Is it the responsibility of the private or the public sector when it comes to marketing destinations and countries to tourists? Anchor
It seems that the private sector increasingly has to carry the burden of costs, but is that right or wrong?
If a tourism industry already operates a government-imposed tourism levy on revenue or bed nights, then where is that money spent and on what, if not on a national tourism strategy and promotions? How does that expenditure get measured? Who allocates budget and who sees the actual benefit of return on investment?
In all cases there must be accountability and transparency.
Let’s take the analogy of a vast goldfish bowl where the fish in the bowl represent properties in the destinations within a country and the bowl represents the country. Should you be concentrating on marketing the bowl itself or your fish within?
And what if potential tourists are looking elsewhere?
Should you persuade them to look among the 1 000 fish – or properties – to try and see yours or should you help make them start looking at the bowl first and then ensure your ‘fish’ is Nemo-like in its ability to stand out?
But if potential tourists are not looking at the bowl anyway, then surely they can’t and won’t see your fish?
In addition to that, if the water (perception) is cloudy or dirty, then who sees what anyway?
And so we come back to who has responsibility for what?
My view is that we have a shared responsibility and, more often than not, the private sector has more energy, more urgency, a more creative network and the ability to make quicker, better decisions because there is far less bureaucracy and red tape.
Aligned vision, mutual support and respect are paramount, of course, but ensuring that our destination within the country has visibility first, can then lead to better profile for our property, and in turn more success, assuming we then deliver the desired experience and expectations of the guest.
This is an open-ended question that evokes many opinions and contradictions but is too important to ignore, and so I leave it to the market to consider the answer.
What are your thoughts on destination markets and the role of the public and private sector? Let us know in the comments below.