New Proposals for Revitalising Tourist Destinations
Promote specific offers for ‘Premium’ clients, provide tourist passports to encourage consumption, recruiting staff specialised in rural and sports tourism, or propose a package offer including accommodation, visits to wineries, farms, caves, surfing, walking or outdoor or activities. These are just some of the ideas that Spain’s regions are implementing to entice visitors back.
Tourist destinations everywhere have had to reorganise their plans to cope with Covid‑19 uncertainty, but some of them are implementing a range of additional actions to encourage visitors back as soon as possible. For example, Ciudad Rodrigo in the Salamanca region has created a tourist passport, available at the tourist office, explains Beatriz Jorge Carpio, the town council’s tourism manager.
As tourists make purchases around the town, they show the passport to earn points to take part in a draw, and the prize is a stay in the town for four people. “It’s a simple formula to encourage spending on tourism services. Despite the severe mobility restrictions currently in force (early December) to control the pandemic, it’s working very well,” she says.
Premium Tourism and Package Deals
The pandemic has forced Cantabria to reorganise its markets and destinations, and the region is working “on various scenarios to ensure that we’re prepared to serve any corridors that may open up and any new demand”, says Eva Bartolomé Arciniega, Tourism Manager with the regional government.
Bartolomé explains that “this summer of 2020, we achieved the best figures in Spain, and the experience has shown that we’re ahead of the game as a destination associated with sustainable and experience tourism. And that’s going to be our focus as we develop our strategy for 2021 under different scenarios: presenting Cantabria as a destination for nature, for sustainability, and open spaces, with its own distinct culture and cuisine as a differentiating aspect.”
Cantabria’s manager considers that “what people need in the current situation is slow tourism, proximity and authenticity.” But she also points out that “Premium tourism is another strategic aspect, promoting a specific offer of experiences and exclusivity.” In her opinion, “people with more purchasing power are less affected by economic downturns, and as soon as international travel corridors and regional borders open up, they’ll be eager to travel.”
Cantabria is also considering offering packages including accommodation and experiencing the region by visiting wineries, farms, and caves, and outdoor sports activities like surfing or trekking. “That kind of package can offer a safe, nature-based destination with a variety of exclusive experiences in rural environments and small towns.” All this has to be complemented with “a focussed promotion campaign with continuous online communication with clients and potential travellers, to reflect the lifestyle in an authentic, uncrowded destination.”
Raising Professional Qualification
Murcia is also working on relaunching its tourism business as quickly as possible with new attractions and appealing destinations. Sergio Montesinos manages the Promotion Office at the region’s Institute for Tourism. To achieve this goal, he believes that “we have to raise the professional qualification in the segments we cater to, as tourists increasingly demand specialisation to satisfy their needs.” And he gives an example of what to avoid: “promoting rural tourism or sports when we don’t have adequate infrastructure or personnel to be able to serve these segments.”