Tuesday, October 05, 2010

World Tourism Conference Sabah - Tourists more demanding and fragmented in their holidays

KOTA KINABALU: Tourists now are more demanding and fragmented in their holidays, said Booz & Company senior vice president Dr Jurgen Ringbeck.

Instead of taking one or two holiday trips a year, Ringbeck said tourists now preferred splitting their holidays by taking shorter trips two to five times annually.

He added that tourists also looked for variety in their holidays, which could be a mixture of adventure, five-star experience and sports in a single trip.

Hence, Ringbeck stressed the need to sharpen brand positioning and creating unique experience for customers.

“We are also seeing more young Asians and baby boomers on holiday,” he added while speaking at the World Tourism Conference 2010 at the Magellan Sutera here yesterday.

Another factor tourists were looking into was environmental sustainability in their holiday trips.

Pollutions and carbon footprints were among the factors that tourists would take into account, he said.

Ringbeck also talked on the the increased pressure in price, which included the cost of energy.

“In the early days, fuel accounted for 10 per cent of the airline cost, now it has gone up to 25 per cent and we expect it to reach up to 40 per cent in the next 20 years.”

Meanwhile, director of Making Tourism Work Associates Susan Warren, the first keynote speaker of the day, stressed the importance of branding and managing a country’s reputation to the tourism industry.

She said country branding encompassed politics, trade, tourism, culture and community with the aim to improve its reputation in order to drive economic value and sustainable practices.

“Branding requires researching on the country’s image, evaluate its strengths and weaknesses, then build and communicate differentiating and winning characteristics.”

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