whether it’s hiking in search of wildlife, on a quest for the perfect break, or discovering a new world underwater, Australia’s got it all. And for those who aren’t familiar with Aussie adventures, they can get inspired by visiting or The winner will be determined by who has the most “likes” at the end of the contest period.

“There’s nothing like an Australian adventure,” said Daryl Hudson, vice president, the Americas for Tourism Australia. “From our iconic beaches, to our world-class cities and of course our native wildlife, the winning blogger will be on the front lines of some amazing experiences.”

The winner will receive a two-week trip to Australia including round-trip international economy airfare from Los Angeles, Dallas, San Francisco, or New York to Australia; one week in Queensland attending and blogging from the 2012 Quiksilver Pro, and vacation and blogging for one week in another Australian state of their choice.

“The Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast is the premier surf event in all of Australia and the kick-off to the world tour every year,” said Eddie Anaya, Marketing Director of Quiksilver. “It’s exciting to partner with Tourism Australia to offer one of our fans a behind the scenes experience where they get to blog and rub elbows with the best surfers in the world at one of Australia’s legendary surf breaks – Snapper Rocks.”


Destination BrandWatch: New Marketing Initiatives from New Zealand, Las Vegas, Greece, Ecuador, Seychelles and more..

New York Yankees Star to Promote New Zealand

New York Yankee Curtis Granderson is heading to New Zealand in January with the help of Tourism New Zealand.  One of America’s top baseball players, Granderson will be in New Zealand in his role as a global baseball ambassador to youth, and to help promote tourism to New Zealand in the United States. Held up as Major League Baseball’s ‘nice guy’, Granderson will experience tourism activities across the country, sharing them with his social media networks across the USA. Tourism New Zealand General Manager Brand and International Public Relations Catherine Bates says that as well as being a great baseball player, as a respected humanitarian, philanthropist and educator, Granderson would be a great advocate for New Zealand in the important American market. Source:

Going global: Las Vegas revamps international tourism strategy

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority is going global with a new proposal to attract more international visitors to the city. Only about 14 percent of total visitors are from out of the country. But according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, international travelers make a big impact.

“They tend to spend more and stay longer,” says Cathy Tull, Senior Vice President of Marketing. “They spend more on rooms, shopping, eating out, and drinking. All those types of things,” adds Jeremy Aguero, economic analyst and founder of Applied Analysis.

Tourism leaders want the city to evolve into more than just a vacation destination for people abroad. Their focus going forward is to increase foreign business travel by attracting more international trade shows. They’ve already booked some for 2011 and 2012. Tull believes it’s a step in the right direction to get us on the world stage. So far, the only direct international flights to Las Vegas are from Great Britain, Canada, and Mexico. The LVCVA also announced plans to spend more money on advertising. It wants to better utilize social media sites to attract visitors.The agency reportedly plans to add $5 million to its current $71 million marketing budget based on hotel room tax revenue that has been higher than anticipated for several straight months. Source

Greek Plan to Boost Year Round Tourism with Nation-Wide Events Will Benefit Travelers

The Greek government has announced its intention to draw more tourists with a series of nation-wide events and an Internet campaign. Holiday specialists Travelmatch expects this to make Greece an even more appealing destination for travellers.

Excellent tourist programmes are the cornerstone of a good holiday, and they do not come about unless the local government is behind them. Clearly Greece is committed to investing significantly in this respect.
Greek officials have announced that they intend to launch a sustained effort to draw tourists to their country. The strategy is focused on a series of nation-wide events which will encourage year round tourism. Travelmatch, the online travel specialists, expect this to yield significant benefits for tourists travelling to Greece. Alex Francis of says: “Excellent tourist programmes are the cornerstone of a good holiday, and they do not come about unless the local government is behind them. Clearly Greece is committed to investing significantly in this respect.”

Greece’s tourism strategy is expected to incorporate the Internet and social media to draw more people to the country on holidays. It will also focus on underdeveloped markets such as China and Russia. According to Francis, this is a significant development as it will make information about holidays in Greece more accessible to potential tourists from all over the world, including the UK. He says: “Strong media campaigns will help spread the word about this excellent country; Greece has some of the most appealing sites in the world and we fully expect this initiative to yield strong results.”

Francis argues that this development is excellent news for both the Greek economy and travellers. He concludes: “A strong focus on bringing tourists to Greece is likely to be very successful and will bring a large influx of foreign spending into this market. Given the economic situation in Greece, this will be very welcome. It is likely that tourists will be the ones who benefit the most though. Their plan of creating nation-wide events is also very exciting as they are sure to be excellent. When these new events are combined with Greece’s many pre-existing tourist draws, it will become an even better destination for tourists.” Source

Seychelles Tourism Board launches marketing initiative in South America with South Africa

In conjunction with Argentina´s leading boutique outbound specialist in South Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands destination wholesaler – Sundance Tours – the provincial tourism marketing entities of Cape Town Routes Unlimited (Cape Town and the Western Cape), Mpumalanga Tourism & Parks Agency, and the National Office of Tourism Seychelles have formed a joint destination marketing venture, pooling their marketing resources in what is a first-ever campaign in South America. These prominent and progressive entities have joined together to inaugurate the campaign by way of the delivery of a travel industry seminar promoting a series of six (6) set itinerary programs under the banner of “Unforgettable Places” to the major retail travel agencies in Buenos Aires.

A morning long seminar attracted an audience of 142 travel agency owners and senior sales specialists, and in addition, the key figures of the travel industry, travel media, and consumer media travel publications, as well as cable TV travel specialist journalists. The Unforgettable Places campaign is aimed directly at highlighting the Argentine traveler and the travel trade, compelling reasons to visit and combine the regional destinations of Cape Town and the Cape Garden Route, Mpumalanga´s natural wonders such as the Blyde River Canyon and world-beating safari activities through the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve, and the globally iconic Kruger National Park, plus the relaxation and lure of the heavenly Seychelles islands with their pristine white sandy beaches, distinctive Creole culture and cuisine together with a natural eco-system that time has left untouched.

The Unforgettable Places campaign began in November 2010 and will run initially through to the end of May 2011, with the likelihood of it being extended, based on and measured purely on the success and results of the first seven months marketing returns.

Alain St.Ange, the CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board and eTurboNews ambassador, has said that this initiative of partnership with South Africa will bring about a win win for both countries and it reinforces the diversification approach being adopted by Seychelles.

Source: Seychelles Tourism Board

U.S. Virgin Islands Department Of Tourism Launches Local TV Campaign

As a component of its ongoing local tourism awareness campaign, the Department of Tourism is launching five new television spots designed to raise the level of customer service in the Territory and promote the customer service pledge. The ads will air locally on the Government Access Channel and other local cable channels beginning this week. Each spot features a mocko jumbie character who intervenes when poor service is being delivered and “inspires” the service provider to take the customer service pledge. In the spots, taking the pledge results in the delivery of superior customer service, produces satisfied customers and fills the service provider with pride. The interactions depicted in the ads came directly from comments received by mystery shoppers who visited the Territory in 2009 to rate the level of service in the USVI. In addition to placing the ads on local television, the Department plans to incorporate them into school presentations to encourage dialogue about exploring attitudes and cultural differences as it relates to tourism. The spots may currently be viewed online at WWW.USVIMARKETING.COM. The spots were produced by Tell Tale Pictures, a film and digital production company based on St. John.

For more information on the customer service pledge and to take the pledge visitWWW.USVISERVICEPLEDGE.COM.

Ecuador Launches Tourism Marketing Campaign, New Tour Routes

Ecuador’s Ministry of Tourism has launched a new branding campaign entitled “Ecuador, Love Life,” along with a series of new themed tourism routes. The routes include “Ruta de las Flores” (The Flower Trail), which focuses on Ecuador’s high-quality roses and flowers. Also featured will be “Tren de Mitad del Mundo” (The Middle of the World Train), focusing on the restoration of the entire 100-year-old railway connecting Quito in the Andes and Guayaquil on the Pacific Coast. The Spondylus Trail will offer travelers a journey through time to discover the Las Vegas culture, which thrived in the country more than 11,000 years ago, as well as to see the remnants of the Valdivia Culture, which dates back to 4,000 B.C. and influenced ancient clay sculptures and utensils. The Spondylus Trail also offers visitors opportunities to stand where the explorer Pizarro first landed in South America to initiate his conquest of the Inca Empire. The Toquilla straw hat (more commonly known as the Panama hat) also originated along this route and is still handcrafted here. Source

Destination Branding Workshop

by Manolis Psarros – abouTourism

Destination Branding is back in fashion as cities and countries all over the world pursue image makeovers designed to help them stand out in the weak global economy, attract visitors and investments.

However, there is a huge confusion over the term and its implications for the destination industry. Millions of dollars are spent over tourism campaigns without actually involving real action & policy-making on the field (where tourist activity actually takes place & visitors perceptions are shaped).

While Simon Anholt states that ’Nation Branding is a dangerously misleading phrase which seems to contain a promise that the images of countries can be directly manipulated using the techniques of marketing communications’’ others go even further and support that countries cannot really be treated as brands.

On the other hand, most of the branding experts and destination professionals  agree that when it comes to tourism,  branding seems to work, although there still seems to be a misconception between branding and communications strategies.
A  few months ago I have been asked to lead a Destination Branding Workshop for the East African Tourism Investment Summit as a representative of the World Centre of Excellence for Destinations ( The main objective was to clearly explain the different schools of thought and succesfully transform the knowledge produced by global experts into practical suggestions for the DMOs. We are currently looking at options to offer this workshop in more regions around the world. We will keep you posted on future opportunities.

At this time please feel free to view below the Destination Branding Workshop Presentations slides along with two case studies (New Zealand & Colombia ) by Tom Buncle (Destination Branding Expert/Author of UNWTO/ETC Handbook on Tourism Branding & member of the abouTourism network of experts).

PART ONE: Defining the Concepts & 9+1 Brand-Building Principles

PART TWO: Creating a Place Brand

Creating a place brand calls for collaborative research to design an effective strategy, a high level of community & stakeholders engagement and a strong political will to implement it. When it comes to tourism and destination branding it’s all about ”creating a sense of place and telling a story” (Tom Buncle).

In this second part of the Destination Branding Workshop we analyze in brief the real facts, challenges and solutions on the place branding strategy through a tourism perspective. Enjoy the slideshare presentation  and feel free to make your comments.

CASE STUDY 1: New Zealand: From Fuddy-Duddy Destination for Émigrés to Funky Hotspot for Adrenalin Junkies

By Tom Buncle, Managing Director, Yellow Railroad (Nov 2010) – for abouTourism blog (Manolis Psarros)

New Zealand may be the most admired tourism destination brand in the world by its competitors (according to research undertaken amongst UNWTO members by Yellow Railroad in 2009), but not many people are aware that the idea behind the “100% Pure” campaign started life not as a destination brand, but as a place branding strategy. And it is still one of the best exemplars of place branding in the world. Click here for the full text.

CASE STUDY 2: Colombia: From Pariah State to Progressive Economy

By Tom Buncle, Managing Director, Yellow Railroad (Nov 2010) – for abouTourism blog (Manolis Psarros)

Question: How do you change a country’s image from one of the world’s “bad boys” to somewhere people want to invest and visit?

Answer: You don’t do it overnight or through flash marketing. You do it by changing your behaviour, your infrastructure and your institutions; and then you tell people about the changes …. but not before you’ve changed the very fabric of your country. Then, and only then, can the brand kick in as a signal of the new nation. And to get the message across that you’ve changed, you need to focus ruthlessly on your core assets and values. Oh ….. and it can help to attract people’s attention if you’re a bit controversial. click here for the full text.