To build a tourism strategy that lasts and that works for all, you have to be realistic in analysing what works and what doesn’t. In the second of this ‘‘Uncovered’’ series of reports, experts at TOPOSOPHY lift the lid on tourism trends in Mexico and make an honest, frank assessment of the top priorities for government and business in the country today.

Domestic and international tourism in Mexico is continuously growing. The tourism industry growth continues to ride higher than the average national GDP growth and investment in the tourism sector is pouring into the country as the main source market, the United States, recovers from the global financial crisis.

Nevertheless image remains the main concern as incidents relating to organised crime continue to affect parts of the country and Mexican citizens have mobilized to demand more security as mid-term elections approach (Summer 2015). As this report will explain, the media often reports a distorted view of the reality of daily life in Mexico. Furthermore, Mexicans’ views of their own country can often be subject to an inferiority complex or over-influenced by current events.

Discover TOPOSOPHY’s take on the current state of Mexican Tourism in this candid report that aims to provide an external view and an independent perspective on how a tourism industry with high potential can deliver for the country in the future.

Top 5 AbouTourism Articles for 2013!

As we wrap up 2013, it is time to take a look at some of your favorite and most read articles from this past year.

During this past year, abouTourism offered insights on destination marketing and the latest developments, highlighted the latest trends to shape the industry and shared best practice cases showcasing successful destination development, management and marketing strategies.

It’s been an amazing year and we want to thank each and everyone for your trust and support as we are getting ready for an even more exciting 2014!

These are the Top 5 abouTourism blog posts that we loved most in 2013!

1. Destination Marketing: Social Media Campaigns that Work


Slovenia, through the Slovenian Tourist Board (STB) has a well developed digital presence promoting the country as a tourism destination. In order to raise awareness of Slovenia as a high class and attractive winter destination, STB launched an innovative winter campaign with the support of abouTourism and Mindworks, and we are excited with the results!

A simple and to the point campaign with easily spreadable content, creating word of mouth, while involving multiple user segments, including locals, professionals, potential travelers and social media influencers.

2. A New Kid on the Block: Black Sea Region & Cruise Tourism


What does it take for emerging sea cruise destinations to establish themselves in a highly competitive market?

A response provided by abouTourism consultants, as part of a report prepared for the ‘United Nations Development Programme – Black Sea Trade and Investment Programme’ (UNDP BSTIP), is that individual destinations, physically coupled in a large geographical zone, are not going to benefit from cruise passengers visiting these localities unless they set common targets and coordinate their efforts.

3. Integrated, Multichannel Tourism Marketing: Gadgets, Books, Films & more

VF realityshows

When content is king and there are multiple channels to distribute various types of content, how can we make sure that the right message appears at the right people at the right time?

Today that travelers are using a combination of offline/online sources and platforms throughout the travel buying cycle, it is crucial to develop integrated, multichannel marketing campaigns as a result of proper strategic planning. Right content at the right time means appropriate messaging per channel, smartly using available tools which will all come together to complement the overall destination brand.

DMOs are called to utilize any given opportunity to pull their audience deeper into the destination’s brand, by being active content distributors, combining traditional promotional tools and marketing activities in smart ways which place excellent content where their target market is.

4. Destination Marketing: Use Your Babies, Bananas & more

VL page

As a fact, major events can have a major impact on the visitor economy of their host destinations, but it is up to the destination tourism authorities to set how much. It is also up to the destination to think outside the box and try to capitalize on every single – or set of- strength and assets it has to support its tourism marketing efforts. In a few words….Go bananas…

When the royal baby was born, we took a look at how UK tourism agencies approached this special event to capitalize on the world wide interest, marketing the royal birth and the whole destination at the same time.

5. Effective B2B Destination Marketing-Travel Trade Workshops


A case study of destination-focused travel trade Workshops organization for the City of Athens.

Within the framework of the City of Athens’ development and tourism promotion action plan aiming to highlight Athens in the international tourism market, the Athens Development & Destination Management Agency (ADDMA) reached a cooperation agreement of strategic importance with the European Tour Operators Association (ETOA)The agreement sees to the establishment of a series of annual B2B workshops under the name Travel Trade Athens.

The agreement signed with ETOA, has a dual purpose for the tourism product of Metropolitan Athens and the destination’s efforts to strengthen the international image of Athens in the global tourism community. Firstly, this is the first intervention of such scale and importance after many years and with partner one of the most dynamic institutions in the European market, who trusts the city and its formal structures, such as the ADDMA. Secondly, it makes evident that Athens, as a city break and business destination, continues to be a very interesting and attractive option with promising growth prospects.

Stay tuned for more!

International Tourism & Travel Trends

The WTM Global Trends Report 2013 was just launched during London’s WTM 2013, in association with Euromonitor International and highlights the emerging trends from around the world.

A global overview presents the following key findings:

  • The global economy is expected to record 3.1% growth in 2013, a stable performance compared to 2012.
  • The IMF predicts global GDP to grow by 3.8% in 2014, thanks to positive growth in the Eurozone, the economy picking up in the US and a further increase in emerging markets.
  • The long-term economic potential of the BRICs and other emerging markets remains solid and is expected to drive positive performance of the global economy over 2015-2017.
  • Global tourist arrivals and inbound spending are predicted to continue to be vital over the 2012-2017 period, boosted by increasing demand from emerging markets.
  • Advanced markets are recovering after the difficulties experienced since the crisis with tourism flows and spending from the US, Japan and Europe returning to growth. 
  • Online travel agencies are growing in importance, with Expedia and Priceline dominating this space. Players from emerging markets are also gaining ground, like the Chinese online travel agency Ctrip.
  • Mobile travel bookings are becoming significant globally, reaching double-digit shares of online sales for some key players in the online travel agency and hotel categories in 2012.

WTM 13

The Global Trends Report 2013 reveals how travel players are differentiating and innovating their products and services, all while embracing social media.

Non-traditional demographic groups are emerging with PANKs ‘Professional Aunt, No Kids,’ a new target market in the US, while child friendly and multi-generational safaris in Africa are growing more popular.

We see that business models are adapting to suit customers’ needs, where low-cost carriers are going upmarket in the Middle East and hotels offer microstays. Peer-to-peer continues to make inroads despite legislative hurdles. The lure of the East grows apace with cruise operators diving into the Chinese market.

Social media channels are important to improving the customer experience, as seen with the emergence of the mobile concierge, while in India, social channels are giving online travel companies’ sales a welcome boost.

Here are the main identified trends per region:

  • AmericasPANKs – A New Demographic

The travel industry is starting to cater to the ‘Professional Aunt, No Kids’  demographic.

  • UK: Travel Happiness Index provides a unique measurement of customer satisfaction via its happiness scores for airlines.

  • Europe: Next Generation Peer-to-Peer Travel

Peer-to-peer travel services are recording strong growth in Europe,  offering authentic experiences at affordable prices.

  • Middle East: Low-Cost Goes Upmarket

Middle Eastern consumers have a penchant for luxury, which has led LCCs to introduce business class-style services.

  • Africa: The Big Five with Your Little One

Child-focused safaris in Africa are becoming more popular, driven by demand for multi-generational holidays.

  • Asia: Fight for Cruise Control in China

China is set to become a key market for cruise companies as this new type of holiday rises in popularity.

  • India: The Travel Social Shake-Up

Indian online travel players are using social media more effectively to target young urban consumers.

  • Global Village: Vacancy on Demand – Chasing the 24-hour Traveller 

Microstays have emerged as an attractive means of boosting hotel revenues, by targeting business travellers on the move.

  • Travel Technology: Mobile Concierge

Travel companies are increasingly using mobile channels to satisfy customers’ needs before, during and after the trip.

You can find the Full WTM Global Trends 2013 report here

and check out TrendSpotting 2013 for all the latest Tourism & Travel Reports

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.

European Tourism 2013: Trends & Prospects

“As 2012 was a strong year for tourism, Europe’s modest upward trend confirms the health of its tourism sector against overall economic turmoil,” according to  the European Travel Commission.

The UN World Tourism Organization expects world tourism to grow on average between 3% and 4% this year. According to the UNWTO 2013 World Tourism Barometer, growth is forecast in all world regions, with Europe (+2% to +3%) and the Americas (+3% to +4%) growing at a more moderate pace than Asia and the Pacific (+5% to +6%), Africa (+4% to +6%) and the Middle East (+0% to +5%).

European Tourism 2013 - Trends & Prospects (Q1/2013)
European Tourism 2013 – Trends & Prospects (Q1/2013)

Appetite for tourism is expected to remain through 2013

The modest upward trend in individual destinations is reinforced by key indicators from the aviation and accommodation industries.

Air transport statistics indicate that tourism demand remains robust from long-haul markets, with travel on European routes growing at a slightly faster rate moving into 2013. Occupancy in European hotels has also been higher than a year earlier, with growth apparent in all sub-regions.

For the remaining months of 2013, European destinations’ performance will largely depend on the economic performance of intra-European markets. The multi-speed economic recovery in Europe may exacerbate recent changes in travel patterns. Travel from some large Southern and Western European markets (e.g. Italy, Spain and the Netherlands) slowed down during the first months of 2013. As further low cost options are sought, demand for domestic travel in these markets may rise at the expense of international travel. On the other end, emerging markets will continue to grow in relative importance, with Russia being on the front line. Some developed markets that performed weakly in recent years may also gain importance as they release pent-up demand (e.g. France and UK).

The most attractive prospects for Europe come from long-haul markets

The European Travel Commission expects that long-haul markets will initially drive growth in 2013. Key indicators suggest further growth in travel from the US, where consumer spending has remained remarkably strong despite the threat of imminent spending cuts. Japan’s economic outlook also seems more positive, bolstered by monetary stimulus and record monetary easing. On the downside, a fall in the yen may hamper international travel.

Among the rapidly emerging markets, Chinese tourism is expected to continue soaring in most European destinations, though moving from a low base. Indian tourism demand has remained weaker compared to China in early 2013, but overall continued growth in demand is expected for this year.

European tourism growth shines light amid economic gloom

Considering the industries evident strength in 2012 while facing economic headwinds, tourism has the potential to play a key role as a tool for economic development and job creation; in Europe and worldwide.

According to the European Travel Commission, growth-supporting actions should be taken to maximize tourism contribution to weak economies, especially in Europe’s peripheral areas.

“In the immediate future, marketing and promoting Europe in overseas destinations will facilitate the rising demand for international travel, however, easing visa requirements and reducing taxation would help the industry contribute even more to broader economic development in the medium term,” according to the executive director of the European Travel Commission, Eduardo Santander.

Full Report here.

Check out the latest Tourism & Travel Trends worldwide in TrendSpotting 2013.

New Travel Trends Report 2013

The comprehensive ABTA Consumer Trends Survey sets out the reasons why the travel industry should be optimistic for 2013.

Feedback from the recently launched ABTA Consumer Trends Survey shows that holidays are the item consumers would be most unwilling to cut back on. The continued squeeze on household finances is, however, expected to see holidaymakers continue to look for good value holidays in 2013, with 7 in 10 (70%) consumers saying good value is essential or important when booking a holiday.

The outlook for the high street looks positive for 2013, with many companies continuing last year’s trend of opening flagship and “experience” stores, following in the footsteps of Apple.

Consumer sentiment towards travel agents also appears to have become more positive over the past twelve months. Customers appear to be rediscovering the benefits and skills of travel agents with the number that value their services climbing from 30% to 40%.

2013 is expected to be another good year for the all-inclusive and luxury sectors.

With continued economic uncertainty and low consumer confidence, families are expected to continue to put faith in the destinations they know best. Spain, Greece, Italy, the USA, France, Cyprus and Turkey are expected to continue to be the most popular destinations for holidaymakers in 2013.

The ABTA Consumer Trends Survey suggests that holidaymakers are feeling more adventurous going into 2013 about the types of holiday they plan to take. While demand for city breaks and beach holidays is expected to hold steady, there is an increase in demand for more active and differentiated holidays.

ABTA Travel Trends Report 2013

Key Trends 2013

1. Tailor-Made Experiences

While tailor-made tours used to be just for the luxury end of the market there are now many tour operators offering more affordable options due to the growth in popularity of this kind of holiday.

The rise of multi-centre holidays where holidaymakers may combine two or more destinations in their trip are also growing in popularity and fuelling the trend for tailor-made holidays.

2. In Search of Adventure

According to ABTA research 5% of consumers are expected to take an adventure or challenge holiday in 2013. Whether its hot air ballooning in Turkey or white water rafting in Northern Spain, tour operators are offering more options to cater for holidaymakers’ growing sense of adventure.

3. Value 

One trend expected in 2013 is for consumers to book earlier to secure good value deals for their holidays. ABTA research shows that a third (34%) of consumers booked their holiday further in advance in 2012 compared to the prior year. The top reason cited for booking further in advance was to secure better deals/cheaper prices (68%).

All-inclusives are expected to experience strong demand in 2013, building on their success in 2012.

4. Package Vs DIY 

The trend is likely to be fuelled by consumers valuing the security and cost effectiveness that package holidays provide, particularly in the current economic climate.

In 2012 nearly half (48%) of people who took an overseas holiday booked a package, compared to 42% in 2011 and 37% in 2010. The trend is particularly marked among 35-44 year olds: over half (51%) said they had booked an overseas package holiday in 2012, compared with just over a third (36%) in 2011.

The findings also show there has been a slight decrease in the number of people booking and paying for their travel and accommodation separately – or “DIY” bookings. 39% of people said they booked an overseas DIY holiday in 2012 compared to 43% in 2011.

5. Luxury – return of the big holiday 

The luxury market has performed remarkably well in recent years. 2013 is expected to be a particularly good year for luxury tour operators with some tour operators predicting that those who have held back on a big, long-haul holiday in recent years will take that trip in 2013.

6. Train, Coach and Cruise

It’s expected that in 2012 more UK passengers than ever before will have taken an ocean cruise holiday, with the figure rising to 1.72 million – 20,000 passengers more than 2011.

ABTA is also seeing a slight rise in demand for train and coach holidays, with 9% of consumers saying they plan to take a coach holiday in 2013, compared to 8% who took one  in 2012 and 9% planning a train holiday compared to 6% who took one in 2012. The increase  can be attributed to people seeking alternative options to flying, the growth of high speed rail and consumers looking for good value holidays.

7. Age group trends 

Younger travellers are taking more holidays. Those aged 15-24  took on average almost five breaks in the UK or overseas in the past 12 months compared to an average of four holidays during the same period a year ago. 25-34 year olds took an average of 4.5 holidays in the UK and overseas compared to four a year ago. Across all age groups the average number of holidays taken abroad and at home was 3.5 breaks. In total  those aged 15-34 take more holidays abroad than any other age group.

Short breaks, particularly to music festivals, are particularly popular amongst younger travellers, with 15% of those aged 15-24 planning a trip of this kind.

8. Space Tourism 

2013 will be a historic year for space tourism with the first consumer flight into space being launched by Virgin Galactic. Cost is likely to prohibit this becoming anything but a travel trend for the mega-rich in the immediate future but it is certainly a landmark event for the travel industry.

More info:

More Travel Trends? Check out TrendSpotting 2013, for the latest Tourism & Travel Trends!


and don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE to our new Blog  to receive new updates & articles straight to your email!

Destination Marketing for Business & Pleasure

The MICE industry is reportedly experiencing a ‘moderate growth’ through out 2011 and into 2012 as the need for international corporate presence increases.

As companies are now ‘savvy’ at seeking out deals, to remain competitive, suppliers will need to understand their business customer and be able to provide added value to their accommodation, travel and facility offerings.

Key trends include the identified need for better collaboration between planners and suppliers, good quality venues and facilities, and greater content for MICE. Being able to meet corporate social responsibility requests will give providers a competitive edge, sustainability will remain a key objective for companies, and growing usage of technology is already visible within the industry.

A number of reports highlight the potential increase in the industry ‘dabbling’ with virtual channels and social media. Technology and alternative virtual channels are predicted to become more mainstream as interaction, innovation and ‘connectivity’ become more important, perhaps changing the way the industry works and communicates. The online environment is no longer seen as a threat to the live event circuit, but as a tool to deliver a greater impact and involve even more professionals.

So, how have destinations recently used this environment to attract business tourism to their area?

Tourism Ireland’s Twitter Tour for MICE

Tourism Ireland’s British office recently announced a new business tourism promotion offering senior executives a chance to win a tour of Ireland by Twitter.

In collaboration with the International Special Events Society (ISES) and the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), Tourism Ireland launched a competition aimed at senior executives involved in the meetings, incentives, conferences and events (MICE) sector. The prize on offer is a ‘t’weetour’ a tour of Ireland that can be followed on Twitter.

Members of ISES and ICCA who are active in social media are being targeted to enter the competition. Three winners will be selected to travel to Ireland this month, courtesy of Tourism Ireland, and each will have their own itinerary. Winners are  invited to live tweet their experiences in Ireland, highlighting the country as a destination to their network of colleagues in the industry.


Tourism New Zealand “Beyond Convention”

Tourism New Zealand has just introduced a new campaign to internationally market the business events sector. “Beyond convention” is the creative territory that will provide an umbrella theme for all Tourism New Zealand’s destination marketing material for the business events sector.

A sneak preview of the theme and marketing material was revealed at MEETINGS 2012 at SkyCity in Auckland.

Tourism New Zealand’s General Manager Marketing Communications Justin Watson said it is the first time a creative theme has been used by the organisation for this sector. “…Beyond convention can be applied across the sector – for meetings and conferences, convention relates to the event. In the incentives space, it is more about promoting that there is nothing conventional about an incentive trip to New Zealand.”

The theme will be rolled out promoting New Zealand across a range of concepts such as “beyond the meet and greet”; “beyond the morning break” and “beyond the cityscape”.


Visit York 4 Meetings

Visit York, the city’s official tourism agency, hasjust launched a new business tourism brand: Visit York 4 Meetings.

The changes will also see the first ever ‘Visit York in London’ meet the buyer event, aimed at attracting conference buyers from London and the South, as well as a number of international business tourism marketing opportunities in partnership with Visit England.

Other projects the Visit York 4 Meetings team are working on include the Conference Ambassador Programme with 30 Ambassadors on board, a dedicated sales day working with York venue sales staff to drive business conference bookings to the city and a programme of exhibitions and workshops promoting York’s conference venues.


Study Snapshot: Hospitality Industry Trends & Marketing Plans

A new survey showing the industry’s outlook for 2012 incorporating responses from more than 9,000 accommodation owners and managers worldwide, has just been released by TripAdvisor.

The TripAdvisor 2012 Industry Index brings forward the hotel industry’s outlook for the year ahead, ranging from hotel representatives’ economic outlook to their plans to engage tech-savvy travelers.

Key findings of the survey include the fact that 58 % of global respondents, led by U.S. representatives, predict their businesses will be more profitable in 2012, while more than a third anticipate a better overall economic climate this year compared to 2011.

Many hoteliers are also planning to monitor traveler mentions of their properties on social media and roll out programs to reach travelers “on the go”, as 50% of global respondents plan to see an increase on their social media marketing budgets for 2012.

However as far as additional services are concerned 62% of accommodation owners/managers do not expect to add additional services or amenities in 2012, while 85% of global respondents do not foresee adding additional fees for services or amenities in 2012.

47 % of global respondents plan to offer a program using mobile devices (e.g. mobile apps, special offers and booking on mobile devices, etc.) to engage with travelers in 2012, with this projection strongest in Italy with a 62%, followed by U.S with a 61%. 28% of these plan to invest in mobile marketing in 2012 for the first time.

Unsurprisingly the two most popular special offers/deals that accommodation managers plan to use most often in 2012 are discounts on rooms and special services such as free wireless internet. France leads the free in -room internet access plans with a 91%.

Check out the full report here.

Check out the latest Tourism & Travel Trends for 2012


New UNWTO Report Highlights Impact of Demographic Change on Tourism

Demographic change will have major implications for the tourism sector over the coming decades, but also presents important opportunities. This is among the central findings of the recently published UNWTO/European Travel Commission (ETC) report on ‘Demographic Change and Tourism’. The report sets out the main demographic trends worldwide and in major current and emerging source markets and describes how destinations and the private sector can make the most of these in terms of product development and marketing.

Major demographic trends at the global level – rising populations, increased life expectancy, urbanization, migration, changing family structures – present fresh challenges for the tourism sector. Demographic change will impact upon the types of tourists that will travel, where they originate from, where they travel to, the types of accommodation they require and the activities they engage in while away.

Demographic Change and Tourism provides a comprehensive analysis of the major demographic trends through 2030 – by which time the world’s population is forecast to reach 8.3 billion. It outlines the impact these trends will have on tourism demand and travel behaviour overall and analyzes how destinations and companies can best adapt in order to become increasingly competitive in the market place.

According to the report, visitor’s profiles and preferences will become increasingly fragmented and destination’s competitiveness will depend on their ability to develop and market tourism products to an aging, multi-ethnic population, structured into multi-generational families Population growth and increased life expectancy, for example, will radically challenge current assumptions of ageing for tourism. Younger tourists who are still working fulltime may look to relax on holiday, while older tourists with more time on their hands and a ‘younger’ outlook may go on holiday to try new activities.

The report was officially presented by UNWTO and ETC at the recent Seminar on Demographic Change and Tourism (17 September, Vienna, Austria). The content of the study was used as a basis for the Seminar which sought to achieve a better understanding of current and future demographic changes and debate how to maximize potential opportunities for the tourism sector. Source: FreeSun

Read More at:

ETC and UNWTO International Seminar on DEMOGRAPHIC CHANGE and TOURISM

Global Demographic Change: Future Challenges

6th TourMIS Users’ Workshop