Whether representing cities, regions or entire countries travel bureau marketing professionals are responsible for pleasing everyone. Though travelers and travel agents are their target audiences, travel bureaus typically report into government bodies with the citizens and business owners representing their “clients.” Because of this complicated structure, some travel bureaus stifle their creativity, often due to fear of negative constituent reactions, but others go bold with their marketing and successfully engage prospective visitors. From Azerbaijan to Zimbabwe, here’s a look at lessons learned from some of the world’s best tourism campaigns.
Azerbaijan: Take Another Look
Faced with an objective of doubling tourist visits by 2023, the Azerbaijan Tourism Board followed retail trends and decided it was time to create a more seamless consumer experience. In 2017, Azerbaijan introduced a new online visa system, allowing residents of 81 countries to obtain single-entry, 30-day e-visas to visit Azerbaijan. Believing everyone deserves a second chance, Azerbaijan’s subsequent “Take Another Look” marketing campaign acknowledged their run-down, Soviet past and focused on the newness of Azerbaijan. Although the capital city Baku has a UNESCO-listed core, the country’s landscape is populated with many modern buildings thanks, in part, to its recent oil-related economic boom. “’Take Another Look’ unlocks Azerbaijan’s unique stories and secrets [like the Great Caucasus Mountains, perfect for hiking],” explained Florian Sengstschmid, CEO of the Azerbaijan Tourism Board. “The Azerbaijani people are excited to share their culture, cuisine and country with visitors.” The Azerbaijan “Take Another Look” campaign was short-listed for a 2019 International Travel & Tourism Award. (Winners will be announced in November.)
Travel Marketing Lesson From Azerbaijan: Leveraging your history while creating strong awareness of your current reality can add authenticity to your campaign.
Brabant: Brabant Is Open
Recently elected the “most beautiful province of the Netherlands,” the digital marketing campaign “Brabant Is Open” highlights the residents of Brabant, who are known to be friendly. Throughout the campaign, created by the team at VisitBrabant, locals share their favorite spots across the province, at times revealing hidden gems and making viewers of this Dutch city believe they will be made to feel at home. Shortlisted for a 2019 International Travel & Tourism Award for best regional destination campaign, the video-focused “Brabant Is Open” resulted in more than 100,000 unique page views, an engagement rate of 10.8% on influencer content and a 4% lift in tourist visits from 2018 to 2019.
Travel Marketing Lesson From Brabant: People travel in large part to meet other people. If you have friendly locals, make sure prospective visitors know.
Catalonia: Legends Of Catalonia
The Catalan Tourist Board recently created a virtual reality (VR) game with an augmented reality (AR) immersion experience to promote Catalonia, the largest tourism destination in Spain. Intended to attract more American tourists, especially those of younger generations, the game “Legends of Catalonia” positions the destination as innovative and trend setting. With the free game, which lasts approximately an hour, players can visit six scenarios and earn six medals to access the secret diaries of Saint Jordi, patron saint of Catalonia. “Legends of Catalonia,” promoted with cross-channel advertising, including billboards in Times Square, contributed to a 21.6% rise in U.S. visitors to Catalonia during 2017.
Travel Marketing Lesson From Catalonia: Gamification engages younger audiences.
Delaware: Endless Discoveries
Millennials are the primary target audience of the Delaware Tourism Office, according to Liz Keller, Delaware Tourism Director. Therefore, the Delaware tourism office’s marketing is heavily focused on social, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. Delaware’s “Endless Discoveries” campaign, which includes an award-winning statewide travel guide, cross-channel promotions, the Delaware on Tap mobile app (highlighting local breweries of the state) and audience-building social executions, was credited for raising awareness of Delaware as a vacation destination. According to a 2018 statement from the Delaware Tourism Office, a record 9 million people visited Delaware in 2016, contributing $3.3 billion to the Mid-Atlantic state’s gross domestic product (GDP).
Travel Marketing Lesson From Delaware: The more you share, the more prospective visitors know why they want to come.
Estonia: Storyteller’s Nest
Understanding the value and reach of travel influencers, the team at Visit Estonia decided to make it cheap and easy for influencers to visit, getting influencers “excited to create some amazing content about the country.” Travel influencers planning a visit to Estonia are encouraged to stay at the Storyteller’s Nest, an apartment in the heart of Tallinn that is reserved for travel bloggers, vloggers and influencers. Due to high demand, influencers must fill out an application to confirm follower engagement, the tone of their content and apartment availability during their planned travel dates. Approved Storyteller’s Nest guests can bring companions and stay for up to five nights for free. Visit Estonia even provides a car, fuel, Wi-Fi, restaurant vouchers and personal tips to visiting influencers. The hope, of course, is that Storyteller’s Nest guests will “spread the good word about Estonia as a great travel destination to friends and followers,” explained Heili Klalndorf-Jarvsoo, Head of Tourism Marketing at Visit Estonia. As a result, Visit Estonia has the opportunity to introduce Estonia to prospective visitors they may not have reached otherwise.
Travel Marketing Lesson From Estonia: Make it easy for influencers to visit and have a good time, and you’ll have a long list of people who want to share stories about your attractions.
Finland: Finland Travel Expert
Like Visit Estonia marketers, the team at Visit Finland understands boosting tourism volume can entail more than engaging prospective visitors. Though holding less influence than they once had, travel agents can still impact traveler destination decisions. That’s why the Visit Finland team introduced their online training portal for travel agents, designed to help travel agents become experts on all regions of the country. The Finland Travel Expert portal includes four modules, sharing information about Finland experiences and encouraging travel agents to “learn why Finland is the happiest country in the world.” Travel agents who complete all four modules have the opportunity to earn certifications and are then eligible for special incentives, familiarization (FAM) trips, events and competitions.
Travel Marketing Lesson From Finland: The more comfortable travel agents are regarding their knowledge of a destination, the more likely they are to recommend that destination to their clients.
Georgia: An Invitation To Explore
User-generated content (UGC) has become very popular for marketers, with both brands and consumers excited about the authenticity it can create. Recognizing the power of UGC, the tourism bureau of Georgia (the U.S. state) launched a visitor-generated content campaign in February. Leveraging videos and photography of “real people having real experiences,” the recent initiative represents “live action postcards,” as described by Pat Wilson, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development. “Word of mouth is the number one way people source ideas when making vacation plans,” noted Kevin Langston, Deputy Commissioner of Georgia Tourism, so Georgia’s “An Invitation to Explore” campaign “looked to our visitors and locals to help tell the story of why you should visit Georgia.” The multi-channel campaign, which focuses on drive markets throughout the southeastern U.S., also leveraged the Grammy-nominated song “Roam,” from the Athens, Georgia band the B-52s, to help portray Georgia as “a place where travelers can embark on epic journeys.”
Travel Marketing Lesson From Georgia: Travelers appreciate authenticity and value the experiences of friends and family.
Hawaii: Discover Your Aloha
Hawaii is considered a paradise for many, but for those who have yet to visit, it may appear just one of many island vacation options. With a plan of showcasing Hawaii’s people, unique locations and culture, the Hawaii Tourism Authority set out to demonstrate to travelers how Hawaii delivers an “incomparable visitor experience.” Teaming with Expedia, Hawaii’s “Discover Your Aloha” campaign leverages bespoke facial recognition software and drone footage to create custom-built travel itineraries. While site visitors watch a video, facial expressions (for those who opt in to the facial recognition experience) are analyzed and physical reactions are used to identify the Hawaiian island footage that evokes the most positive reactions. After the video ends, customized and bookable itineraries are presented, including discounts and exclusive offers. According to the Hawaii Tourism Authority and Expedia, the “Discover Your Aloha” campaign, promoted primarily to Millennials, received nearly 1 million views and delivered a 115:1 return on advertising spend.
Travel Marketing Lesson From Hawaii: Customized excursions can help prospective visitors select your destination instead of a comparable location.
Ibiza: Love Ibiza
Launched in 2018 at the German tourism trade fair, the Ibiza Tourist Board used their “Love Ibiza” campaign to promote sustainable tourism. Targeting both visitors and residents, the purpose of the campaign is to encourage sustainable practices while positioning Ibiza as a city that practices sustainable tourism. Noted Vincent Torres, President of the Ibiza Counsel, “Tourism has been key to the development of the island, we cannot survive without tourism, but at the same time we must provide steps toward sustainable development… Tourism in the 21st century is a tourism that respects and values the places it visits. It is a tourism that does not degrade the destination, but instead it contributes in a positive way.”
Travel Marketing Lesson From Ibiza: Travelers like to feel proud of their journeys, and sustainability often comes into play.
Jordan: Jesus’ Baptism Site
For years, Jordan has competed with Israel for tourism dollars related to the Jordan River, but the west side of the river has always been more popular. As of 2015, however, UNESCO took a stance and designated Jordan’s baptismal area on the eastern bank of the Jordan River as a World Heritage site. Leveraging views shared by most Christian churches, UNESCO declared the Jordan side of the river houses what is “believed to be” the location of Jesus’ baptism. The Jordan Tourism Board embraced this news and is developing a marketing strategy for religious tourism. As noted by faith-based tourism expert Yousef Zreiqat, “The Baptism Site was visited by three Popes, many heads of state and senior officials, proved authentic, it has a high profile in the world, is well-organized and has a competent administration… nothing more can be done except telling the world that these things happened: this is where promotion comes.” The Jordan Tourism Minister Lina Annab has publically stated that the baptism site is as important to Jordan tourism as the city of Petra. Jordan’s marketing strategy, focusing on a unique attribute and a targeted audience, is on point, and the industry looks forward to seeing more broad delivery of their religious-based campaign.
Travel Marketing Lesson From Jordan: When you have something that is unique and attractive to a niche audience, leverage it.
Korea: Have You Ever?
Leveraging pop stars, the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) teamed up with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of the Republic of Korea to demonstrate the uniqueness of Korean travel while making the Korean experience seem mainstream. In their newly launched campaign, Korean experiences are introduced to prospective foreign visitors with the question, “Korea asks you, have you ever…” Throughout 21 videos, members of EXO, an internationally known K-pop group, introduce Korean history and tradition, Korean life, adventures, trends, healing and Hallyu (popularly known as the Korean Wave). According to a KTO announcement, “These ads will capture the eyes of consumers around the world.” KTO is using cross-channel, digitally focused media to promote the videos, which are all housed on the “Imagine Your Korea” YouTube Channel.
Travel Marketing Lesson From Korea: International celebrities can help make the world feel smaller and more approachable.
Ljubljana: Green Supply Chains
Looking to attract modern tourists who seek “local, authentic and sustainable experiences,” the Ljubljana Convention Bureau showcased their city’s awareness of the importance of local sourcing, creation of local jobs, reduction of carbon footprint and minimization of environmental pressures. In preparation for becoming the European Green Capital of 2016, Ljubljana, a city in Slovenia, launched a series of projects to increase the share of locally sourced food served in their hotels and restaurants. With a specially created online system that connected Ljubljana food venues with local and regional farms, the city was able to overcome the two primary obstacles for locally sourcing food: price and complexity. With sustainable practices in place, the Ljubljana Convention Bureau was able to comfortably promote the city as a “sustainably-minded destination… a city of green soul and clean water.” By 2017, the local sourcing project spread to the entire Central Slovenia region, and this year Ljubljana’s Green Supply Chains initiative was nominated for a 2019 International Travel & Tourism award for best food destination.
Travel Marketing Lesson From Llubljana: If you know you can be a more attractive destination, put a plan together to become that destination.
Michigan: Pure Michigan
The “Pure Michigan” campaign launched in 2007. During its first year, the campaign was estimated to produce 700,000 trips to Michigan, generating $188 million in new visitor spending and a 211% ROI. Initially focused on regional markets around Michigan, the “Pure Michigan” campaign has broadened during the past decade and now reaches throughout the U.S. and into Canada, Europe and China. Considered “one of the country’s great state branding success stories,” according to Trevor Bach in U.S. News & World Report, the “Pure Michigan” tagline has become an unofficial state motto, appearing on license plates and agricultural products, in large part due to its simplicity. And the campaign has been a quantifiable success, credited for 5 million trips, $1.5 billion in spending and a 833% ROI in 2017. According to Dave Lorenz, Vice President of Travel Michigan, the “Pure Michigan” campaign has “helped not only to improve our economy, but, maybe even just as important, it’s helped to engender a sense of pride. We helped remind people that this state is worth fighting for.”
Travel Marketing Lesson From Michigan: Simple taglines resonate well, even in today’s digital world.
Northern Ireland: Game Of Thrones Campaigns
In collaboration with Tourism Ireland and HBO, Tourism Northern Ireland (TNI) capitalized on their Game of Thrones (GoT) filming locations to attract the television series’ loyal fans with a plan to “bridge the gap between the fantasy of the series and the reality of Northern Ireland.” In 2016, the Doors of Thrones campaign, which won multiple marketing and advertising awards, included doors created for 10 pubs across Northern Ireland that were close to GoT filming locations and a 10-week campaign of short films, viewed 17 million times. A Journey of Doors Passport encouraged visitors to find all of the doors. A year later, the GoT Tapestry Collection was an 80-meter long tapestry that told the GoT story (through season seven) in Bayeux style. The tapestry was on display at the Ulster Museum in Northern Ireland for approximately a year, attracting more than 130,000 visitors during that time. Lastly, timed to coincide with the final GoT season, Glass of Thrones launched in 2019 and featured six stained glass windows — one installed in Belfast during each week of the eighth GoT season. Each of the six windows highlights a key house from the GoT series, and the Glass of Thrones trail leads people across Northern Ireland to the final window at Titanic Studios, where much of the GoT filming took place.
Travel Marketing Lesson From Northern Ireland: If there are zealous fans who want to visit, give them a reason to visit now.
Oregon: Only Slightly Exaggerated
Showcasing Japanese-style anime and an original score by the Oregon Symphony, the focal spot of the Travel Oregon “Only Slightly Exaggerated” campaign opens with a small child fishing from a bridge, fluttering butterflies and a newspaper reading frog. From lakes to snow-capped mountains, the campaign features real Oregon locales amplified with tulips, bunnies, children, hot air balloons and starry skies. Travel Oregon’s $5 million campaign amplified the state’s natural wonders while capturing the interest of travelers and advertising reporters, including us at Digital Media Solutions®. The Travel Oregon campaign was featured during the third round of our 2017 Marketing Madness contest.
Travel Marketing Lesson From Oregon: Travel marketing doesn’t have to be literal to be effective.
Port Maquarie: Try Another Kind Of Break
Port Maquarie, a city in New South Wales, Australia, competes with more popular Australian coastal destinations for vacation travel. “One of the key challenges for us as a destination,” noted Liesa Davies, Port Maquarie-Hastings Council Group Manager for Economic Development and Communications, Strategy and Growth, “is that we are similar to a lot of other coastal destinations. In this we have focused on an approach that we are similar to many other destinations and then flagged our strengths… for us, it was a conscious decision to stand out from the crowd.” Instead of ignoring their top-tier competition, Port Maquarie embraced it, positioning themselves as the better option with messages including, “It’s like the Gold Coast, but instead of the tacky theme parks” and “It’s like Byron, but without the overpriced hotels.” Combining efforts, the Port Maquarie-Hastings Council and Greater Port Maquerie developed more than 60 executions of the campaign, which was promoted heavily on social media during the 2019 Australian winter. As the campaign runs, they are monitoring social engagement to determine which creatives work and optimizing the campaign in real time.
Travel Marketing Lesson From Macquarie: Including aspirational competition in your messaging instantly puts you within that higher-level competitive set.
Quito: Your Story Begins In Quito
Quito Turismo was tasked with doubling tourism’s contribution to the Ecuadorian city’s GDP by 2021. To succeed, they must increase the average spend of travelers, in part by growing the average number of nights each visitor stays. Like many of the less well-known travel destinations on this A to Z list, Quito has recently modernized. Their new international airport opened five years ago, making Quito more accessible to the world and providing a better first impression to visitors upon arrival, and the city’s new convention center is currently being built. “Quito is much more than just its historic center,” commented Veronica Sevilla, the former General Manger of Quito Turismo. “It’s a whole universe of ecosystems, climates, traditions and contrasts. And the center is much more than just buildings. It’s a place of living, breathing heritage and culture, of customs and markets, of locals going about their daily lives.” To convey the history of Quito, a city designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site 40 years ago, while attracting younger generations of visitors, Quito’s most recent campaign, “Your Story Begins in Quito,” leverages video, a new website and mobile app plus strategic alliances with airlines, hotels and tour operators to promote Quito to prospective travelers. “Travelers today search for inspiration online, shop using ratings made by their peers, travel with their smartphones in hand, share their experiences on their social networks,” noted Sevilla. “They [travelers] want to be active participants in their journeys, not just passive absorbers of facts and dates. They want experiences to live and remember, not just sites to tick off a list.” Quito’s new campaign leverages the Quito Turismo team’s audience insights to create a campaign, inclusive of footage that is both modern and classic, to shows travelers how they will be “charmed, challenged and delighted by the city they encounter.”
Travel Marketing Lesson From Quito: Insight into your visitor profile is essential in figuring out how to best engage them and subsequently attract them to your destination.
Rio De Janeiro: Rio De Janeiro A Janeiro
Famous for its Carnivale and just winding down its 2016 Summer Olympics high, Rio de Janeiro was looking to expand tourism and spread visits throughout the year. December 31, 2017 marked the beginning of the Rio de Janeiro a Janeiro campaign, which presented a series of events from January to January (Janeiro a Janeiro). Culture, entertainment, sports, fashion and business events were included on Rio’s event calendar, which was designed turn Rio de Janeiro into a year-long destination and boost tourism by 20%. Attendance and spending throughout the Rio de Janeiro a Janeiro year were measured and, by late May, it was estimated that the year’s events had “already moved” $6 billion in revenue.
Travel Marketing Lesson From Rio: If you’re known for celebratory tourism, give visitors a reason to celebrate all year long.
Serbia: Serbia Moments To Remember
To promote the natural beauty of Serbia, the National Tourism Organization of Serbia created a series of 9-second videos, using all natural sounds with no editing, to show the splendor of summer in Serbia. Titled, #SerbiaMoments, the campaign created a digital space on which Serbian visitors are encouraged to share their Serbian moments. With more than 6 million video views, #SerbiaMoments was credited for increasing Instagram followers by 30%, growing Twitter follower volume by 35%, expanding the Serbian visitor count by 8% and scaling tourist overnights by 10%. #SerbiaMoments was shortlisted for a 2019 International Travel & Tourism award for best digital campaign in tourism.
Travel Marketing Lesson From Serbia: Short videos can pack a punch and boost recall.
Tanzania: Destination Tanzania
With plans of boosting visitor volume, taking back control of Tanzania travel information and streamlining the booking process of travelers and tourism providers, the Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) created a modern online tourism portal and an official Tanzania Tourism app. Previously, because most Tanzania-based tourism providers were unable to process online payments, partner agencies in source markets were leveraged for bookings and payments, but the partnerships sometimes resulted in revenue leakages and self-serving travel information. The Tanzania Tourism website solves for much of this, providing information about tourism throughout the country, giving visibility to rural and urban areas and supporting the booking needs of Tanzania tourism firms. Though the official Tanzania Tourism app launched without payment capabilities, it also acted as an official source of Tanzania travel information, competing directly with the apps previously created by private tourism companies. “The official App Tanzania Tourism,” explained Philp Chitaunga, TTB Acting Director of Marketing, “contains detailed information on various tourist destinations in Tanzania… it gives an overview of what Tanzania can offer as [a] unique tourist destination in Africa: things to do, accommodations and how to plan your trip.”
Travel Marketing Lesson From Tanzania: It’s never too late to take back control of what is rightfully yours.
Utah: More Mountain Time
Aiming to educate winter enthusiasts and inspire Utah travel, Visit Utah created the “More Mountain Time” campaign, featuring “the greatest snow on Earth.” A ski vacation in Utah “lets you clock more time skiing, riding, relaxing in style and warming up in the hot tub in between” thanks to the 10 ski resorts located less than an hour’s drive away from Salt Lake City International Airport. Leveraging a long list of social media platforms and native Utah ambassadors, the Visit Utah team created and shared inspirational and educational content showcasing reasons that make Utah an ideal winter destination. Understanding the importance of community engagement and prospective visitor interactions, Visit Utah also employed dedicated staff able to answer visitor questions and concerns in a timely manner. As a result, the More Mountain Time campaign, though low in media spend, delivered more than 30 million impressions and was listed as a finalist for a Shorty Award in “travel & tourism, large media buying strategy” in the category.
Travel Marketing Lesson From Utah: Content marketing can be informative and engaging, but dialogues have more impact than monologues.
Vilnius: The G-Spot Of Europe
After discovering that only 8% of their target audience in Berlin and London knew Vilnius, the capital city of Lithuania, existed, the team at Go Vilnius decided it was time to grow awareness among Western European Millennials. Playing off the lack of geographic awareness, Vilnius introduced their “G-Spot of Europe” campaign with the tagline “Nobody knows where it is, but when you find it — it’s amazing.” The media attention alone was worth the bold move from Go Vilnius. As John Oliver noted on HBO’s Last Week Tonight, “Do you think we were gonna spend time talking about Lithuania tonight if they hadn’t done this? Of course not.” The award-winning g-spot campaign was credited for a 333% spike in Google searches, a 12% increase in UK tourists and a 35% increase in German tourists.
Travel Marketing Lesson From Vilnius: Sometimes, you have to be bold to get noticed.
West Virginia: Almost Heaven, West Virginia
The West Virginia Tourism Office (WVTO) was tackling a negative perception of West Virginia as they were trying to increase the number of first-time visitors to their state. Leveraging the evergreen popularity of the John Denver song “Take Me Home Country Roads,” WVTO created a campaign that “harnessed the song’s worldwide recognition and coveted lyrics” to, as explained by Chelsea Ruby, West Virginia Tourism Commissioner “captivate a larger audience to visit and discover their own version of heaven — right here in West Virginia.” The “Almost Heaven, West Virginia” campaign won a U.S. Travel Association Mercury Award after boosting desire to travel to West Virginia to 64% of people who viewed a campaign commercials.
Travel Marketing Lesson From West Virginia: Music has the power to change perceptions.
Xcarat: Xenotes Live
Xcarat Park is a privately owned-and-operated theme park, resort and ecotourism development in the Mayan Riviera region of Mexico. In Xcarat Park, natural sinkholes, called cenotes, created when limestone collapsed to expose the groundwater below, resulted in an environment that offers a wide array of tourist activities ranging from spiritual to active, all which can be experienced through a Xenote by Xcarat tour. But figuring out how to promote the gamut of opportunities to the diverse audience profiles for which Xcarat appeals was a challenge, until the “Xenotes Live” campaign. By identifying the similarities between the target audience groups, Xenotes by Xcarat created a campaign that depicts a variety of activity choices within a seamless campaign and achieves its goal of making Xcarat and the Xenotes tour appear to be a must-visit destination for those vacationing in Cancun and the Mayan Riviera. As a result, the “Xenotes Live” campaign won an IAAPA (International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions) Brass Ring Award for “excellence in marketing” category.
Travel Marketing Lesson From Xcarat: Understanding your audience can be more important than narrowing your target.
Yakutsk: An Invitation From The “Iron Lady” Of Siberia
In Yakutsk, the world’s coldest city, winter temperatures reach -60° C. But that didn’t stop the city’s mayor, Sardana Avksentyeva, sometimes called the “Iron Lady” of Siberia, from inviting the world to visit. Just a six-hour flight from Moscow, Yakutsk is called “one of the planet’s most extraordinary cities” by The Siberian Times, thanks to its naturally beautiful permafrost landscape, including the Permafrost Kingdom, a labyrinth of permafrost passageways. According to Avkenstyeva, “Everyone who considers themselves a traveler, who knows the world, who is fascinated by all the most unusual and interesting phenomena on our planet, must visit Yakutia.” Surprisingly, “cold can be cool for tourism,” and the mayor’s appeal is working. Increasingly, travelers are coming to Yakutsk to “feel real, epic cold,” because, as noted by Avkenstyeva, “Those who never came to Yakutia [the federal Russian republic (formally known as Sakha Republic) which is the home of the city Yakutsk], you did not see the whole world.”
Travel Marketing Lesson From Yakutsk: A personal appeal from a likeable person can be convincing.
Zimbabwe: A World Of Wonders
In 2010, the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) replaced their tagline “Zimbabwe: Africa’s Paradise,” which was “characterized by images of economic hardships” with “Zimbabwe, A World of Wonders,” and the rebranding effort made an impact. Focusing on seven pillars of Zimbabwean tourism, the “World of Wonders” campaign highlights Zimbabwe-exclusive attractions like Victoria Falls (one of the Seven Wonders of the World), the Great Zimbabwe Palace (the second-largest man-made stone structure in Africa), Hwange National Park (a leading game reserve that is home to more than 1,000 animal species), Lake Kariba (one of the world’s largest man-made lakes) and Zimbabwe’s more than 2,000 preserved rock art caves. Believing Zimbabwe has untapped tourism potential, the ZTA focused on growing brand awareness and creating the perception of Zimbabwe as a preferred tourism region for residents of India and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region, inclusive of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman. Due to a combination of ZTA’s marketing and efforts to make Zimbabwe more accessible, from 2016 to 2017, Zimbabwe arrival volume from the targeted source regions grew by 63%.
Travel Marketing Lesson From Zimbabwe: If perception doesn’t match reality, don’t be afraid to rebrand.
From Northern Ireland attracting GoT fans to Rio creating a year-round destination, tourism destinations are boosting visitor volume, extending stays and encouraging tourists to spend more through a never-ending variety of marketing strategies and tactics. But no matter the objective or the hurdles ahead, brands with robust subscriber databases have an easier time sharing their stories and engaging their target audiences.
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