Today is Veterans Day (thank you to all that serve, or have served our Country), and another opportunity to dive into different market segments, and motivations for tourism. Over the last few weeks we have been studying travel motivations, the tourist, and social & economic impacts of tourism. After we finish social impacts, we are going to immerse into marketing, and promoting tourism and a destination. On this day, I am reminded of my own family, my ancestors that have served their country in the armed forces. Stories of their times as soldiers, stories of the campaigns, and other historical events shaped my life. As I discussed earlier in the year, we are all products of three environment, social, economic, and natural/man-made. Events that exert forces against those three environments shape the realities in which we form opinions, our understanding of a greater world. And thus shape our travel lifestyle.
My parents, and grandparents are part of the Greatest Generation, growing up in a time of such conflict that it had a huge bearing on how they viewed the world. If I construct a timeline of those events, and all that had happened, most of the innovations, their responses, shaped my world view, and several generations after that. Both good and bad. My travel motivation, my push, pull factors, can be traced to those specific incidents of knowledge, and experience. We learn at the foot of our parents, grandparents first. We gradually gain independence and learn, broaden our understanding through experience, even travel. Motivations, therefore, change over time, and morph, to external forces.
This lends to the development of the tourism systems in destinations. That these stories, these events, these forces exert some influence on a destination to construct structures to fulfill demand. I wouldn’t go to Scotland, to specific places if I didn’t study its history. A favorite place is Culloden Battlefield in Inverness. I grew up traversing the United States with a history teacher. His passions were American Revolutionary War, and Civil War battlefields. Well, anything historical. (Now that begs the question, what about Mom…since I understand a bit of that generation…I think her answer would be…”I was happy doing anything your Father wanted. As long as we escaped…” Mom wasn’t the primary planner. I wonder if they even did any planning??? They only time I can remember when they did do any real strategic planning was in 1978, and that was foiled by certain events in the family. I think they planned, as their parents planned. They went to places they knew, given their limited budget. AAA was a major factor in this planning, and for us kids, that triptych…to have control of that, you were in the primary seat of authority!!!) That is motivation. Motivated to the familiar, within a certain level of income. I think we went to the historical places because both of my parents were teachers, and Dad wanted to enhance our education. As children, I’m sure we saw the fun, especially locking up my brother in the stocks at Williamsburg.
Yes, the push of family togetherness. The idea to spend time together, and enjoy life. Another of Crompton’s push factors. We utilizes these factors to make decisions as consumers. Destinations need to understand this aspect of the consumer to determine and strategize marketing strategies as well as development of the infrastructure.
There are some misconceptions in tourism. The number one being is the myth that ‘if you build it, they will come…’. Sure you can build, and sure tourist will come, but not always. What sets one destination apart from another is the currency of their promotional power. And it’s all about the story. What story can you articulate that will turn interest into actual use? How can you use other tourists that have visited your destination to engage others that are on the fence? What images can you collect to truthfully represent your destination, and fulfill the expectations and desires of your visitor?
What can spark that motivational switch in all of us to do something? How can a destination turn that switch on, and pull tourist to their shores, instead of somewhere else.
This is illustrated uniquely recently in Scotland with the televised show from STARZ, entitled Outlander. (By no means is this the first time a television show or movie has sparked travelers to travel Braveheart way back in 1995 did this for Scotland.) Literature has sparked the pull for travel for centuries. This is nothing new. The Grand Tour, and Victorian travel, the emergence of the middle class as tourists was pulled by the increase in education, and the ability of other members of society to have access to novels, and novellas, journals. Today we have the Internet, movies, books, TV shows, and other mediums that showcase particular destinations. Initial Statistics are just out for Outlander, and Scottish tourism is reaping the benefits (see Hollywood Reporter, and The Guardian). Scotland as a destination, the natural landscape, and its history are supporting characters in this show, even the lead in my opinion as tourism researcher.
So there is a relationship between the tourist, tourism motivations, and the tourist system. And even storytelling, experience….
The story continues….