Good Morning – First I wish to thank the organizers of this important event for inviting me back to China – a country that I am just beginning to fall in love with and hope to know much better over the coming years. My background in tourism is very varied – I’ve been working in this field now for over 35 years – as a researcher, marketer, strategist, amateur futurist, technology supplier, educator and now, my favorite role, change agent. I have several roles today: To help you see the task of preserving and rejuvenating your ancient villages in a broader context To introduce you to a new breed of traveler – “the conscious traveler” To highlight hpw you will attract, engage and support them and why you should try To give you hope and encouragement. I have titled my presentation Crossing the Chasm for a reason I am of the belief that we are not just experiencing another economic cycle and that we can return to Business as Usual again. Instead, we are at a pivotal point in human history when one way of being and doing in the world is declining and another is replacing it. In virtually every sector of human endeavour, we are “re-thinking” – questioning whether the assumptions that underpinned our normal ways of making sense of the world still work. Hence my title
It’s as if we are crossing from one side of a deep valley to another We’re walking on a tightrope – the stakes are very high – to find a way through profound change and chronic uncertainty.
One of England’s famous poets wrote the following Two roads diverged in a wood and I I took the one less traveled by And that has made all the difference I believe we are in tourism at this important crossroad We can continue down the path that has brought us to the point of transporting nearly a billion people across international borders a year and try to do what we have always done AND reap the consequences OR we can co create (create together) an alternative model for a more responsible, environmentally responsible, spiritually fulfilling and socially just version of tourism.
The scientific world uses different terms terms to describe the shift from one state or system to another: The terms “quantum leap”, paradigm shift, phase change and bifurcation all apply to varying degrees. It’s the force that Economist Schumpeter was describing when he coined the term “creative destruction”
And in case I can be accused of jumping on a bandwagon, may I indulge my ego and share a paper I wrote back in 1992 on this very topic. It’s just taken nearly 20 years for this to become the focus of popular interest and I am very excited. So what’s the relevance to your goal – that of protecting, preserving, perhaps even rejuvenating the ancient villages and the cultures that created them? Given the rules of the prevailing worldview; you will need an economic argument to justify your work on preservation and protection. You will need to show that there is a market for these places – people will come and visit them and spend money that benefits the local economy. My point is that not all tourists are equal – there’s a form of tourism that does harm and one that does good. One market will simply see these places as yet another piece of the backdrop; another item on a checklist to be ticked off, photographed and then forgotten about. Another will want to get engaged, really explore, stay longer, spend more and ensure their visit leaves a positive benefit to the host community. These travellers will go home transformed in some way and will take home more than thousands of digital images that quickly disappear into the dark recesses of their computer’s hard drive. Which market is right for you? I am using the term Conscious Travel to describe a form of travel that will increase the positive net benefit to communities and, over time, create financial sustainability to all involved and affected. Let me explain….
There are two kinds of travel – the market has split. The dominant mode is what is called “mass industrialised tourism” that really “took off” in the 1950s when tourism copied the business model developed by manufacturing and the packaged good industry. It corresponded with the rise of “mass transportation” methods like the cruise ship and more importantly what used to be called a “jumbo jet”. It plagiarised the rules used by manufacturing for operational efficiency and marketing. A trip became a product – as did the elements that made up that trip Travellers became consumers who could be segmented and their value assessed in terms of “share of wallet” Success was measured more or less exclusively in terms of more; of growth. Each year more tourists going more frequently to more places and ideally spending more. But tourism is a perishable product – you cannot warehouse the product. If you don’t sell it tpday, it’s gone forever. That tends to make sellers panic easily. So when demand goes down, the prevailing strategy has been price discounting So what began as the activity of the rich and famous is now seen as everyone’s right. We’ve created a global market of people who expect and demand comfort, convenience and ever higher standards for ever lower prices. The only way suppliers can respond to this relentless downward pressure on prices is to cut costs through various means – standardization, homogenization and automation If growth is not obtained in the margin then it has to be generated through increasing throughput or volume. That’s why virtually every destination counts feet and not benefit when it describes its progress.
Since the 70s the evidence for an alternative model has been emerging. It started out with Ecotravel in the 1970s and was considered fringe and specific to backpackers who didn’t care whether they got bitten by mosquitos or managed without a shower or soft bed. We don’t know the full size of this new market because it too has splintered into many forms but encompasses what you’ll read about in western literature as responsible tourism, sustainable tourism, geo tourism, travel by locals, green tourism, travelism and I have – for my sins-- added another term “conscious travel” I’ll explain why I developed the term conscious travel in the next few minutes but the brown shaded chart shows how this kind of travel differs.
As I mentioned before, I’ve always been interested in the deeper changes that were taking place beneath the surface of awareness but the evidence wasn’t always easy to find – especially in tourism. Because in tourism our obsession with price and our fear of losing a sale because we might be too expensive meant that we always focused on whether or not a customer would pay more for green or buy an offset and missed some of the underlying qualitative shifts in values and perception. Suffering form the impact of the global recession personally I began to look outside tourism for evidence of that shift and found plenty of rich sources. These four report covers are just a sampling of a host of research that was emerging from 2007 onwards on the impact that the recession was having in consumers. Even during the 1980s and 1990s there was evidence that a “New Consumer” was emerging. In 1990s Paul Ray and Shelly Anderson identified a market they called Cultural Creatives that numbered then some 20 million Americans and not long after the term LOHAS appeared – that stands for Lifestyles of health and Sustainabilty and described a market for organic, natural and green.
Now I have time simply to extract key points from the multiple resources reviewed. You can find far more detail on my web site: www.conscioustourism.wordpress.com I welcome you to visit and better still subscribe as I’ll be sharing more…..
These are the top five characteristics For more, please visit: http://www.conscioustourism.wordpress.com
The Conscious Trevller wants to be treated as an individual and a human being They want to relate They want a conversation a dialogue
They don’t want to deal with a faceless multinational corporation but the person who grew the rice, made the patties, wove the shawl….. They want to go home with stories and if they take back soovenirs they need to know who made them with what when and how
The newtorked commuity
The industrialised world is dying in your primary markets
PATA: Responsible Travel Forum
Crossing the Chasm – Attracting, Engaging & Supporting the Conscious Traveller China Responsible Tourism Forum, December 16 th , Beijing Anna Pollock, DestiCorp UK Ltd
Crossing the Chasm – Attracting, Engaging & Supporting the Conscious Traveller
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-- I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. (Robert Frost)
Two Roads: Two Kinds of Travel Mass Industrialised Tourism Impulse, Frequent, “a right” Comfort & Convenience The Packaged Product PRICE the decision factor VOLUME Abundance of Choice Price Transparency Commodification Standardization Homogenization Automation Sameness Customers as Targets No Frills or No Surprises SUCCESS = VOLUME OF VISITORS
Two Roads: Two Kinds of Travel Micro Travel Considered, cautious Seeking VALUE & meaning Travellers want to engage, participate Transforming VALUE & YIELD Uniqueness= scarcity Price Transparency Comparisons difficult because… Experiences Not Products Local sourcing, hand made Diversity Personal Customers are Co-creative Partners Promise of an Experience that PULLS SUCCESS = NET BENEFIT TO HOST COMMUNITY Mass Industrialised Tourism Impulse, Frequent, “a right” Comfort & Convenience The Packaged Product PRICE a key decision factor VOLUME Abundance of Choice Price Transparency Commodification Standardization Homogenization Automation Sameness Customers as Targets No Frills or No Surprises SUCCESS = VOLUME OF VISITORS
RECESSION AS PUNCTUATION POINT? Don Tapscott RECESSION AS CHANGE ACCELERATOR Anna Pollock
New Consumers still want MORE, but they are defining that differently. Not more shiny trifles and mountains of consumer goods but, rather, more meaning, more deeply felt connections, more substance and a greater sense of purpose. <ul><li>72% say they are trying to improve the way they live </li></ul><ul><li>71% are trying to improve who they are as individuals </li></ul><ul><li>59% worry that society has grown too disconnected from the natural world </li></ul><ul><li>51% would like to be part of some important cause </li></ul><ul><li>67% believe most people would be better off if they lived more simply </li></ul><ul><li>69% claim to be smarter shoppers than they were a few years ago </li></ul><ul><li>64% say that making environmentally friendly choices makes them feel good about themselves. </li></ul>
Source: Euro RSCG The New Consumer in the Era of Mindful Spending
Source: The Darwinian Gale , The Futures Company 2010
1950s – 1990s 1990s - 2007 After 2008 Source: The Darwinian Gale , The Futures Company 2010
<ul><li>Youthful, wired, highly educated, majority female </li></ul><ul><li>Three times more likely to try new things </li></ul><ul><li>Three times more likely to reward or punish a brand based on corporate practice </li></ul><ul><li>Dedicated “box turner” but doesn’t trust corporate declaration </li></ul><ul><li>One in four says they have no way of knowing if the product is green or does what it claims </li></ul><ul><li>Even in the recession, the majority believe it important to make choices based on environmental and social benefits </li></ul><ul><li>More than half are willing to pay more for sustainable brands </li></ul>The Conscious Consumer The Conscious Consumer Report , 2009, BBMG
Why Attract, Engage & Support the Conscious Traveller? If you get it right, they’ll .. <ul><li>Reward you with higher yields </li></ul><ul><li>Help market your destination, or company </li></ul><ul><li>Favour responsible suppliers and encourage “best practice” and accelerate innovation </li></ul><ul><li>Help ensure you stay ahead of demand </li></ul>
Conscious Travellers... the essentials <ul><li>Wired to Share </li></ul><ul><li>Wired to Care </li></ul><ul><li>Want transformative experiences </li></ul><ul><li>Want to relate </li></ul><ul><li>Seek purpose and meaning </li></ul>
New Consumers are more than twice as likely to <ul><li>Be the first to try new things </li></ul><ul><li>Reward and punish brands based on their corporate practices </li></ul><ul><li>Recommend their brands across their social networks by blogging, posting and reviewing products in their own lives </li></ul>
“ Enlighteneds” are three times more influential than aspirationals 2. Conscious Travellers are Wired to CARE
Conscious Travellers are Wired to CARE “ Purpose is the new passion Participation in the new consumption” BBMG
Conscious Travellers are Wired to ENGAGE with what’s REAL, ONE-OFF, UNIQUE and LOCAL <ul><li>Hungry for information BEFORE they leave </li></ul><ul><li>Keen to participate DURING their visit (Note: they are not buying products!) </li></ul><ul><li>Want to take home and share memories AFTER their visit. </li></ul>