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In Week 5 of the #DTTT’s Weekly Tourism Industry Impact Call series, we followed the progress of more destinations as we learnt about their recovery strategies. Sharing perspectives and solutions with a wide-range of key industry experts. Each session is providing more clarity of the COVID-19 situation from an industry perspective, and the impact it is having worldwide. In our key takeaways we captured the latest insights.

Every Tuesday at 14:00 GMT / 15:00 CET, we will hold a weekly 30 minute 'Tourism Impact Call' to give the lay of the land in terms of what's happening, how the industry is responding and we will provide a weekly summary. Open to all, every perspective welcome.  Join Call

Week 5 - 14/04/2020

This week we welcomed Visit Inverness Loch Ness and industry expert Giovanna Tosetto, who shared their insights and recovery strategies. The priority for many destinations now is to support local businesses and focus on regional tourism. Many destinations are now starting to prepare for recovery, with initiatives in place that involve the local communities and collaborative DMO efforts.

Key takeaways from the industry 

 

Destinations are the new resource hubs

In responding to the local community and visitors, destinations are becoming a key resource hub, not just to potential visitors but to locals who are sourcing shopping, gifts and amenities online. Antwerp Tourism is a great example of this, having created an online e-shop, bringing shops and restaurants in Antwerp to people at home. Antwerp contacted businesses that were closed to get them to sign up and formed a successful collaboration. This initiative is key to supporting local businesses. 

Local businesses must go digital

The impact of COVID-19 is not as limited as we hope it would be. The remote lifestyle is likely to go on for quite some time. Therefore businesses need to adapt and increase their online presence by staying visible and top of people’s minds. Businesses must go digital in order to reach their potential customers who now have plenty of time on their hands at home. It is essential for business recovery that a business is seen as open, accessible and ready to welcome customers.

Destinations need to invest in digital experiences

To capture the imagination and attention of potential visitors, destinations need to become more creative with the experiences they are offering. Digital experiences such as virtual tours, online events and live streams are now becoming key features on many DMOs websites. There is no certainty as to when people will be able to travel again, therefore destinations must bring themselves to potential visitors. Digital experiences can enhance a destination by showcasing all of its USPs and offerings to a captive audience. The use of digital technology such as Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and Mixed Reality (MR) can transform a destination and inspire visitors to book a live visit.

Destination product and businesses must adapt to survive

Seasonality and businesses closing present challenges for many destinations. Visit Inverness Loch Ness has confirmed that since COVID-19, businesses that usually shut for winter now have to stay open. They are working with large businesses to create a Winter Destination Pass, developing a better product to be ready for recovery. DMOs must use this time to review their products and see if they can improve them and adapt them. Create a product that addresses the issue of seasonality to ensure a year round revenue for the destination.

Diversify the destination’s offering 

Visit Inverness Loch Ness have implemented a strong marketing strategy. During COVID-19, they have encouraged businesses and members of the community to share their stories. They have launched a new promotion video, encouraging potential visitors to take time now to think about Scotland. Being cautious about revenue streams, Visit Inverness Loch Ness have diversified the destination’s offering to find new revenue streams. The destination has adapted so that people can have a holiday with social distancing. 

With the narrative changing quickly, Visit Inverness Loch Ness are reminding people what they have to offer, why they are unique and are developing a better product that will suit future visitors and the community. Visit Inverness Loch Ness is focused on collaboration and sharing visitors with destinations close by. They are expanding and extending the destination’s offering. Cutting back on anything that does not benefit the recovery plan. 

Destination recovery strategy will be led by local people 

A destination’s recovery strategy will be led by local people on what they can offer. By implementing strategies at a local level, a destination will be able to recover more effectively. Industry expert Giovanna Tosetto, reiterates that in order to achieve recovery, destination’s must involve the local community. They must use visitors' memories, share experiences and promote a healthier destination. Working with locals and participating in online training to keep everyone updated. Developing a new offer with the locals around nature and the different ways to appreciate the destination.  

These are some of the takeaways from our fifth weekly tourism impact call.The key focus for DMOs now is to support small businesses which need to be up and running for tourists. They must provide a hub of online and digital resources that can benefit the locals and visitors as the destination prepares for recovery. DMOs must review their destination’s product, diversify, extend and expand it so that it is a better product. Present a new offer that shows a different way to appreciate the destination. Create inspiring digital experiences and focus on delivering a product that meets the needs of the post COVID-19 traveller.

Recovery must remain the key focus, and destinations must remain agile and adaptable in order to achieve it.

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