It's simple - exactly whose needs is your destination marketing fulfilling?
The key to sustainable tourism is marketing. How can it be sustainable, beneficial or healthy when it's a numbers game - a rush to the lowest price?
Tourism needs to benefit your destination, or it simply can't be sustainable in any sense of the word.
If you want to live in, and have the massive benefits of, a quality destination you need to have quality visitors enjoying quality experiences. And these visitors need to buy into your, and your community's attitudes.
Why not think about your destination as a party where you invite the guests you want. You'll naturally avoid inviting cheapskate gatecrashers - after all it's your destination, it's your party.
And it can be a big party too - there is a wide range of people in your community who will benefit from the arrival of lovely visitors.
Of course your hotels and guesthouses and B&Bs will benefit from the right sorts of people and your restaurants, bars, cafes, teashops and coffee shops. But also your banks and insurance companies, your schools of every sort (who naturally want good jobs for their students), your community in general will love the idea that there are nice people visiting.
All of these will benefit more if you target the right visitors or less if you don't define what types of tourists you want.
Of course we all want nice, gentle, interesting, curious tourists that will care for our destination, but just how do we get enough of them to make a real difference to our destination? Here is just one example -
Edinburgh has its faults but pretty much everybody that visits it loves the city and, in the main, Edinburgh's inhabitants love their visitors too. And they provide a good, sustainable, living.
Nobody yet moans seriously about overtourism in Edinburgh. Why? Because Edinburgh has become a party city that designs its parties principally to fulfil the needs and desires of its own residents - the Edinburgh Music Festival, the amazing Fringe with over 3,000 shows, the Book Festival, Hogmanay and more are all designed firstly with residents' desires in mind. Hence it's not "for them" it's "for us" and guest visitors are more than welcome.
So building tourism initiatives with residents in mind is key to sustainable tourism marketing. That's the starting point.
Destination communities need tourism to fulfil their needs first- not tour operators, not OTAs, not cruise companies, not tourists after the cheapest deal.
So destination marketing initiatives need to be designed at the very beginning to create a place that's good to live in - and a place that's great to visit.
SustainableTourism02 will deal with this subject in depth and offer a range of sustainable destination marketing solutions.
More info: https://www.sustainabletourismreport.com/
Valere is publisher and editor of SustainableTourism02 due out on 25 September