DESTINATION MARKETING ORGANISATIONS TAKE POST-COVID ACTION
Numerous destination marketing organisations and local operators have been taking decisive action to get tourism up and running again after the global lock-down.
While there are far too many to list in one article, we have selected ten highly dynamic actions which can be taken as “best practices”.
1 – Thailand
The Thai government has issued stimulus packages worth 22.4 billion baht (That’s US$718 million) to revitalise its tourism industry. The packages are aimed at boosting domestic travel by subsidising hotel accommodation, airline tickets, and facilities in tourist destinations around the country.
The packages, named “We Travel Together” and “Moral Support”, are designed to boost domestic travel by providing an array of travel perks such as subsidised flights, car rental fees, and bus fares.
There are also subsidies available for hotel accommodations, food, and facilities provided at tourist destinations. The subsidies will be available from July to October 2020 and also include funding to support domestic trips for more than 1 million healthcare workers and volunteers from sub-district hospitals, as a sign of gratitude for their service in helping to combat the virus pandemic.
Meanwhile, King Power Group, in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, and the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), have just announced a phenomenal campaign ‘THAILAND SMILES WITH YOU’ which aims to promote Thailand to the world through Leicester City FC, a UK premier league team which boasts billion worldwide fans. The campaign highlights ‘Thai Smiles’ in the meaning of sending support and care from Thai people to people in the world during this difficult time of the pandemic.
2 – Switzerland
In Switzerland, number of proposals have been developed to incentivise Swiss residents to holiday in their own country. The centrepiece of the support plan is to give every Swiss resident a 200-franc voucher to be spent in the Swiss tourism or hospitality industries. The vouchers can be used in hotels or with tour operators, while the money can also go towards restaurants and leisure facilities. The total cost of the voucher scheme will be 1.7bn Swiss Francs.
Meanwhile, in a bid to kick-start the city’s tourism industry, Geneva Tourism has invested significantly into “Geneva Boxes” giving visitors exciting city experiences and hotel packages with up to a 65% saving, up until 31 December 2020.
The Geneva Boxes are divided into four main themes: the terroir, the art of living (culture, gastronomy and nature), international/scientific Geneva and fine watchmaking. All boxes include accommodation, public transport and an activity.
Example – Create your own watch (exclusive collection):
1 double room in a 5-star hotel for 1 night for 2 people with breakfast
Making your own watch with a master watchmaker – activity for 2 people, making 1 watch, lunch with the watchmaker included
Free public transport (Geneva Transport Card)
Price for 2 people: £808 instead of £2,297 (65% saving)
3 – Macao
The Macao Government Tourism Office’s (MGTO) local tour project “Macao Ready Go! Local Tours” launched one month ago has attracted over 80,000 participants so far. The Office has therefore planned to launch ten new itineraries in July. Among the ten new itineraries, seven are community-based tours, with new elements included, such as photography sessions instructed by professional photographers and visits to private jet displays. The existing 15 itineraries have already attracted great feedback, with most participants expressing positive attitudes and expecting new elements.
4 – Italy
The Italian island of Sicily announced a program to encourage visitors to return after the pandemic. Subsidies will include half the cost of a plane ticket, as well as a night at a hotel and attraction entry fees. The Italian Government will reportedly cover the cost of one night in a hotel for every three nights booked. The scheme will be funded to the tune of €50 million and will be available on Sicily’s tourism website.
5 – Malaysia – Sarawak
A new incentive has been announced by Sarawak’s tourism, arts and culture minister. The initiative is that travel agencies in Sarawak will receive support for tour packages sold that has a minimum of 4 persons and a maximum of 15 at any one time, excluding children under the age of two. For example, for a 3D/2N package sold, the agent will receive 30 Malaysian Ringgit (that’s around US$7) for each of the first four tourists, and an additional RM20 for each subsequent tourist. The incentives run from July 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020.
In an effort to revive tourism in Sarawak, the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak is continuing to promote the Visit Sarawak Campaign (VSC) with its new post COVID-19 campaign tagline “Rediscover Yourself in Sarawak”. They are shifting their focus to domestic tourism, with the focus of strengthening the “Sarawak – More to Discover” brand, at the same time promoting five key themes of Sarawak’s unique experience in terms of Culture, Adventure, Nature, Food and Festivals.
6 – Mexico
Cancun, the holiday hotspot on Mexico’s Atlantic Coast is offering free hotel stays, meals, hire cars and theme park entry in a new campaign designed to bring tourists back to the Central American nation.
Cancun’s initiative, which involves over 200 businesses, was launched on June 15. The campaign offers free stays for up to two children when two adults book, or two nights for free for every two nights booked – the latter has also been extended to those looking to hire cars. For example, if you book a hotel for two nights, you will get the second two nights free, same with car hire.
7 – Bulgaria
Some beaches in Bulgaria are to become free for tourists. Beach umbrellas, sun beds and tables would be free-of-charge for visitors. The average value of a daily sun lounger on the popular beaches is approximately £5 per person – so that means a saving £140 for a family’s week-long holiday alone. Add in tables and beach umbrellas, and tourists could find themselves saving hundreds of pounds (or euros) on their return.
8 – USA – Vegas
In Las Vegas, a hotel CEO and developer announced a giveaway of 1,000 free flights into the gambling capital (one way) as the city reopened in early June. Derek Stevens, who owns two hotel-casinos, the D Las Vegas and the Golden Gate, wrote that the promotion was intended to help stimulate tourism and to remind travellers of the fun they could have in the city. It’s a smart move, because it’s pretty sure these visitors will spend a lot more in the Casinos than was spent on the air tickets.
9 – Tourism Australia
Tourism Australia has been doing anything but sit around and wait for things to start happening again when it comes to promotional ideas.
Last month alone, they launched a number of new initiatives including the fact that DISCOVER ABORIGINAL EXPERIENCES has become a TV show – and can be downloaded on SBS. They’ve also launched a new podcast series called “Only in Australia”, an industry webinar series has been launched in SE Asia (having done webinars in North America, the UK and Europe in June), and Tourism Australia has partnered with Australian Traveller Magazine on their “100 Ways to Holiday here this year”.
10 – New Zealand
Tourism New Zealand has launched a free digital toolkit for the tourism industry to leverage its “Do Something New, New Zealand” campaign. The campaign launched on 22 May to encourage New Zealanders to travel domestically. Since then, it has reached over 2.1 million people on social media, has resulted in over 52,500 visits to newzealand.com and over 1,200 referrals to operator websites via business listings and deals. Meanwhile, for the first time, Tourism New Zealand, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, Ministry for Primary Industries, Education New Zealand and New Zealand Story are working together on a joint global campaign to promote New Zealand’s brand on the world stage.