CHARACTERISTICS OF SUCCESSFUL DESTINATIONS
The 5 A’s Essential to a Successful Destination
Destinations can only succeed in attracting visitors if they have a choice of ways to get there, places to stay, and things to do. Successful destinations meet five essential requirements. Destinations that do not meet these essential requirements must develop them, often with financial help from the local government or private companies. Destinations that attract visitors create sales and revenue opportunities for travel agents.
Five Essential Elements
There must be a good mix and balance between the basic 5 A’s that are essential to a successful destination. These are illustrated below.
People like to do different things when they travel. They come from different cultures, have different likes and dislikes, and of course have different budgets. Some like active holidays; others just want to sit on a hotel balcony enjoying a good view or reading a book. Some may want to visit famous sites. Yet others
want to shop. A destination has to cater in some shape or form to all these needs. Here are some of the major aspects of each of these essential 5 A’s:
Accommodation is about where travelers stay at destination. Traditionally a hotel or inn, lodging types now also include cruise ship cabins, camper-vans, accredited bed & breakfast private homes, hostels, and others. Recent trends include the emergence of focused lifestyle brand hotels: Hotel chains that once offered a single name and similar-type buildings at each location now offer a range of brands, building types and services to suit their clients’ varied lifestyles. Chains of small city-center boutique hotels, or beach resorts with family-oriented facilities constructed in the original design, are both examples of this trend. Long established in many markets, alcohol-free hotels are attracting investment from high-profile accommodation chains, which seek to reflect the values of many current and future customers: This development focuses on a permanent value rather than a mere lifestyle trend. A new accommodation product now combines privately owned condominium apartments with rental hotel rooms in one single building. This is sometimes called hybrid lodging.
No destination can function well unless there is a means of getting there, such as an airline, bus service, railway line or port. Lack of adequate accessibility is frequently cited as one of the major obstacles to tourism development and investment in a destination.
Having reached the destination, what do you then do? Enjoy a game of golf? Go scuba-diving? Take a jungle trek? A river cruise? Destinations are working harder than ever to widen their range of activities in order to get people to stay longer and spend more time and money in their localities. Again, this means
more competition and hence more opportunities for agents to sell products.
Local cuisine is often one of the top attractions of a destination. Restaurants, designer bars and shopping plazas always attract their fair share of visitors. Having an active nightlife may add to the appeal. Travel agents who are specialists in various destinations have to ensure that they remain constantly updated on such amenities.
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What is there to see? Some like to go to the local museums or art galleries. Others prefer the thrill of an amusement park, appealing for families with children, one of the fastest growing holiday segments. If you are handling special events like business meetings or conferences, you will also have to focus on the facilities offered by the various hotels or conference venues to ensure that they are up to standard and meet your client’s requirements.
Other Critical Requirements: Infrastructure and Security
It has become critically important for destinations to ensure that their infrastructure facilities are of high standard, such as offering telecommunications services, environmental management, health and sanitation, and perhaps most critical, safety and security.
The travel industry has seen many examples of destinations losing both business and their long-term reputation because they have failed to adequately meet these standards. For tourism to prosper, a destination must be recognized by the traveling public as a safe and secure destination.
The events happening in any nation, no matter who is responsible, will impact its tourism industry. Tourism cannot afford a medical crisis or a food crisis, a natural disaster or a political disaster, conventional wars or acts of terrorism or crime. In a world that is interconnected through the Internet and twenty-four hour news reporting, bad news travels quickly and everywhere. News coverage
of terrorism and crime events costs tourism millions of dollars in lost revenues.
Great attention has been given to airport and airline security, but there are other areas of tourism that are also vulnerable, including attractions such as shopping malls, sports events, parks and any place, gathering large numbers of people. Terrorism is about creating surprises and travel and tourism leaders need to work toward protecting the industry by expecting the unexpected.
In the end, tourists choose where to visit and when to visit, and travel professionals must be able to react to world events by promoting those destinations that offer maximum safety and security to their customers, using creativity and innovation to reinvent what they sell, offering safer destinations.