UNWTO/WTM Ministers’ Summit to Address Destination Branding | World Tourism Organization UNWTO

UNWTO logoThe 2015 UNWTO/WTM Ministers’ Summit at World Travel Market London will put a spotlight on destination branding and how it has become an increasingly complex challenge (WTM London, Tuesday, November 3, 2015).


Destination management organisations are re-evaluating their structures and strategies to adapt to new market trends created by social media and new business models, such as the so called “sharing economy” and the growing  empowering of consumers.

Moderated by CNN journalist Richard Quest, Tourism Ministers and private sector leaders from around the world will discuss Destination Branding: new challenges in a changing market.

The 2015 edition of the UNWTO/WTM Ministers’ Summit will focus on:

  • What makes a successful destination brand in today’s globalised media landscape?
  • The links between nation branding and destination branding
  • The role of social media and consumers’ engagement in destination branding
  • Reputation management and crisis communication
  • The changing role of destination marketing organisations; and
  • The contribution of the creative economy to destination branding

Confirmed speakers include;

  • Nikolina Angelkova, Minister of Tourism, Bulgaria
  • Mauricio Ventura Aragón, Minister of Tourism, Costa Rica
  • Darko Lorencin, Minister of Tourism, Croatia
  • Nicolas Petrovic, Chief Executive Officer, Eurostar International
  • Noah Tratt, Global Senior Vice President, Expedia, Inc.
  • Lee McCabe, Global Head of Travel, Facebook
  • Nayef H. Al-Fayez, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Jordan
  • Edward Zammit Lewis, Minister of Tourism, Malta
  • Magali Silva, Minister of Foreign Trade and Tourism, Peru
  • Issa Mohammed Al Mohannadi, Chairman, Qatar Tourism Authority, Qatar
  • Frantisek Palko, State Secretary, Ministry of Transport, Construction and Regional Development, Slovakia
  • Derek Hanekon, Minister of Tourism, South Africa
  • Walter Mzembi, Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Zimbabwe

The discussion will be further enriched by the participation of more than 150 Ministers and aides poised to attend the event.

“The rise of the new technologies, coupled with the global economic downturn, has brought a paradigm shift as power moves from governments to citizens and from companies to consumers. This change is having a huge impact in the tourism sector and both destinations and companies need to adjust to new challenges”, said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.

World Travel Market London, Senior Director, Simon Press, said: “The UNWTO and WTM Ministers’ Summit is a fixture in the calendar for ministers and private sector to debate the key issues facing the industry. Destination branding is becoming even more complex challenge as consumers empowered by new business models such as the sharing economy and social media have an impact on a destination’s brand and reputation. I am delighted WTM is again able to facilitate such an important conversation.”

Now in its ninth year, the UNWTO/WTM Ministers’ Summit is part of the World Travel Market London Ministerial Programme, bringing together Tourism Ministers and leading tourism experts to debate each year key issues affecting the sector.

Source: UNWTO/WTM Ministers’ Summit to Address Destination Branding | World Tourism Organization UNWTO

3 Marketing Lessons From The Top Travel Brand Videos On Social

Digital video is taking off as a marketing tool, and brands are using it in more and more creative ways on social media. For travel brands – which can benefit from showcasing the visual elements of the experiences they offer – it’s especially important to have a strong video strategy.

Source: 3 Marketing Lessons From The Top Travel Brand Videos On Social 08/31/2015

Digital video is taking off as a marketing tool, and brands are using it in more and more creative ways on social media. For travel brands — which can benefit from showcasing the visual elements of the experiences they offer — it’s especially important to have a strong video strategy.

We researched the videos travel brands posted to Facebook that received the most likes, comments, and shares so far in 2015. A few clear themes emerged over and over again, giving us some insight into what makes an engaging travel video. Here are the creative marketing lessons we learned from the most engaging videos.

Tap into experiences everyone values

In the beginning of the year, Singapore Airlines created a video around something everyone can relate to: New Year’s resolutions. The footage takes a look at different groups of people and their resolutions that relate to travel. (For example, one man wants to take his family on their first family vacation ever, one woman wanted to take a solo trip, and so on). Singapore Airlines paid for their trips and documented their experiences. Much of the footage was filmed using GoPro-type devices, which gives the video a more personal vibe.

The video works especially well because it’s about something that’s consistent with an airlines brand. New Year’s resolutions are a common experience for people and travel is often a part of them. Singapore Airlines was clear about their involvement in each group’s trip, which works well because people value transparency. The video received roughly 105,000 interactions and 218,000 views. (That’s nearly one interaction for every two views.) It’s the fourth most-engaging video from a travel brand so far this year.

Give your audience an inside scoop

In February, KLM released a video demonstrating how autopilot on planes works. It gives viewers an inside look into the cockpit and the procedure of flying from the pilot’s perspective — all the way from takeoff to landing. The video got shared on Facebook nearly 30,000 times and was viewed over 2.2 million times. It’s the eighth most-engaging travel video this year.

The reason this video works so well is that it taps into an area of people’s imagination. Fans love to get the inside scoop into what’s going on, and they appreciate feeling like they get to access something that had been inaccessible before. That’s one of the reasons why, for example, the McDonald’s video earlier this year showing how their fries are made got a lot of attention.

Overproduction isn’t always necessary

Not every video needs the planning and precision of a full-length feature film. Social is a great place to share real things that are happening. When overproduction happens, brands can often appear ingenuine and out of touch. Sometimes, the best videos can come out of filming real people experiencing real things.

In June, Virgin Atlantic uploaded a video of a surprise they gave passengers on a Detroit flight: Richard Branson and the Virgin Atlantic team arranged for the cast of Motown the Musical to perform in the aisles in celebration of the airline’s new Detroit service. The light-hearted video gives us a glimpse into the performance and the reactions of the passengers.

It’s clear this surprise was enjoyed by more than just the passengers on the flight; it received over 86,000 interactions and was viewed almost four million times. It ranks seventh on the list of top engaging travel videos on Facebook this year.

Perhaps the best feature of a strong video strategy is being dynamic. Travel brands can approach online video in many different ways. They have a huge opportunity to showcase visual content since it’s so closely tied to their industry. It’s important for travel brands to keep exploring to figure out which ideas are a hit and which are a miss, and they should continue to test out videos on social in new ways to continue connecting with their audiences. In order to succeed in the eyes of consumers, they must be willing to explore meaningful experiences and share openly with their audiences.

The Next Big Thing In Visual Storytelling? Destination Selfies.

Source: The Next Big Thing In Visual Storytelling? Destination Selfies. – Monday, 14th September 2015 at 4Hoteliers

By Frederic Gonzalo
Monday, 14th September 2015
Travel destinations are often among leaders using digital marketing and social media to convey their message and connect with travellers and potential clientele;

Instagram continues to makes strides within the travel marketing realm, as travellers and travel brands alike grow to appreciate and use the mobile application acquired by Facebook back in 2012.

In August, Instagram announced it will evolve and move away from its known square-photo format in order to allow panoramic shots as well. Not to mention ads now rolling out to mainstream access…

Destination Selfies, Japanese Style!

And then Tourism Australia comes along, with its Giga Selfie initiative. As you can see in the video below, this campaign aims the Japanese traveller market, tapping into an already hugely popular phenomenon – taking selfies – and bringing it to the next level through this new feature.

In selected destinations, such a Gold Coast over the past weekend, Japanese travellers (or anybody using the Japanese language mobile application) can snap pictures of themselves… and reveal lots more about the location where they are at!

A great way to show more and influence travellers’ circles of friends and colleagues back in Japan. Note that Japan is an important country to Tourism Australia with more than 320,000 travellers in the past year, representing $1.4 billion in visitor spend.

How long until we see a similar campaign here in North America or in another friendly country?

Iran Sees $30 Billion From Future Tourism

P1030451Nuclear deal struck between Tehran, six world powers should see sanctions against nation beginning to ease by next year, along with lifting of travel restrictions

Source: Iran Sees $30 Billion From Future Tourism

Watch the video

The deal struck between Iran and six world powers over its nuclear program should see sanctions against the country beginning to ease by next year – and Iranians are hoping the lifting of travel restrictions could prompt an influx of international tourists. Travel agencies already are seeing an increase in demand.

With its ancient architecture, breathtaking landscapes and warm people, tour companies describe Iran as one of the unexplored jewels of the Middle East.

But the country’s isolation since the 1979 Islamic Revolution has seen visitor numbers from the West fall. The latest figures show only 90,000 arrivals from North America and the European Union in 2013.

Former diplomat Mehrdad Khonsari said there’s a lot of work to do.

“The difficulties we’ve had in Iran have definitely hurt the tourist industry in the sense that people are afraid to go. But those people that ventured and overcame these considerations and visited Iran were never sorry,” said  Khonsari.

Nuclear deal

Iran’s embassy reopened in London this week. The July deal struck by Tehran and six world powers over the country’s nuclear program is already helping ease travel restrictions. British travel agency Wild Frontiers has seen a spike in demand, according to founder Jonny Bealby.

“Two things have happened since the nuclear deal. First of all, the [British] Foreign Office have changed their advice against travel to Iran, and that’s made it much simpler for people to get insurance and that sort of thing, so the numbers have gone up again,” said Bealby. We’ve had to put on three extra departures this year alone to cope with demand for the autumn season to Iran.”

British traveler Buggsie Heath-Brown has traveled to many corners of the globe. She is looking forward to joining one of the Iran tours later this year, saying it’s long been on her wish list.

“We decided to get on one of the first trips that we could to get out there; see the sights, meet the people before the big rush of the rest of the world.”

Major revenue

Iran says it wants to attract 20 million visitors a year by 2025, generating up to $30 billion in revenue over that time frame.

“Now that this outside face of Iran is beginning to change, I think that tourism offers a great opportunity for the Iranian economy,” said Khonsari.

Tour operators say obtaining a visa remains a major hurdle for many visitors, while international sanctions on Iran’s banking system mean that most transactions need to continue to be in cash.

The Iranian Tour Continues in Tabriz

Duncan Alexander from The Travel Marketing Store has been delivering a keynote address as the 5th Conference on Digital Marketing in Tourism in Iran.  The four city conference has been held in Terhan, Mashad, Tabriz and will be held in Banda Abbas on Thursday 3rd September.

The topic of Duncan’s presentation has been “The Impact of Technology on Travel Marketing and the opportunity for National Tourism Platforms”.  Speaking in Tabriz today Duncan stated that Iran had a unique opportunity as a nation to develop a single source, multi-language distribution platform for its tourism products.   “Should the right public private partnership be created”, he stated, “Iran could build a new generation distribution platform for its magnificent tourism products”.

P1030486Following a moving visit to the  Holy Shrine of Iman Reza in Mashad earlier this week Duncan today visited another UNESCO site, the Bazaar of Tabriz which is the largest covered Bazaar in the world. He commentated “This again, like most of the experiences we have had in the country so far, was amazing.  The Bazaar was a sensual feast of sights, sounds and smells and should be in every persons bucket list for Iran” .

The Digital Marketing in Tourism Conference, organised by media company Kaspid, has been attended by nearly 2,000 delegates so far.  “The thirst for knowledge sharing is so evident from the enthusiasm of the delegates who are keen to learn how to develop their visitor economies through studying international best practices”, stated Duncan.  “There are certainly new partnerships to be forged in this culturally and historically rich country”.

Social Media and Travel Go Hand in Hand (Infographic) | SocialTimes

Social Media and Travel Go Hand in Hand (Infographic) | SocialTimes.

Social media has provided many opportunities for businesses in all categories. Customer service, marketing, and customer engagement have all emerged as useful tools for achieving your business goals. Social media can also have unintended benefits, as more users share on specific topics. According to an infographic from Internet Marketing Inc, travel companies can benefit a lot from this specific sharing.

Facebook is one of the prime destinations for sharing life events and travel related content. 52 percent of users surveyed said their friend’s photos inspired travel plans, and 76 percent post their vacation photos to social networks.

During vacation research, 55 percent of those surveyed liked pages relating to the trip they were planning. This is a very important touch-point for travel brands, as social media is an important research tool for vacationers. If a brand is able to present itself to a vacationer then it could influence those 33 percent that change hotels, or the 7 percent that change their destination.

Brands can also influence potential customers as they research their potential vacations. Humorous posts nudging readers toward taking vacations, posting breathtaking images, interacting with consumers who reach out, and creating brand advocates are all great ways to engage users and potentially push them toward your brand.

Leveraging the power of the types of content users choose to share on certain networks can give your business model a major leg up. Engaging with those consumers who are excited about the services you provide should always be the aim of your social media activity.


Top image courtesy of Shutterstock.

International tourist arrivals up 4% in the first four months of 2015 | World Tourism Organization UNWTO

International tourist arrivals up 4% in the first four months of 2015 | World Tourism Organization UNWTO.

UNWTO logoInternational tourism demand continued to be robust between January and April 2015 with tourist arrivals increasing 4% worldwide according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. Almost all regions enjoyed strong growth. Prospects for the May-August period remain upbeat, with close to 500 million tourists expected to travel abroad during these four months.

Destinations worldwide received some 332 million international tourists (overnight visitors) between January and April 2015, 14 million more than the same period last year, corresponding to an increase of 4%.

This result follows an increase of 4.3% in 2014 and consolidates the upwards trend of international tourism in recent years (+4.5% international tourist arrivals a year on average since 2010).

By region, the Americas (+6%) led growth, followed by Europe, Asia and the Pacific and the Middle East, all recording 4% to 5% more arrivals. By subregion, Oceania and South America boasted the strongest increase (both +8%), followed by the Caribbean and Central and Eastern Europe (both +7%), the latter rebounding from last year’s decline. In Africa, demand weakened in 2014 after years of solid growth, affected mainly by the Ebola outbreak among other challenges. Limited data currently available for January-April 2015 points to a 6% decline, as African destinations struggle to recover from the misperceptions affecting the continent.

“It is encouraging to see the tourism sector consolidating its excellent results despite security concerns and unrest in many parts of our world”, said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai. “This underscores that tourism is a surprisingly resilient economic sector which increasingly contributes to development in many countries around the globe. For national governments, it is a reminder that tourism can be part of the solution to foster socio-economic development and job creation”, he added.

Strong results across many destinations with a rebound in Central and Eastern Europe

In the Americas (+6%) all four subregions continued to enjoy significant growth in January-April 2015, led by South America (+8%) and the Caribbean (+7%). Strong outbound demand from the United States fuelled results as 20 million US tourists travelled abroad through April, 7% more than during the same period last year.

Asia and the Pacific (+4%) consolidated its growth of recent years, with Oceania (+8%) and North-East Asia (+5%) in the lead. South-East Asia (+3%) recorded moderate results this four-month period as the rebound in Thailand (+25%) was offset by declines in other destinations.

Europe, the world’s most visited region, enjoyed continued strength with international tourist arrivals growing by 5% through April. Arrivals in Central and Eastern Europe increased by 7%, rebounding on the poor results of 2014 following the conflict in Ukraine and the slowdown of the Russian economy. Southern Mediterranean Europe (+5%) maintained strong growth, though for many destinations these are low season months. Western Europe and Northern Europe both enjoyed a solid 4% increase in arrivals, partly due to good results in traditional winter sports destinations.

International tourist arrivals in the Middle East are estimated to be up by 4% through April, further continuing the region’s recovery which started in 2014 after three consecutive years of declines. Africa’s international tourist numbers, on the other hand, declined by an estimated 6% as a consequence of the decrease in arrivals to North Africa (-7%) as well as to sub-Saharan Africa (-5%). Figures for both Africa and the Middle East should be read with caution, as they are based on limited available data for these regions.

“The Ebola crisis in West Africa and the security concerns are serious challenges for Africa’s tourism and for the international community as a whole. We must work together in managing and overcoming these challenges and in supporting destinations for a prompt recovery. It is important to remember that tourism is the lifeline of many communities around the world and that we face today a global threat that affects all our societies”, said Mr. Rifai.

Optimistic prospects for the coming months

Close to 500 million tourists are estimated to travel abroad between May and August 2015, the Northern Hemisphere holiday peak season, a total that accounts for some 41% of all international tourist arrivals registered in a year.

According to the latest results of the UNWTO Tourism Confidence Index, prospects for this period continue to be bullish and are the highest for this period since the pre-crisis year 2007. The sentiment is positive among all regions and areas of activity.

Business intelligence tool ForwardKeys also shows healthy growth in international air travel reservations for May-August 2015. Overall bookings are up 5% thanks to strong demand for domestic air travel (+7%) and continued growth in international travel (+4%). By region, air reservations increased most in Asia and the Pacific, the Americas and Europe, while reservations to and from Africa and the Middle East are weaker.

According to the forecast issued by UNWTO in January this year, international tourist arrivals are expected to increase by 3% to 4% for the full year 2015, in line with UNWTO’s long-term forecast of 3.8% a year for the period 2010 to 2020.

Please note that results presented here reflect preliminary data reported to date and are subject to revision.

Relevant links:

UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, including excerpt with tables on international tourism arrivals per world region for free download

UNWTO Tourism Highlights, 2015 Edition (free download)

Infographic: International Tourism in 2014 (International Tourist Arrivals and International Tourism Receipts) (pdf)

Infographic: Why Tourism Matters (pdf)

TripAdvisor will offer a million dollar digital marketing campaign to PATA CEO Challenge winners

pata logoEmerging tourism destinations have an unprecedented opportunity to boost their digital marketing campaigns, thanks to a collaborative venture between the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and TripAdvisor.

The PATA CEO Challenge offers two prizes, each valued at US$500,000, for regional, state and province tourism organisations, and secondary and tertiary cities that are able to demonstrate the uniqueness and authenticity of their heritage, customs, culture and natural beauty to local and international travellers. Awards valued at US$500,000 will be presented to the winners of each category: States, regions and provinces; and second-tier/third-tier cities.

Trip AdvisorThe winning organisations will work with dedicated teams from TripAdvisor to create unforgettable digital marketing campaigns that showcase their destinations to global stakeholders.“The PATA CEO Challenge is gathering momentum and we are receiving enquiries and entries from a very broad spectrum of new and emerging destinations. This is a remarkable opportunity to work with TripAdvisor’s digital marketing experts,” said PATA CEO Mario Hardy. “We have received many enquiries from organisations in mainland China and to assist them we are accepting entries in Simplified Chinese.”“Travellers around the world are always on the lookout for places to discover and explore.

By participating in the PATA CEO Challenge, emerging destinations will have the opportunity to showcase their unique destination to TripAdvisor’s global travel community,” said Sarah Mathews, Head of Destination Marketing, APAC at TripAdvisor. “We look forward to receiving even more creative entries as the deadline draw near.” Deadline for submissions is Thursday, October 1, 2015. The awards will be presented at the PATA Aligned Advocacy Dinner in London on November 2, when the guest of honour will be UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai

via TripAdvisor will offer a million dollar digital marketing campaign to PATA CEO Challenge winners.

The Week in Travel Stats: Learn Where Your Clients Could Be Headed Next | Travel Agent Central

The Week in Travel Stats: Learn Where Your Clients Could Be Headed Next | Travel Agent Central.

From last-minute summer road trips to a look at which destinations are trending right now, the week in travel stats provided a good glimpse into what’s hot in travel for the rest of the year.

U.S., Spain Top Most-Searched Destinations in Q2

This week travel marketing platform Sojern released a look at the most-searched destinations of the second quarter of 2015, an indicator of where travelers are looking to book at the moment.

The United States and Spain were the most-searched destinations, followed by Italy, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Portugal, Turkey, Greece and Russia. The latter re-entered the list after a quarter’s hiatus, replacing Thailand.




Beyond the top 10, here are the destinations that captured the most traveler interest by region since summer 2014:

In North America, Haiti moved up 34 ranks since summer 2014, after experiencing a dramatic decline in tourism in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake, followed by Iceland, up 11 spots.

For travelers from Western Europe, Cuba pushed up 12 places to position 41, thanks to a lot of media attention and the detente with the U.S. Czech Republic, Iceland and Romania each moved seven places up in the ranking.

In Latin America, Aruba’s appeal increased over last year, pushing it up 11 spots, followed, by Hungary, up 10 spots. The latter is one of the more affordable European destinations, as a non-Eurozone country.

In Southeast Asia, Bangladesh moved up eight spots and Qatar seven since summer 2014.

For travelers from the Middle East, Sudan gained the most popularity (up 24 spots), followed closely by Bosnia and Herzegovina (21 spots), a country which the World Tourism Organization estimates will have the third highest tourism growth rate in the world by 2020.

Read more

Top Restaurants for Last-Minute Summer Road Trips

Even as we head into August, clients could still be looking to take one last summer road trip. OpenTable has released its 2015 Summer Road Trip Restaurant Guide highlighting top eateries for your clients to visit.







Compiled by OpenTable insiders across the nation, the guide highlights culinary destinations along some of the country’s most popular road trip routes.

The OpenTable 2015 Summer Road Trip Restaurant Guide includes more than 100 restaurants, from Grace in Portland, Maine, to Meriwether’s Restaurant & Skyline Farm in Portland, Oregon. OpenTable’s regional teams around the United States curated the guide.

Source: OpenTable

1 in 4 Business Travelers Can’t Use Ride Share Services

This week also saw a flurry of research into the world of business travel from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Convention 2015.

As part of a panel discussion at the event, the GBTA Foundation released a new report on the future of ground transportation in the sharing economy. Key takeaway: With one in four business travelers barred from using new ride share services, rental cars and taxis remain the most commonly used methods of ground transportation among business travelers.


“Our research shows one in four (24 percent) travel buyers say their company does not allow their business travelers to use ride-sharing companies, by far the highest percentage for any form of ground transportation,” said GBTA Executive Director and COO Michael W. McCormick. “In addition, a large number of companies still have not adopted policies around ride-sharing companies, revealing a need for education about the benefits and the risks. GBTA hopes this study is the start to closing that knowledge gap and we welcome an open and constructive dialogue on this topic.”

Read more

Business Travel Spending to Hit Record High of $1.25 Trillion in 2015

Another report from the GBTA Convention brought some good news for business travel. Driven by a surge in China, business travel spending is expected to hit a record high of $1.25 trillion in 2015.


Despite recent economic turbulence, China business travel will increase by 61 percent over the next five years, from $261 billion in 2014 to $420 billion in 2019. That increase is greater than the increases in business travel growth in the next 8 largest countries combined, including the U.S., Germany, India, U.K., Indonesia, France, Turkey and Japan.

“Despite recent economic speedbumps, China will pull away as the global leader in business travel over the next five years,” said McCormick. “On the horizon, we’ve identified five nations that are also seeing extraordinary growth and could very well turn into the business travel markets of the future. Another market to watch is India, which is statistically where China was 15 years ago.”