It’s a striking sign of the times that only five months ago, if you’d asked anyone what the biggest challenge facing the tourism marketing world is, the likely answer would’ve been simple: overtourism.
Today, that same industry faces a diametrically opposed new reality, wherein in a matter of weeks — if not days — all business and leisure travel stopped. There is no tourism to market, and no sense or guarantee of when it might return.
Though many tourism boards have been remarkably creative in their efforts to stay relevant during travel’s deep freeze, uncomfortable longer-term questions can’t be avoided. In absence of its main source of revenue, how will tourism marketing find a way to survive? When (and if) it gets to the other side, will it be a changed industry, or one that quickly tries to regain the glory days?
Those questions are underpinned by the reality of tourism marketing’s primary funding source: lodging and tourism-related taxes. In the absence of tourists, that funding has dried up. Meanwhile, governments coffers are strapped responding to an unprecedented public health epidemic, with little money to spare for tourism — an industry that’s always struggled to assert itself even in the best of times.
“The jury is out in terms of whether or not there are any useful historic comparisons here,” Tim Fairhurst, secretary general of the European Tourism Association said. “I tend to think not.”
This is an excerpt from an article by Rosie Spinks, originally published on Skift.