Does Chile need Country Brand??

I´ve been working and travelling around Chile for nearly a year now and after visiting some of the touristic areas and getting to know first hand business experiences, institutions and organizations I have seen the great touristic potential that this country offers. It has a diversity of ecosystems from the most arid desert of the planet, beaches, humid forests, lakes regions, and rivers with spectacular waterfalls or glaciers in the Patagonia, among many others.

There is a big push from the government institutions thanks to the tourism strategy 2012-2020 and recently have developed a national Sustainability Distinction (Certification), economical measures and aid programs for implementing sustainable management systems. In the last report from the ATDI – Adventure Tourism Development Index, Chile was ranked first in 2011 as developing country with more potential in this type of tourism.

VIsta_Chile_Chico_acantialdos

All these and many other aspects that are happening in the country makes me believe that Chile is positioning as a touristic destination at international level. In my opinion there is only a small push needed to make tourism one of the driving forces of the economy.

After carefully studying the tourism strategy, I see that is document with great potential if taken into practice but it seems that there is no common COUNTRY STRATEGY or BRAND, every territory seems to be competing with each other and not combining effort. There is no clear message from the authorities of the possibilities as a country; it’s missing the definition or how con it can be identified or differ from other destinations.

The strategy must arise from a participation process and a consultation that implies all the stakeholders, from the local population, institutions, private companies or NGOs, among others. Is necessary that the strategy comes from the Chilean society and that they feel identified so that it can work and have the expected results!

I leave you with this last comment and please feel free to leave your thoughts.

I´ve heard many different people argue that there is such a great diversity along the immense territory that it’s never been possible to create a general compelling message for the country. I believe that the Country brand should be that diversity.

Come and discover the great diversity at the end of the world.

This is just an example with which I want to begin a debate to helps us identify Chile Country strategy.

What do you think should be Chile´s Country Brand??

Link to this post in Spanish. https://royortiz.wordpress.com/2013/09/13/necesita-chile-una-marca-pais/

Future Trends in Tourism – Fitur 2013

One more year at Fitur meeting with old friends and getting to know some new professionals. This year I´ve also been able to attend several seminars of FiturTech and FiturGreen and the general message put forward is that the type of visitor is changing. Their motivations and what they look for are normally a memorable experience and we need to adapt in order to fit into this new niche that is clearly increasing in strength.

Here is a little thought;

  • In the nineties, the question was; where do you travel? The place was important, I would say I´ve been to this location or this destination.
  • At the beginning of this century the question evolved to; what did you do? Understanding that the destination is secondary and what is important is the activity, skiing, hiking, golf, among others.
  • Finally tourist of today and more importantly visitors of tomorrow seem to add to these two questions, how did you do it? & with Whom? Putting the emphasis and the importance on the experience and how unique. Move away from the traditional trip and look for something different with local people who know the destination and are able to offer something exclusive, creating that memorable experience to the visitor.

As a responsible traveller and entrepreneur who always try to put the emphasis of promoting a sustainable tourism that puts into value the natural and cultural resources, promoting the local business and the local heritage it seems our time has come to stay. This type of tourism also helps to develop remote and deprived areas as the tourist expenditure goes directly to the local economies helping them to thrive while preserving their local heritage. It also requires lees investment in infrastructure as it uses the local systems and reduces economic speculation; meaning everybody wins.

piragua_puravera

I have met with former colleagues and have met many new consultants and travel agents that promote sustainable management practices and local development through cultural activities. There is a strong commitment to increase training for heritage interpretation and for local guides. There is also promotion of local practices, local architecture, reduction in energy consumption and use of local materials and investment in more efficient technologies.

With this post I appeal to all those friends and to all those colleagues looking to travel in a responsible way to continues to encourage this type of tourism and help us to get out of the difficult economic situation that many of us are facing.

As a final thought I´d like to think that its bee the actual crisis the turning point that has made us be aware of what really is vital. What is the most important reason why we travel? In my case and I think every day of more travelers; is to find ourselves through discovering other cultures and ways of life. The most important factor and what makes a trip memorable, leaving a trace in us; is always the people.

Let’s promote and preserve cultural and natural diversity, not only for the future generations but simply out of pure selfishness in order to be able to learn from them and be able to discover ourselves in the process.

Tourism of the Future: is the Responsible Tourism; the truly memorable tourism!

Profitability in Tourism: 1*100 = 100*1

With this post I just want to launch a personal reflection, I’m no expert on profitability or revenue management strategies, I am just a rural tourism worker who has knowledge of sustainability issues and that bases my business strategy on corporate social responsibility.Image

When I think of profit first thing that comes to mind is that Spain has always been one of the countries with more visitors worldwide, along with countries like France, the U.S., UK or Italy, *among others. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tourism). The problem is that when we look at the revenues generated by the large number of tourists we realize that we are not getting all the juice; the full potential of the large number of tourists coming to our country; and more important, that repeat year after year thanks to good customer service and quality of life that we offer.

When I visited other European countries I’ve noticed that prices of accommodation, transport, activities, restaurants and others; are usually more expensive than in Spain, while the quality offered is the same or even lower in many cases. A seemingly simple solution that would lead us to improve profitability at the national level would be to adjust prices in the quality offered.

It is clear that there is the eternal debate and it’s something the companies associated with my reservation center say; “if I raise the price I will lose customers” to which I usually respond “It’s the same to earn a euro with 100 customers than 100 euros with 1 customer”

(Having clear that the quality of service and products should be treated according to their price. We must focus to a tourist who is willing to pay more).

Image

In the past few years, Spain has entered a “price war” that in my humble opinion only makes us go plugging holes in the sinking ship. We know that Spain is international kwon and recognized for its tourism quality. From my own experience I have collaborated with specialized tour operators (adventure travel) who do not know my destination (Shire of la Vera – Extremadura) but I managed to work with them thanks to the great reputation that Spain has and is something that we must work towards.

What I want to convey is that it’s time to put the Spanish tourism industry where it deserves.

  • We have a diverse natural and cultural heritage and great potential.
  • A renowned cuisine, unique products and high quality.
  • We have a tourist infrastructure that could even consider even excessive.
  • We offer high quality accommodation and diversified.
  • Quality of life and great customer service acknowledged worldwide.
  • Tourism is one of the main drivers of the Spanish economy, directly and indirectly.
  • Our highly experienced professionals and well trained guides.
  • We offer a very good security for tourists and visitors.

It’s time to use the tourism sector as the driving force (engine) of development, creation of skilled jobs and position ourselves as a world leader in quality and sustainability.

We are seeing a clear shift in consumption patterns and there are innovative tools and new technologies that bring us anywhere in the world at minimal cost. Spain is currently in a critical situation like many other countries and it is time that we push what we do best, and let us develop the resources and culture that makes millions of tourists repeat our destination year after year.

Image

I return to the title phrase:

“It’s the same earning 100 euros with a client that 1 euro with 100 clients”

I would go even further; as fewer tourists;

  • It means less pressure on the territory.
  • Less impact on natural environments.
  • Less impact on the historical and artistic heritage.
  • Less need to increase tourism infrastructure.
  • Be able to better serve visitors.
  • It allows us to focus on improving the quality and sustainability.
  • Preserve our culture and put into value.
  • Promote the development of tourism specialists.
  • Increase skilled employment.
  • Position as reference for tourists worldwide.
  • Find new market niches new tourists who want something more and are willing to pay.
  • Move to the new tourist looking for unique experiences, learn about the culture and customs of the places you visit, enjoy nature and who is willing to pay a little more for it.
  • Create a model of sustainable tourism development that lasts over time and puts into value the place, culture, nature and local wealth.

I leave this thought:

Is it possible to increase profitability through focus on quality tourism and based on attracting responsible tourists; by them we mean those who seek to know the nature, culture and cuisine of a region putting them into value its resources?

Do you think Spain can become a world leader in responsible tourism?

Follow this and other related post on our Blog Sustainable Thinking. (https://royortiz.wordpress.com/)

Transformative Learning – Inspire

This was the final presentation of the ATWS in Scotland. It followed the title Inspire, and it was a breathtaking intervention with a lot of emotion and value. Truly inspiring!

Dr. Sakena Yacoobi is Executive Director of the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL), an Afghan women-led NGO she founded in 1995. Established to provide teacher training, education and health services to women and children, over 7 million have benefited from AIL’s programs to date. Sakena’s vision of a healthier Afghanistan evolved after watching her mother give birth to 15 children, only to have 5 children survive. Under Sakena’s leadership, AIL has established itself as a visionary organization which works at the grassroots level and empowers women and communities to bring education and health services to poor rural and urban girls and women, as well as other disenfranchised Afghans. AIL was the first organization to offer human rights and leadership training to Afghan women in the 1990s. AIL supported 80 underground home schools for 3000 girls in Afghanistan during the Taliban regime. AIL was first to open Women’s Learning Centers for Afghan women—a concept now copied by many organizations throughout Afghanistan. Dr. Yacoobi has received multiple recognition-of-service awards in Afghanistan.ATWS Scotland Inspire

Who she is:

Not much more can be said to this introduction. She was the first in her family to be able to go to university in the US, when she finished and wanted to go back to Afghanistan but the border was closed. When she finally was able to go back to her house, she created a learning center for women, which was illegal at the time.

She told some stories that she has to live through, this is an example:

One day while travelling as of any other day she got stopped by a line of armed men with riffles. When she saw the line of men in the middle of the road that she travelled every day, she was very afraid for her life and those on board the truck. The young men aged between 16-22 years wanted her to get out of the vehicle. The people inside requested for her to stay but she knew they were all in danger if she did not do what they said. Finally when she confronted the men they told her that they wanted education and they would stop her every day until she accepted, they knew that she had a school. She said she will try to look for a solution, even though the school was for women and that she had no means to take care of them. When she got to the school the phone rang and it was from the aid program, she explained what had happened to her that morning and they told her they would take care of them too. Finally next day when she was stooped she told them she would teach them to write and read but on the condition that they would come every day, clean and behave correctly. After 4months in the program they had learned to read and write and today they are their guides and protect her.

This is a true story and shows the feelings and how everybody wants to learn and be educated. They wanted to improve their life and change, education as a means of transformation and growth.

Another story was that of a young girl who wanted to go to school to read. She was told by her parents that the only way to go to school was if she woke up at 4 o’clock and did her labor before leaving every morning. For the first 4 months she did not speak a word but from the work she was doing by knitting she could pay his brother to do her work at home and take care of her 3 children. By the age of 22 she had become the leader of the local center with 300 women under her training, and people come and ask her for advice. She has become an important figure in her village and people come to her for advice. She is in the local council and is spreading the word to other areas.

This is an example of how empowerment of women thorough education can lead to development.

Finally she told us that her main aim is to make the world and the afghan women aware that they are individuals and that they can do anything they set to do. She is doing a great work in developing a women liberal right movement in Afghanistan and creating leader in that country. Empowering women in a very complicated country.

Best is to listen to her:

Do you think it´s an inspiring story?

After hearing this incredible story that I feel charged up with positive energy and feel to continue with our mission of achieving sustainable development in the region of la Vera through the promotion of responsible tourism.

Día Mundial del Turismo Responsable 2011

PURAVERA forma parte de esta iniciativa desde el año 2010 y ya hemos organizado dos concursos fotográficos con motivo de este evento, promocionando y dando difusión como representantes oficiales y reconocidos por el World Travel Market. Os dejamos link a la carpeta del concurso de Facebook de este año! (https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.216902781677308.62756.124461194254801)

Ya puedes inscribir a tu empresa dentro del “World Tourism Programme” para el Día de Turismo Responsable! La única campaña mundial, en asociación con la ONU y la Organización Mundial del Turismo (OMT), para inspirar y educar a la industria para ayudar activamente a salvar el planeta.

Son más de cien empresas de Turismo que han realizado la inscripción para utilizar el logo oficial de World Travel Market (WTM) World Responsible Tourism Day (WRTD) a partir del 09 de Noviembre de 2011.

En la actualidad las solicitudes se están revisando para garantizar que cumplan con los criterios del “WTM” y “Día Mundial del Turismo Responsable”. Una vez aprobados, los candidatos pueden utilizar el logotipo oficial para su material de difusión, campañas de ventas, marketing, papelería, correo directo y material de relaciones públicas, entre otros!

Más información en http://www.wtmwrtd.com/

 

Visual Story Telling – Producing & Publishing Quality Video on a Dime.

Speakers at this session in the Adventure Travel World Conference include;

  • Chris Noble – General Manager, WorldNomads.com
  • Davin Hutchins – Founder and CEO, NOMADSLAND.

More information about the speakers on this link: (http://www.adventuretravel.biz/connect/summit/summit-agenda/2010-featured-content/speakers/)

Quaity Video on a Dime.

  • Use video as a differentiator / inspire.
  • Story telling is key.
  • Use tweets, Facebook, press releases. (combine efforts)

HD Video is now under 1.000 Dollars. Editing distributing has become affordable.

Signature Videos:

  • 4 or 5 minutes
  • Multiple versions (for T.V., for Youtube, spot, event, etc.)
  • Story telling is key, emotional video, tell an experience, and make people feel part of.

Problem with current videos:

  • Week stories, week interviews, week characters.
  • Need to plan, look for the most suitable story, promote and boost the best features.
  • Amateurish video (no budget) bad quality can be understood if it’s done by our clients, with a certain camera.
  • Be authentic, genuine feeling; try to express an adventure a unique experience.
  • Video tell a story, emotion, interview staff, and look for a unique story.
  • Try to capture the attention in the beginning, tell a story and the impact on the ending!
  • Hotel – Pictures might be better, stationary.
  • PPP (People, Planet, Profit) – reduce carbon footprint, unique person, trip experience.
  • Soft selling, no not be commercially aggressive. Just mention is a great place and is brought to you by us!

Dragonfly Expeditions & Nomads Land, example of video, storytelling: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sozYI8yhgUY

World Nomads also showed a video of a development project in Costa Rica, but it’s still not available as its part of a series of documentaries: I leave a link to their website where there are many example videos:

Planning: (type of travel stories)

  • Story of the new or good
  • Story of the people
  • Story took place in an ecosystem, environment, surrounding
  • Story of trekking, activity
  • Story of the founder, traveller’s information, staff.

What camera to buy:

  • Sony, hard drive, extra batteries, computer backup. (1.000 $).
  • Canon Camera with HD (1.000 $).
  • Revel T+I HD videos 19×20 full HD.
  • Different outlets, products – same video can be edited to be used in different events, platforms. The important is to record in high quality in order to be able to modify, use different segments, versions, for website, YouTube, sell your product or promote the destination, among others. (B-B, B-C, Episodes, etc.)

Camera characteristics:

  • Flipcams- take it with you in helmet (small for adventure stories, where a conventional camera is difficult, quality is not that good but viewer understand so it’s no problem, can even be given to tourist for capturing special moments.
  • Audio: use external audio (directional, etc. pump audio, license music)
  • Flash memory or hard drives (local Audio Band)
  • Lighting (very important, (information available at the ATTA´s Hub).
  • Battery life (charge and buy extra for whole day shooting).

Use strong characters

  • Use interviews (anchor interviews 30 minutes). Unite questions between the ones interviewed so that you can move from one to another character. Use personal, historical, mechanical, transitional, philosophical or whatever ideas that are the strong and differentiating characteristic of the company, destination.

Script writing

Transcribe everything; write what to do, create a paper cut, what you are going to do! One page is about two minutes of filming! Record short scenes never more than 10 seconds (the less time and more diverse the better).

Editing:

  • Never more than 20 seconds (except interview)
  • Ideal is 4 to 5 seconds!
  • Tools
    • Windows – Adobe premiere, Sony vegas, movie maker.
    • Mac: Final cut studio, final cut express, Imovie.
    • Always good to have B-role: this is material of scenery, beautiful features, sunsets, landscapes, visitors, film for the editing for crafting the story, set the mood. (always well categorized will aid with professional teams, will reduce costs if you can give this material)
    • ½ of the budget is for editing, 1 day shoot takes two days editing!

Video Hosting:

  • Think of Ipad, Iphone, Mac! Make them available for all platforms.
  • YouTube; Free / HD / Mobile compatibility /
    • Mediocre analytics, views, referring rate, sharing engagement

Managing Expectations:

  • YouTube; do not expect to get all your visits from this channel alone, use leads, from blog, promotion in order to get significant impact and views.
  • Do something to ignite the video!
  • Singular vs Collective voice (me, me, me / us, us, us) conservancy spirit, us believe more people do it in our community destination. Promote more videos.
  • These are just tools, it requires good marketing (conventional) connect tell people. Mix of traditional and social marketing is vital.
  • Promote interactions, What do you think?, ask for comments, send video, share.
  • New conscious / broad audience.

Distribution:

  • Google displays, ads, ad-words, Facebook adds.
  • Email, Facebook, YouTube, connet the different means of communication, marketing.
  • Happy if a visitor is in the website for 5 minutes.
  • Facebook 1 ½ minutes.
  • Think of users with small screen i.e. IPhone.
  • We have the first 10 seconds to draw them and keep them! Reach media.

 

 

In conclusion, we identify that the realization of commercial and advertising travel videos can be done at a relatively low cost and with a professional finish when we plan properly.

Sustainable Tourism Best Practices: From theory to Action

This session focused on real case studies on best practices for the promotion of sustainable tourism. How to achieve the theoretical goals and how to carry out these practices in the real world:

Some of the speakers in this session included;

You may find more information about the speakers in the following link: (http://www.adventuretravel.biz/connect/summit/summit-agenda/2010-featured-content/speakers/).

At the beginning the idea that there is a growing threat from mass tourism was put forward. The middle class population of china and India is growing dramatically and tourism is a fast growing market in these regions. These middle class people will be travellers in the near future and we have to target them and be careful with the consequences that will result. One of the key issues that we need to address is to harmonize and group the different certifications of:

  • Green tourism.
  • Ecotourism.
  • Cultural tourism.
  • Adventure travel.
  • Community tourism.
  • Sustainable tourism.

The GSCT is developing a global standard on sustainable practices in tourism:

The Global Sustainability Tourism Criteria.

Erika Harms is the Executive Director of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) and Senior Advisor on Tourism at the United Nations Foundation. In this role, Ms. Harms manages and oversees the implementation of activities under the framework of the GTSC, a cutting edge initiative that provides a clear set of standards, protocols, processes and measurements for how businesses can better the planet and practice sustainable tourism.

She set out to explain the process of elaborating the guide which has been summarized into 37 criteria and some of the goals that have been achieved include;

  • Created a platform for information exchange and the feedback process.
  • Maximize and promote collaboration of all the stakeholders
  • Cultural aspects of different communities
  • Reduce negative impacts, (not only economic but also environmental and social)
  • Develop the local economy,

The criteria is set to mark a minimum level, is used as a guideline, it’s a baseline accredited standard, it certifies the certifiers. It is based on the 4500 existing standards and more than 50 certifications. It’s been a long consultative process where all stakeholders have given their input.

There are four main actions or principles in which the indicators have been structured. The indicators will be defined locally, from the global principles or guidelines.

  1. Demonstrate effective sustainable management.
  2. Maximize social-economic impacts.
  3. Minimize the cultural negative impacts.
  4. Minimize the environmental negative impacts.

Implement criteria trough the Global Sustainable Tourism Council

  • Sets out to transmit, communicate, expand the criteria, best practices
  • Educate about the sustainability principles
  • Generate and increase market share
  • Increase public awareness.
  • Collaboration between tour operators, hotels, transport and all the key stakeholders.

After the introduction of the Criteria we have some practical examples form the speakers.

Starting with Mandip Singh Soin FRGS; who likes to be described as a Mountaineer, Explorer, Eco-tourism & Adventure Travel Specialist and Motivational Speaker.

Mandip is the only Indian to be awarded the Ness Award by the Royal Geographical Society, UK, for mountaineering and polar expeditions and encouragement of youth exploration. He is the Founder President of the Ecotourism Society of India and a Judge for the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards for the World Travel & Tourism Council.

After more than 30 years in the Himalayan doing diverse expeditions, he has been being doing diverse project for the development of remote areas. He focuses on identifying the local issues, it is vital for the sustainable development to use the local knowledge and it´s key to empower the local population and understand what their real needs are.

The second speaker was Lennart Pittja of Pathfinder Lapland; a Sami person from Sweden who started his business as a small family company in 1995. Their philosophy includes:

We work close with nature and are proud of our origin and our history. We wish to spread knowledge about Sami culture, but also how to enjoy being close to animals and nature. For reasons of sustainability and “Natures Best” we always find new trails, a way of not leaving marks behind us“.

Vägvisaren – Pathfinder Lapland’s products are certified as “Natures Best” by the Swedish Eco-tourism Society, one of the first systems in the world for Eco-tourism certification.

He focuses on 6 pillars:

  • Education culture
  • Local economy
  • Environmental impact
  • Conservation
  • Create responsibility, respect from guests to their culture
  • Quality, reliable.

The success factors that he has identified include;

  • Right Staff
  • Government Support
  • National Label
  • Stakeholder process
  • Practical tool
  • Local and social content (Create rural value for visitors)

Visit Sápmi, has developed Sustainability Criteria including Social and Cultural Aspects of the Samis.

Tourism Community Management plan.

Lennard works normally with small groups, 5 or 6 days journeys in the Lapland sami region. The trip is to guide the reindeer between Sweden and Norway. (Sapmi: area or land, Sami is the person) Their parents and ancestors where reindeer herder and wanted to keep their traditions and cultural heritage. Visitor can experience being reindeer herders for the spring Migration.

Next speaker was Federico Solano who brought the approach from the Rainforest Alliance. The programs they are developing in order to certify organizations with the rainforest alliance badge. The programs include agriculture, forest and now they are beginning with the tourism one. The main goal s of the tourism program includes;

  • Improve operations, become more sustainable in the whole process
  • Build business awareness and increase in numbers.
  • Create global standards that can be compared in different locations.
  • GSTC are a guideline for companies to follow if they want to improve their behavior, become more transparent and responsible for their operations.

Global Sustainability Tourism Criteria as backbone of Training Manuals:

  • Best management goals of sustainable tourism.
  • Tool for operators.
  • Best Management Guides for communities.
  • Heritage based tourism (UN Guidelines).

www.sustainabletrip.org

For the last 8 years they have been looking at 100 inbound and 500 outbound tour operators. Now they are in the process of creating a blog where they will share the experiences.

GSTC helps to:

  • Create a common language worldwide.
  • Strengthen organization through its tools.
  • Increase benefits to organizations and local communities.
  • Establish partnerships, connect stakeholders.
  • Accomplish their mission: which is to conserve and broaden sustainability issues to more population, increase awareness.

What do you think of this tourism criteria, could you be interested in been certified in sustainability issues?

This certification is a guideline and all indicators and action differ from location to location but the principles are global. Do you think this is a correct approach?