Ester Oosterhuis, Local Booking, Tanzania
Tourism can make a considerable contribution to economic development and tourism can channel vast amounts of income into the local economies. However, increasing destination competition, pre-leakages and the lack of SME tour operators’ capacity limits the multiplier effects and reduces the sector’s positive economic impact and development potential. Tour operators in the different countries offer very similar itineraries and the lack of product differentiation has led to downward spiralling price competitions among SMEs. Fixed net rooms rates also cause tour operators to miss out on room booking commissions. Pre-leakage is the proportion of a trip’s sale price that never reaches the destination, essentially a ‘loss of potential income’. When sales are made by online travel agents and accommodation booking engines based abroad, only a small margin is paid to the tourism service provider who carry out the service at the destination; the rest of the money never entering the destination country. Local Booking is a B-B-C Travel App to ensure 100% of itinerary earnings to flow to the local host destinations economy. Tour operators play a central role as intermediaries, between tourists and tourism service suppliers. Tour operators can influence the choices of consumers, the practices of suppliers and the development patterns of destinations. This unique role means that tour operators can make an important contribution to furthering sustainable development goals, protecting environments and cultural resources.
by Ester Oosterhuis