This session began with Christina Heyniger who is the President of Xola Consulting, Inc., which she founded in 2004. She works with governments, entrepreneurs and community tourism interests to develop and market eco/nature/adventure tourism products and services. They have supported clients in Latin America, Asia, Europe and the United States. She introduced the different participants and was the manager of the session. This session wanted to put forward the difficulties and success of some new destinations and how they are trying to establish themselves as adventure travel, responsible or eco-tourism destinations.
More information about the speakers: (http://www.adventuretravel.biz/connect/summit/summit-agenda/2010-featured-content/speakers/)
First speaker was Liza Masias – Director for Business Development Sales & Marketing, InKaterra. Liza acts as liaison between InKaterra and its clients and partners. She has broad experience in hotel management, conservation and fund raising, and a good understanding of corporate social responsibility and sustainable development issues.
Liza previously worked for the Four Seasons Hotel Company, Conservation International, the Brazilian Foundation for Sustainable Development, Special Events Coordinator for The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, DC, and Director for Special Events for the National Museum of the American Indian at the Smithsonian Institution, DC, and most recently Assistant Analyst for InSpire Invest in the area of Social and Environmental Corporate Responsibility, Oslo, Norway. Liza holds a Bachelor of Science in Hotel Administration from Cornell University.
She focused on the business development of InKaterra in Peru. This is a case study of good practices. She has achieved this great success in such an isolated area thanks to the long term conservation projects that they run parallel to their accommodation and touristic operations. They have investigations running for 20 years which aids in Latin American countries were instability can lead to great changes when political power changes. The other key issue is that company has sustainability within the company and transmitted to all the workers. She says how thanks to the investigation programs that they run they have been able to survive some of the difficulties that the country has had to live by. This is a great example of ecological research for conservation funded by tourism activity.
The second speaker is Mads Pihl, a tourism consultant in Greenland’s Destination Arctic Circle Region, an emerging adventure destination on Greenland’s West Coast.
He was once a social anthropologist but nowadays those skills are employed in a bottom-up approach to destination management in a vast Arctic region where tourism actors are few and far apart.
He spends most of his time either on the road connecting with local companies, encouraging networking and collaboration or he develops an online presence for the regional brand through various social media and websites.
Greenland is approximately the size of Mexico and the region where he works is the size of Greece.
He begins his presentation with the idea that Costa Rica was the first Marketing Emerging communities (1998) focusing on adventure travel but since there has been other 15 countries in the world with the same focus.
Some key issues that were brought up in the session include:
- We are not alone, bring NGO,s, Boards, Private business to work together as a destination.
- Connect routes, use nearby destinations that are more known and promote collaboration.
- Cooperatives: Ho to make decisions, how to empower, how to train guides in order to offer a unique and wonderful experience.
- Partnership with local, what to do if the visitor are not coming. Service is vital and the local people must be trained and be aware of what we want to achieve and promote local goods, produce and services.
- Attract private capital (Eco-lodge) Facilitate (Equity, state, ownership)
- Responsible investment. (make money but also develop the region and conserve the resources)
- What do you sell, how you market, what’s different, strategic positioning. How do we differentiate from other emerging markets!
- Market; analyze what market, what is interesting, link to other existing markets, potential, future trends, new tourist needs, among others.
- Accessibility: easy to get to, ways to improve, very important for tour operators.
- Identify the Problem – Opportunity. I.e. what is causing the threat to conservation; is there a need to change (Social Employment); design tourism offer to develop and support local communities.
- Turn the challenge into an Asset.
- Developing destinations need to offer the link between education and training of local population is vital.
- Use luxury like stay in your rucksack in a unique environment experiencing a place where very few people have visited. I.e. Greenland; sleeping on a dog pulled sledge.
- What is first, accommodation or services? Infrastructure or experience
Stanley Crossick Blog: http://crossick.blogactiv.eu/author/crossick/
European China and US relations Blog!
Private company & Administration
Management in private involves good relations with both local and international partners. You have to be present in order to adapt to changes (be out there business and associations). BE part of the local community but also market internationally, awards always help to create an image for your company or destination.
Tour operators and DMO´s (Destination Management Operators) have to work together to create products and services that follow the destination strategy. Private normally moves quicker that the public institutions so we have to take this into account. Is very important to never be isolated, connect with everyone in your area, with turoperators, reservations, local business, competition, administrational the key stakeholders.
In order to create a new destination it is key to create a close cooperation between local administration and business and to work on a joint strategy where the efforts of both are mutually reinforcing.
What are the most important aspects to create a new destination?