The 2007 BCB survey averaged out to 7.5 out of a possible 10 “with regard to the perception of the services it offers.” In the section dedicated to Barcelonas “worldwide image” the 2007 survey reached 8 out of ten from those visitors participating in the survey.
Spain isnt the only attractive meetings tourism destination by any means. There are countries all over the world seeking to attract business travelers that are part of conventions, conferences, seminars and other business-related gatherings. China is also an appealing destination for meetings tourism. The Jiangsu Tourism Company spells out some “useful tips for Meeting Planning in China” (http://tastejiangsu.com).
The old Japanese saying, “The protruding nail gets hammered down” is linked by the travel service to the possibility that some business travelers that are part of a meetings tourism group may commit a “major faux pas” during the business sessions. Hence, the Website explains, one should “be aware of the international rules of etiquette.” Part of understanding the rules of etiquette when traveling to China requires conducting “extensive research” around these issues: the foreign operating standards; the economic conditions; and the political environment (Jiangsu.com).
Other cultural suggestions by the Jiangsu Tourism group: a) conservative suits with subdued color ties are most appropriate; b) “bright colors of any kind” are seen as not appropriate; c) women should wear “conservative suits or dresses” and womens blouses should have a “high neckline”; and d) suits and ties are always worn to formal events by males (never tuxedoes).
The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) claims that Singapore is the leading business destination for South East Asia. Recently, the STB unveiled its new “YourSingapore BT MICE Brand” that emphasizes Singapore as the “ideal” destination for meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE). The idea is to attract businesses from all over the world but in particular meetings tourism from the Middle East, Africa, South Asia and India.
Singapores commitment to leverage the citys “extensive dynamic pro-business environment, global trade and communications networks, strengths in knowledge-based industries” shows through in its recent marketing campaigns (STB). Singapore also offers the meetings visitors “customized fun and rewarding experiences that meet business and leisure needs” (Travel Talk-India). Moreover, the STB offers a City Advantage Guide Smart Phone Application that is designed to help business travelers “tap into a wide spectrum of attractive deals and promotions with ease and convenience” (Travel Talk-India).
Basically cultural tourism refers to travel by individuals who are particularly interested in not just a country, but in the culture that can be found in a particular nation or territory. Frans Schouten (writing in the book, Cultural Tourism: Global and Local Perspectives) explains that globalization has been a two-way street for cultural tourism. On the positive side, it has opened up a kind of revival of cultural activities and traditions at many destinations. Cultural activities such as local crafts, traditions, music, and dance have enjoyed something of a renaissance, Schouten claims (Schouten, 2007, p. 25), as globalization has made it easier for people to move about on the planet.
The negative side of cultural tourism — resulting from globalization — according to Schouten is that there can be an “erosion” of the cultural events and traditions because many people from foreign countries will be watching; there is the possibility that cultural events will be “staged for the tourist gaze” and crafts will be produced “solely for tourists” (Schouten, p. 25). Hence, cultures could be watered down just to please visitors, and that would not be an authentic cultural experience for visitors or local people.
That having been said, Schouten relates two “misconceptions” about cultural tourism that are worth mentioning in this paper. One, there is a misconception that cultural tourism will bring more money from fewer visitors (presumably because those seeking a cultural experience may be in higher incomes). The truth is, cultural tourists “probably only have slightly different spending patterns from other tourists,” Schouten explains on page 26. Indeed, the ATLAS surveys in 2004 reported that spending by “cultural tourists” averaged just slightly more than 10% above what other leisure travelers spend.
The second misconception is that cultural tourism is the “fastest growing market in global tourism” — a statement put out by the World Tourism Organization in 2004 that Schouten challenges. In the first place cultural tourism is difficult to define, and it is not “a single market,” Schouten goes on. Secondly there is no way to prove that cultural tourism is growing any faster than global leisure tourism, given the blurring of definitions as to what cultural tourism really is.
Meantime Schouten points out there are five “distinct types of cultural tourists”; those are: a) the “purposeful cultural tourist” (this person specifically chooses a destination to experience the cultural dynamics there); b) the “sightseeing cultural tourist” (this person wants to view cultural highlights and probably take pictures; an example would be a sightseeing tourist in China who just wants to visit the Great Wall); c) the “casual cultural tourist” (this person has a shallow base of experience and isnt too interested in culture but while he or she is in the country where there are interesting cultural events he or she might take a look); d) the “incidental cultural tourist” is one who will be “superficially involved” at best; and e) the “serendipitous cultural tourist” is one that did not seek out cultural involvement but while there “gets really involved and has a deep experience” (Schouten, 26-27).
This form of tourism is self-explanatory: people travel to other parts of the world strictly to relax, experience many interesting things away from home, and, as some people say, to “recharge their batteries.” Leisure tourism can be a travel experience to foreign countries or it can be a flight from Boston to San Diego in the winter — to get warm and hang out at the beach. Typically a cruise vacation would be considered leisure tourism because cruise ships stop at ports and passengers take in the sights, buy souvenirs and spend money on entertainment, food and drink.
LGBT Tourism (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transvestite)
The book Gay and Lesbian Tourism: The Essential Guide for Marketing is basically a book for marketers from travel companies. It answers the question, why would travel and leisure companies — including airline companies, entertainment venues, hotels and foreign countries travel marketing organizations — market to gay and lesbian people? The answer is obviously because the LGBT community travels a lot, and play tourist often.
There is a lot of good information within the book, including a survey that 6,721 individuals tapping into their travel habits. The median household income was $79,000 and 71% of respondents had a valid passport while 47% had used that passport during the past year. Gay and lesbian travelers took a median of “five overnight trips in the last 12 months” and 23% of the respondents took “more than five leisure trips” (Guaracino, 2007, p. 36).
The respondents who traveled within the year previous to when the survey was taken spent an average of 29 nights away from home — averaging six nights per trip, Guaracino writes (p. 36). Respondents spent an average of 15 nights in a hotel during the last year. Ninety-two percent of gays and lesbians bought an airline ticket within the last year. Also gay travel on “straight cruises” represents “big business,” according to Guaracino (p. 37). One might assume that gays and lesbians would want to cruise on ships designated as gay and lesbian cruises; its not true, according to Guaracino.
“Gay and lesbian travelers prefer straight cruise vacations and they cruise more than heterosexuals,” Guaracino explains on page 37. Of the 4,500 “qualified responses,” sixty-five percent of lesbians and gay men who had taken a cruise vacation in the previous year “had traveled on a mainstream (nongay) cruise,” according to Guaracinos data. Some 15% of gay travelers on straight cruises said they had been a member of an “organized gay group” the author continued.
Tom Roth, representing the cruise industry, told Guaracino that “There is a huge sales opportunity for cruise lines and travel agents to sell cabins on straight cruises to gay travelers”; hence, he explained, cruise lines must be proactive to ensure “that their product is genuinely gay-friendly” (Guaracino, p. 38).
The Virgin Galactic company is currently developing a tourism first: taking tourists into space aboard a commercial manned space flight system. In October, 2010 pilot Pete Siebold and co-pilot Mike Alsbury piloted the Virgin spaceship from 45,000 feet back down to earth near Mojave, California. The ship had been carried to the 45,000-foot level by a “mothership” (eWeek). The CEO of Virgin Group is Richard Branson, who said, “The sky is no long the limit and we will begin the process of pushing beyond the final frontier of spaceover the next year” (eWeek). Future.