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Focus advertising on key markets (TOURISM MATTERS)


Adrian Loveridge

Focus advertising on key markets (TOURISM MATTERS)

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A RECENT ARTICLE in Business Insider entitled The 25 Economies Most Hooked On Tourism made interesting and in many ways surprising reading and reinforced my firm belief that we must evaluate our industry product, and what it delivers, much more.
Data compiled by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) listed the countries * followed by the tourism receipts per capita and average tourism spend in American dollars.
Greece: $1 209 – $965; Egypt: $1 275 – $245; Hong Kong: $1 313 – $660,
Switzerland: $1 417 – $1 405; Lebanon: $1 433 – $4 230; Croatia:  $1 523 – $865; Austria: $1 876 – $790; St Lucia: $1 985 – $1 090; Malta:  $1 990 – $1 090; French Polynesia:  $2 076 – $2 610; St Kitts and Nevis:  $2 652 – $875; Cyprus: $2 904 – $960; Cook Islands: $3 396 – $865; Palau:  $4 842 – $1 020; Antigua and Barbuda: $4 947 – $1 375; Anguilla: $5 319 –  $1 280; Bermuda: $5 451 – $1 305; Bahamas: $6 288 – $1 205; Luxembourg: $7 909 – $4 170; Cayman Islands $12 042 – $1 995; Turks and Caicos: $12 420 – $1 885; United States Virgin Islands: $12 466 – $2 495; Aruba: $14 771 – $1 445; Macao:  $16 797 – $900 and British Virgin Islands: $17 621 – $1 285.
As the most tourism dependent region in the world, it’s perhaps not unexpected that 11 of the 25 states are within the Caribbean.
But do some of the often firm  beliefs on which ‘we’ base critical planning decisions occasionally need  to be questioned?
Take the perceived attraction of sun, sea and sand, for instance.
Yet the tiny landlocked European country of Luxembourg, covering less than a thousand square miles, can boast an average visitor spend  of US$4 170.
If the information provided is accurate, then we must start asking why. What are they doing that we  are not?
Hopefully this is one of the topics included in the long awaited Tourism Master Plan.
We know that the average visitor spend on Barbados has gone down over the last two or three years, but what would be interesting is to compare with other destinations, both within the Caribbean and extraregional competitors, and ascertain if this  is typical across the board.
Demographics
Having made a living out of this sector for most of my life, I learnt  long ago the critical importance  of demographics, especially when marketing funds were limited. When, for example, as tour operators in Britain, we installed our first  custom-built computer system more than three decades ago, it was programmed to search by last name and postal code.
It wasn’t long before we realized that a higher percentage of our clients came from certain residential areas, so of course that is where we targeted our advertising budget.
I firmly believe that we have to better target our markets and look for more reasons why our cherished visitors either chose Barbados for the first time or return year after year.
* While UNWTO lists certain destinations in this report as countries, it does include British Overseas, United States non-self-governing territories, special administrative regions of the  People’s Republic of China, and Pays d’Outre Mer of the French Republic.
• Adrian Loveridge is a hotelier of four decades’ standing; email [email protected]

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