Travel: UN looks at growing mountain tourism sector
April 11-12 conference in Andorra to look at mountain tourism in emerging countries
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Mountain tourism has a long and storied tradition in places like the Alps of Europe and Colorado, but countries with emerging econonmies are also trying to get into the game.
The UN’s World Tourism Organization will hold a two-day conference (April 11-12) in Andorra to spotlight mountain and snow tourism, with presentations on emerging resorts in Bulgaria and Serbia, as well as a case study involving Pyeongchang, the South Korean city hosting the 2018 Winter Olympics. The full agenda is online at the conference website.
The 7th World Congress on Snow and Mountain Tourism will also focus on providing a clear understanding of the challenges and opportunities of the snow and mountain destinations and to acquire an overview of successful business models, innovation, the impact of climate change and tourism marketing during.
“The Snow and Mountain Tourism World Congress is a great opportunity for tourist experts and professionals, and especially those related to this important market, to meet, to analyse the evolution and to discuss the challenges and opportunities of the future,” said Taleb Rifai, Secretary General of the World Tourism Organisation. “The Congress is a platform for the representatives of traditional and emerging mountain resorts of the whole world to exchange best practices in product development, promotion and human resources.”
“The 2012 edition of the Snow and Mountain Tourism World Congress … will particularly stress how the new technologies are changing the sector and providing a long range tool in promoting and developing destinations. The subjects, including how tourists book and consider their stays, and the importance of on-line promotion, will undoubtedly be important in an ever more competitive market.”
A few bullet points from the agenda:
“All-season” Chinese resorts: what are their key success factors?
The example of Sun Mountain Yabuli and Adventure Mountain Chanchun, in China The company Mountain China Resorts is developing mountain resorts in China, proposing tourist activities throughout the year. It has managed to put two top-quality resorts on the market, which are competitive on an international scale.
The Serb initiative to develop the mountain tourism.
The Serb Government wants to make better use of its tourism potential. It has managed to find investors and operators for one of its mountain tourism treasures in the region of “Stara Planina”. The State is involved in the project by providing the infrastructure.
Bansko as a destination: what makes it unique and how to spread the word?
Bansko lies in the South-west of Bulgaria, a commune rich in cultural heritage and close to a large national park. It has become an international ski resort in recent years and a focus of autonomous growth in a country that is still undergoing a transition. It combines a traditional summer resort with plans to build a ski resort from scratch.
Five Mountain Tourism 2.0 strategies:
Unique experiences in new habits of consumption
Consumption habits have changed. Tourists have come into the game of the offer and demand on the Internet, and the great competitiveness between tourist companies forces operators to offer attractive destinations at reasonable prices to catch the visitors’ attention. The snow and mountain resorts must be positioned in this technological game, but with unique experiences that create alliances with visitors and by reinventing the mountain tourist offer throughout the year.
Loyalty-building through the social networks
The social networks have become an instrument to gain loyalty and also an element of personalisation to know visitors’ concerns. There is a need to create virtual communities to accompany visitors before, during and after their trip and thus to enhance the snow and mountain destinations. Empathy and connection must be achieved with the visitors using the social networks to identify their tastes, to reinvent the offer and to maintain two-way communication aimed at gaining their loyalty. The new mobile devices come into play.
The number of different messages and the excessive amount of information on the Internet are a danger to tourist operators. A destination’s Internet positioning is more important than ever to avoid it going unnoticed. An attractive product in a dreamy destination to which different emotions can be bound, all managed with good marketing strategies including video marketing amongst other things, is essential for good positioning on the net and for gaining visitors’ loyalty.
Reinventing oneself all year round
One of the aspects that will be discussed in the Congress is the reinvention of snow and mountain tourism to offer an attractive programme of activities over the four seasons. Although in winter skiing and its derivatives take the priority, in the summer an attractive product can also be offered to turn it into a unique destination 365 days a year.
Applying success strategies on the Internet
The Internet is a communicational alternative. However, excessive information can prevent the message from reaching the receiver. Mountain tourism must obviously be in these surroundings, but it is also necessary to know the success strategies in order to not to fall into ostracism and the dangers of the virtual world. Knowing in advance how to present oneself and what to offer on the net to form part of the 2.0 environment is one of the keys to success.
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