The opportunity for smart tourism growth

Rob Holmes, Founder & Chief Strategist at GLP Films, has spent 10 years in storytelling and content marketing for the travel and sustainability industries. We started by asking him what are the evolving challenges the industry is facing

We are seeing record-breaking international travel every year. With this exceptional growth in our industry comes the responsibility to think innovatively about how destinations can handle the continual rise in arrivals. In the past decade, we have seen off-the-beaten-path destinations become tourism hubs with the local community and environment suffering. Our goal is to push the industry towards smart tourism growth.

What are some of the solutions to these challenges, from the perspective of marketing for sustainable travel?
Fortunately, trends show an increase in travellers that want an authentic experience that supports the local community and environment. Travel brands should focus on the consumer groups that will bring the highest value and lowest impact on a destination. Geotagging is another industry challenge, where specific places become overburdened with travellers that ock to a place to capture a picture they’ve seen on social media. We work with destinations on

marketing strategies to promote an experience versus a specific to take the pressure off overrun locations or hotspots.

Do you have any specific examples of successful marketing strategies for sustainable travel?
We love to work with emerging destinations because it allows us to innovatively think about how to simultaneously protect and promote a place that can greatly bene t from the tourism economy. We recently worked with the country of Georgia to promote its incredible adventure and culinary experiences. Our video campaign focused on authentic experiences that could take place anywhere in the destination and targeting the high-value, low-impact adventure traveller.

What advice can you share for leaders in the industry to push sustainable travel forward?
Tourism professionals have the power to make travel a sustainable industry. Think beyond traditional advertising, use marketing as a tool to support smart destination growth.


Category: ITB Deep Dive Sessions 1
Date: March 6, 2019
Time: 3pm-3.45pm Location: City Cube, Cube Club

Photo: Rob Holmes, Founder & Chief Strategist, GLP Films