New markets – new policies

"The International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP) is an advocate of inclusive debates, as a contribution to informed decision making.

New markets – new policies

“The International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP) is an advocate of inclusive debates, as a contribution to informed decision making. This is why we will promote initiatives like last week’s discussion by our founding partner Professor Geoffrey Lipman and his going forward.”

Last week’s event was co-hosted with the UK Tourism Society. The purpose was an informal discussion on new markets – new policies.

South Africa’s Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk and Chairman of VisitBritain Christopher Rodrigues were the keynote speakers with 50 invited UK-based participants from across the industry.

Some 50 invitees from government, industry, media, academia and the NGO community contributed to a lively meeting organized by and the Tourism Society.

It opened with keynotes from Marthinus van Schalkwyk, Minister of Tourism South Africa, and Christopher Rodrigues CBE, Chair of VisitBritain, followed by an interactive discussion moderated by Professor Geoffrey Lipman.

The main issues are set out below as part of a continuing public policy dialogue that greenearth intends to promote with support from ICTP.

Marthinus van Schalkwyk

• We must pro-actively build on the importance of the G20’s recognition of travel and tourism’s economic job creation and development with concrete programs.

• These should include more growth management and more domestic market development, and reflect the shifting importance of major emerging markets, which are stimulating new demand and new destinations. In this context, we should not overlook Africa’s potential. While tourism globally grew by 4% last year, South Africa enjoyed a 10% increase in arrivals, with Angola and Nigeria as the top spenders.

• Increased air access – the “midwife” of tourism (including South/South) – would drive even greater demand. And corollary pressure must be maintained on travel facilitation as a priority for both the public and private sectors – with e-visas as a critical focal point.

• Hyperconnectivity is a reality that presents great product and service opportunities, but also great personal and industry security risks – we must be in the forefront of responding to both sides of the equation.

• We need a fair share of development funding. An industry that can be a positive change agent, and which contributes some 10% of global GDP, must get more than the current 0.9% of development aid flows.

Christopher Rodrigues

• The UK reflects these trends – and it is bucking traditional post-big event patterns, with a record 10% rise in overseas visitor spend in the first 5 months of 2013. In 2009-2011, 30% of all new jobs in the UK were in travel and tourism.

• The growth has been achieved despite further cuts in a relatively small promotional budget and a slowdown in traditional markets – particularly the US and “old Europe.” Non-European markets have performed well above average, and their growth is set to continue.

• This requires a change of focus in stagnating markets, with new innovative products, smarter digital marketing and more domestic development.

• It also means recognizing that it is not all about numeric growth, there is a whole range of issues to consider, such as sustainability, advancing technology on distribution, and the role of new intermediaries.

• This will in turn require new goal setting, with engaged stakeholders who understand that it is not just about tourism, but also trade and investment. In this latter context, and with the advent of new technologies, it is increasingly recognized that it will be possible to increase border flows without compromising security.

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In the ensuing rich discussion, the following points were made:

• The industry recognizes that growth is not the only goal, but then quotes growth arrival or revenue figures, with little attempt to put in place comparable metrics for environmental or social factors. There is an urgent need for an overall national and international balance sheet approach.

• We need to pay greater attention to supply as well as to demand – with a particular emphasis on securing new investment.

• We should be looking at how to create new products for new types of travelers from emerging markets – designed also to provide broad social inclusion, not simply for high-end business and leisure travelers.

• It is difficult to consider “tourism for all” when total prices are kept high by low competition and high add-on taxes at national and market level – this is often the case in emerging markets with monopoly air services.

• Air access is very important, particularly where there is no alternative, but overprotection of a so-called national airline or airport can result in huge job losses in the tourism value chain from inadequate price/quality competition.

• We need to put more emphasis on enhancing domestic products, both to stimulate consumption and as a catalyst for international attractiveness.

• There should also be stronger local promotion, now that social media is reducing the cost and increasing the possibilities.

• There should be greater recognition of the role/potential of social enterprise, greater engagement in social entrepreneurship, and greater reflection on industry strategies. This would open up new investment possibilities – including funding from non-traditional EU, trade and development agencies.

• Major innovations are already in play that will help meet evolving sustainability goals – low carbon cities with clean tech-programmed buildings, electric transport, smart grids, super Wi-Fi, mobile-based data, etc. Poorer countries will be able to leapfrog through the green growth transformation.

• New border facilitation initiatives are underway as a result of the G20 visa initiative. These should be intensified – the policy should go beyond visas to the entire clearance process with more well-trained, welcoming people and adequate technology for good security and speedy flows. This needs both a strategic policy vision on the value of increased tourism and a parallel operational vision on decent service.

• Technology is not an end in itself and the human service dimension remains an important quality and brand differentiator throughout the travel value chain. This aspect is also important when considering the value of jobs to staff – people should not be seen as automation options.

Contributors to the discussions included: Prof. David Airey (Surrey University); Yemi Akande (BEN TV); Aneil Bedi (M&C Saatchi); Roberto Daniele (Oxford Brookes); Paulina Godfrey (Hilton International); Prof. Harold Goodwin (Leeds Metropolitan University); Ufi Ibrahim (BHA); Helen Marano (WTTC); Nicolas Mayer (PWC); Peter Moore OBE (Brightaspect); Jim Paul (Tourism Ireland); Paul Slattery (Otus); David Tarsh (Tarsh Consult.); Adam Wu (China Business Network). – an EU based global research and commercial network to advance Green Growth & Travelism (Travel & Tourism) as a key engine of trade and development.

The Tourism Society – the UK based, professional membership body for people working in the travel and tourism industry around the world.

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