Experiential Tourism

what is Experiential Tourism?

Experiential tourism is an outgrowth of a global movement toward experiential learning, whereby people create meaning through direct experience.

experiential tourism diagram

Experiential tourism has become the current term that encompasses a variety of tourism and traveler categories, including the following: cultural tourism, ecotourism, educational travel, experimental tourism, heritage tourism and nature tourism, where activities are environmentally sensitive, displaying respect for the culture of the host area and looking to experience and learn rather that merely stand back and gaze. Experiential tourism involves active participation, involvement, even immersion.

Several key points in planning interpretive tourism:

 

Standards for Experiential Tourism

This list is in the form of objective sentences. Each can be a consideration for further research. 

1. People create meaning through direct experience.

2. The experience includes the people met, the places visited, the activities participated in and the memories created.

3. The experience includes pre-departure trip planning and post-trip follow-up.

4. Experiential tourism draws people into local nature, culture and history.

5. Experiential tourism is low impact, low volume, and high yield.

6. Experiential tourism is very personal, unique and individual for each visitor.

7. Quality, memorable visitor experiences are a shared outcome between the visitor and the experience provider.

8. Experiential tourism opportunities allow for personal growth and reflect the values and interests of the individual visitor.

9. Experiential tourism provides diverse experiences that match the visitor's interests and provide a sense of personal accomplishment, thereby creating their own unique memories.

10. The desired outcome of experiential tourism is to achieve a complete participatory experience that provides new knowledge and authentic experiences.

11. Experiential tourism opportunities encourage the meeting and coming together of different cultures, their problems and potential.

12. Cultural elements are shared in an atmosphere of traditional ways of life.

13. Experiential tourism shows rather than describes.

14. Experiential tourism opportunities expand personal horizons.

15. Experiential tourism opportunities should provide personal enrichment, enlightenment, stimulation, and engagement as motivators.

16. Experiential tourism attracts people to places.

17. Experiential tourism attracts markets to merchandise.

18. Experiential tourism engages all five senses.

19. Experiential tourism opportunities include learning a new skill or engaging in a new activity.

20. Experiential tourism includes “the story of the place.”

 

Eco Tourism

Ecotourism is:"Responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people." (TIES, 1990)

Principles

Involving the local community through participation can overcome many pitfalls:

Explore more on the subject of Eco Tourism! These links are recommended:

Eco Tourism the Canadian Way

Canadian Eco Tourism

The International Eco Tourism Society

The Eco Club

Green Globe

Green Seal

Sustainable Travel International

Rainforest Alliance

Ontario Ministry of the Environment

The Ontario Eco Tourism Society (tOES)

 

Community Tourism

Community tourism (sometimes called community-based tourism) is a form of tourism which aims to include and benefit local communities. For instance, locals might host tourists in their village, managing the scheme communally and sharing the profits. There are many types of community tourism project, including many in which the 'community' works with a commercial tour operator, but all community tourism projects should give local people a fair share of the benefits/profits and a say in deciding how incoming tourism is managed.

In response to the challenges and uncertainties induced by globalization and other factors, many rural communities in Atlantic Canada and throughout the world have adopted tourism development as an alternative approach in hopes to achieve some sense of sustainability.

Rural communities rely on their culture and cultural symbols, including artifacts, music, folklore, architecture, heritage and geographic landscapes, as a focal feature for tourism development. In fact, local culture, generally defined as the longstanding traditions, customs and values of a community, has become a dominant attractor for drawing tourists to Canada and elsewhere. Many of these small rural communities have a cultural richness and uniqueness that are frequently depicted in various tourism product offerings, marketing publications and media. In short, local culture is increasingly being objectified and modified to entice tourists to specific destination areas. In tandem to providing new sites of consumption, we are seeing a new wave of demand – cultural tourists – eager to consume a variety of new and novel cultural experiences.

Cultural and heritage tourism are continually gaining momentum as approaches to tourism development. These are, generally, understood as type of special interest tourism where heritage or cultural objects, for example, museums, ancient buildings, sites and artifacts, are prepared and presented for visitor experience.

Some Principles in Community Tourism are:

Community tourism offers an excellent opportunity for outfitters in the Northern Ontario region to team up and create extended itineraries for their operations. The added advantage is that it does not have to interfere with the core product offering but gives the added advantage of having a wider choice to ensure guest of all preferences are made happy.

The process to initiate action for community tourism development can come from any individual or organization. NOTO will work directly with any organization, business or individual to provide guidance and technical support to get the process of community tourism development going.

The introduction of the new tourism regions will bring about some changes to the development dynamics.

Culture and Heritage Tourism

Culture, Heritage and the arts has long been an appeal to Tourist destinations. However, in recent years ‘culture’ has been rediscovered as an important marketing tool to attract those travelers with special interests in heritage and arts.

Cultural heritage tourism is the fastest growing segment of the tourism industry because there is a trend toward an increase specialization among tourists (Prof Keith Hollingshead).This trend is evident in the rise in the volume of tourists who seek adventure, culture, history, archaeology and interaction with local people.

Cultural heritage tourism is important for various reasons; it has a positive economic and social impact, it establishes and reinforces identity, it helps preserve the cultural heritage, with culture as an instrument it facilitates harmony and understanding among people, it supports culture and helps renew tourism (Richards, 1996).

In the design to research and develop cultural heritage tourism in Region 13, a number of objectives can be met within the context of sustainable tourism. This will depend on the consultations and expressed desires and concerns of the local community stakeholders.

The conservation of cultural resources, accurate interpretation of resources, authentic visitors’ experience, and the stimulation of the earned revenues of cultural resources are all objectives that can be kept in mind. Cultural heritage tourism development will not only be concerned with identification, management and protection of the heritage values but it will also be involved in understanding the impact of tourism on communities and regions, achieving economic and social benefits, providing financial resources for protection, as well as marketing and promotion

Heritage tourism involves visiting historical or industrial sites that may include old canals, railways, battlegrounds, river markings and so forth. The overall purpose is to gain an appreciation of the past. It also refers to the marketing of a location to members of a Diasporas who have distant family roots there.

Another possible form involves religious travel. Heritage Tourism can also be attributed to historical events that have been dramatized to make them more entertaining. Heritage tourism focuses on certain historical events, rather than presenting a balanced view of that historical period. Its aim may not always be the presentation of accurate historical facts, as opposed to economically developing the site and surrounding area. As a result heritage tourism can be seen as a blend of education, entertainment, preservation and profit.

Road Map to Cultural Heritage Tourism Development

Cultural Heritage Tourism

“Travelling to experience the places and activities that authentically represents the stories and people of the past” (definition adopted from the US National Trust for Historic Preservation).

How do you make this happen?

Four Steps to Success!!!!

  1. Assess the potential
  2. Plan and organize
  3. Prepare for visitors, protect and manage your natural, cultural and heritage resources
  4. Market for Success

Assess your Potential

Evaluate your assets in five main areas:

Plan and Organize

Two main resources for planning and organizing are:

Prepare, Protect and manage

Prepare – readying your historical resources by preserving their historical integrity

Protect – to ensure that your tourism cultural heritage resource has a long and productive life.

Manage – A well managed cultural heritage tourism resource is one that balances competing considerations.

Market for Success

To draw people and money into your community, develop a multi-year, multi tiered plan!!

Include these four components in your marketing plan:

http://www.mtc.gov.on.ca/en/heritage/heritage_toolkit.shtml

 

http://www.heritageandculture.on.ca/

 

http://www.mtc.gov.on.ca/en/publications/Ontario_Cultural_and_Heritage_Tourism.pdf

 

Websites and Social Media

Social media is the use of web based and mobile technologies to turn communication into interactive dialogues. Social media can take on many different forms including internet forums, web blogs, social blogs, micro blogging, wiki, podcast, photographs and pictures,

Six Different types of social media

  1. Collaborative projects – eg. ( Wikipedia)
  2. Blogs and microblogs- eg. (twitter)
  3. Content communities –eg.( Youtube)
  4. Social networking sites-eg. (facebook)
  5. Virtual game worlds-eg.( world of warcraft)
  6. Virtual social worlds –eg. ( second life)

Social Media is used to:

Communicate

  1. Blogs (eg.blogger)
  2. Microblogging (eg. Twitter)
  3. Location based social networking (eg. Facebook)

Collaboration and Authority building

  1. Wikis (eg. Wekimedia)
  2. Social Bookmarking (eg. StumbleUpon)
  3. Content management systems (eg. Wordpress)

Multi Media

  1. Photography and Art sharing (eg. Flickr)
  2. Video Sharing (eg. YouTube)
  3. Music and Audio sharing (eg. Pandora Radio)

Reviews and opinions

  1. Product Reviews (eg. Epinions.com)
  2. Business Reviews (eg. Customer Lobby)
  3. Community question and answer (eg. Yahoo!Answers)

Entertainment

  1. Media and entertainment platforms (eg. YouTube)
  2. Virtual Worlds (eg. Second life)
  3. Game Sharing (eg  Kongregate)

Brand Monitoring

  1. Social media measurement (eg. Statsit)

Features of Social Media

  1. Quick to Start. You could launch a Facebook page today or get a blog going in a few days.
  2. Low Cost. You can get started in social media and blogging for very little or no money. They are among the most cost-effective methods of reaching your audience.
  3. Instant Interactivity. Both blogs and social media can give you nearly instant market feedback - good or bad. We get all kinds of feedback through the comments on our blog; people also leave reviews and other comments for us on Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media channels.
  4. It's the Search Engines, Silly. Surveys indicate that 90% or more of people begin their purchasing process in search engines. Blogs and social media make it more likely that your prospects will find you online when they search.
  5. Inbound Marketing. NOTO is a big fan of inbound marketing! Outbound marketing is telemarketing, direct mail, cold email blasts , TV and print ads - all the things that buyers tend to block out more and more.  Social media and blogs are essential inbound marketing tools.
  6. First Mover Advantage. For blogs and social media, there is an advantage to moving first. If you don't jump into the conversation, your competitors will (if they have not already) and then you're fighting an uphill battle to become influential in these online conversations. Start now to claim that first-mover advantage.
Tourist Outfitters Website Best Practice Guide
A quick reference tool prepared to guide the creation of websites for outfitters and other categories of tourism websites. This is meant to act as a quick guide and will serve very well as a checklist for outiftters who are in the processing of designing and developing a new website to optimize their marketing. It is also a very relevant tool for improving your website.
Download or open in pdf:
Tourist Outfitters Website Best Practice Guide
Tools to help you manage your twitter account

 

A Guide to Building Successful Packages for Tourism Suppliers...

This manual was compiled intending to act as a resource for operators who are ready to invest the time, trust and energy to build packages for visitors to Ontario and get them to the market. The manual moves beyond the theoritical and delve into 'the now what' stage. 

Many examples are presented in this handbook. It is very practical. It provides you with the tools and process to design new combinations of experiences that will attract new or more customers to your operation. 

Download in pdf:

A Guide to Building Successful Packages for Tourism Suppliers

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