Re-enchanting Tourism in the hopefully post-covid world.
The World Tourism Network understands that in an age of Covid, airlines, some restaurants and hotels have had to cut back services in order to survive.
Unfortunately, during this period, we have seen across the world decline in the quality of the tourism product offered to the public. Certainly, part of the reason for this decline has been the pandemic. The pandemic might not be the only reason for this decline. Careful observers of the travel and tourism scene were already noting the possible beginning of a downward trend prior to the pandemic and this decline in quality of service will in the long run hurt the tourism industry.
Reasons cited for this decline in the quality of customer service range from the high cost of fuel to the weakening of the economy in many western nations. Although these reasons are valid and true, they only give part of the story. Furthermore, from the travel and tourism industry’s perspective, they are passive reasons: things that happen to the industry. If the travel and tourism industry is to succeed in these hard times, it must do more than merely see itself as a victim of the economy or other people’s evil it must also examine itself to see where it too can improve.
Perhaps the greatest threat to the leisure industry (and to a lesser extent to the business travel industry) is the fact that travel had lost a good deal of its romance and enchantment. In its rush for efficiency and quantitative analysis, the travel and tourism industry may have forgotten that each traveler represents a world unto him/herself, and quality must always override quantity.
Especially in the leisure travel industry, this lack of enchantment has meant that there are fewer and fewer reasons to want to travel and to participate in the tourism experience.
For this reason, the World Tourism Network urges the industry to:
- Reinstate regular room cleaning and changing of bedding
- To upgrade the service found on airlines and to do away with numerous fees
- Develop hours that are user friendly for travelers
- Not to try to be all things to all people.
- Create enchantment through product development. Advertise less and give more.
If tourism is to recover from the absence in the business in the last year and a half then it shall have to find ways to exceed expectations and never overstate your case. The best form of marketing is a good product and good service. The tourism industry must provide what it promises at prices that are reasonable.
The tourism industry must create a safe and secure atmosphere. There can be little enchantment if people are afraid. Enchantment-oriented businesses and communities realize that everyone has a part to play in creating a positive tourism experience and one that creates a unique and special environment not only for the visitor but for tourism businesses and communities.
Dr. Peter Tarlow