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Lessons for Croatia

Successful tourism in an age of overtourism. Leading travel guru Doug Lansky put on a very thought-provoking show at the recent Crikvenica International Health Tourism (CIHT 2019) conference in Selce last week. With plenty of lessons for Croatia (and others) to learn.

Doug Lansky

From the very first minute after taking the stage of CIHT 2019, Doug Lansky had me hooked. One of the leading (and most engaging) speakers on the global circuit (you can check out one of his TED talks below), author of books for both Lonely Planet and Rough Guides, along with a host of other stellar tourism credentials, it became clear early on from his pouring cold water on Kvarner Regions's inclusion in Lonely Planet's top 10 regions to visit in 2020, that this was going to be quite an education. 

"Yes, it is nice to have, but people don't visit destinations because of lists. I know how those lists are compiled. I used to compile them back in the office for various publications. What makes people get on a plane is something altogether different."

Before we got to what made people travel, we were treated to a very detailed and entertaining explanation of what did not make people travel. Logos, slogans, websites, sponsored social media posting, lists. And food. 

Yes, food. 

Lansky showed us the results of a social media which was conducted to find out if there were differences between what people clicked on when they saw a sponsored post and then - via a tracking cookie installed - what they actually spent the money on when they reached the destination. The findings were amazing. Of the four tourism activities chosen for the experiment - restaurants, supper clubs, natural attractions, and tours - restaurants had the highest click-through rate (CTR) on the ad (2.9%) and the lowest actual visit (2.7%), while natural attractions had by far the lowest CTR (1.9%) but by far the most engaged results in terms of users and dollars spent (4.8%). Take-home lesson - what grabs someone's attention while browsing on the sofa is not necessarily what will be the beneficiary of an open wallet on arrival. 

So if these are not the reasons people travel, what is getting them on a plane? The answer is something obvious in an increasingly globalised world. 

Read more by Paul Bradbury @TCN


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