“Traveling is Real Education “- Anonymous
After the recent recession, tourism industry has regained its original glitter, now with a sense of green adventure. It is true the spirit never dies, especially an adventurous one. There has been a phenomenal increase in the movement of tourists all across the globe. The low-cost airlines and the general consciousness to conserve and explore the natural wonders have resulted in the surge in demand for travel packages that caters to both. The journey has not been easy. After the deleterious effects of the ongoing global warming and climate change there has been a shift in the interests of travelers from commercial travel packages to Eco tourism. Being rich and abundant in natural wonders, Australia has tremendous potential to carve out its own niche market. Nature-conscious travellers have been targeted to discover its beauty. We will look at one of the marketing relations techniques that will be useful in Australia’s promotion of eco-tourism.
Tourism is one of the biggest and most lucrative sectors, fostering a rare combination of nature and culture. In many countries in Africa and Asia, travellers have realised that there is a world to discover that would demonstrate the wonders of nature, spellbinding beauty and heterogeneous cultures and customs after the abolition of political embargoes.
Tourists were limited to travelling in well promoted locations, purchasing souvenirs, sending postcards and as a result, becoming an observer in the travelling process before the world witnessed the effects of global warming and climate change. That’s been updated. Travelers now venture to destinations that offer them the chance to be part of the local ecological environment. In bridging the divide between various cultures and values, tourism directly and indirectly plays a vital role and forms a symbiosis of curious minds. It’s also important to the region’s economic development. It is a direct and indirect source of the local indigenous people’s socio-economic growth.
The WTO tourism 2020 vision predicts that foreign arrivals are projected to hit over 1.56 billion by 2020, according to World Tourism Organization statistics. 1.18 billion of these global arrivals in 2020 will be intra-regional and 377 million long-haul passengers.
Climate Change and Global Warming
The mean temperature of the planet is increasingly increasing due to the emission of green house gases, resulting in the shift of seasonal change and extinction of rare species of flora and fauna. The ecological environment causes irreparable harm and imbalance, which is now a significant cause of concern for the tourism industry, which is vulnerable to external circumstances. Its stands on the cusp of the historic wonder and future extinction of ecology, that is vital for the sustenance of life in our planet.
Global warming and climate change are two aspects that cannot be segregated. One projects the quantitative representation of the effect and the other projects the practical implications of the vagaries in the atmosphere such as delayed rainfall, shift in seasons, melting of snow and so on. There is a certain imbalance in nature and the major implications are observed by the already and near extinction of rare species in the animal and plant kingdom as global warming and climate change severely affects their natural habitat.
According to an article by Anita Pleumarom, the Caribbean coral reefs, particularly the Meso-American reef, the second largest in the world, extending from the coast of southern Mexico past Belize and into Honduras, which is threatened by a three-fold environmental catastrophe, have been noted in the recent assessment of the ecological damage caused by global warming and climate change: Thousands of marine animals are on the verge of extinction as a result.
Effect of Global Warming and Climate Change on Tourism
Just as there is shift in pattern of the migratory birds, the tourism industry has seen the shift in trend of visitors planning to seek a rendezvous with nature. The preferential change in the attitude of the visitors is a warning sign for the tourism industry to notice and offer a package that would cater to the visitors plan for a vacation and incorporating the natural element of green adventure. Welcome Eco tourism.
In order to have a substantial effect on the sustenance of nature, an operationally different industry is being developed that caters to a win-win situation. Travelers are encouraged to observe and be an active part in conserving the natural essence of the place. The contribution of the travelers has direct impact on the development of the population and most importantly, the conservation of natural resources.
The primary objective to develop Eco tourism is due to that fact that there’s a direct contribution to the biodiversity conservation as well as sustenance of the well being of local residents. Moreover, it enables the travelers and local residents to act responsibly that would result in lee consumption of non renewable and environment damaging resources. The fundamental aim is to conserve nature, which is shared by the urban as well as the rural residents thus bringing a sense of regional unity which was otherwise missing in commercial tourism.
Eco tourism mainly comprises important elements of nature, education on conservation of nature, interpretation of natural and cultural heritages. It is a rawer form of sustainable tourism. Every region in the planet has an exclusive variety of local tradition alongside the flora and fauna. Australia is one of the most diverse places where nature has blessed the place with overwhelming beauty and resources.
Aboriginals, kangaroos, the Great Barrier Reef, the Sydney Opera house etc. were major attractions that were used as the country mascot to promote tourism in Australia in the 20th century. After the visible effects of climate change and global warming, the government of Australia has shifted its focus from commercial tourism to Eco tourism. It ranks high in the political agenda and much emphasis is laid on sustainable tourism marketing by the government as well as private entrepreneurs who are coming up with creative and attractive traveling offers that showcase the Australian nativity and beauty at its best. There is a symbiosis of the conservation management strategies among the government agencies, conservation groups and the protected management authorities. (Lai 1999).
Many countries have now realized that in order to have a well balanced out amidst the climate change, environmental sustenance is a priority and can only be achieved through efforts in the form of ecotourism. Developed countries such as the United states and Canada, who have a well established infrastructure and global connectivity, are the frontrunners in the race to get the maximum number of eco-tourists. In Australia, low cost carriers such Jet star and Tiger airways have increased their frequency thus providing better connectivity with all the states in Australia.
Eco tourism in Australia is a powerful revenue generator that is vital in raising the Gross Domestic product of the state. The average Annual Growth Rate from 1998 to 2008 in terms of consumption of tourism goods and service, employment, tourism exports and imports have been in the range of 5 – 10 % which is considerable higher than many countries owing to the government and private effort in maintaining a steadfast growth the awareness of Eco tourism.
Australia has been endowed with exquisite beauty both in land and sea. Its vast gamut of national parks provides an opportunity to bush walk, a sheer delight for urban tourists. Most flora and fauna are indigenous to these parks and gives an exotic display of the wonders of nature. The deep gorges, scenic waterfalls, the aquatic life in the surrounding oceans compliments the land beauty as well as the great barrier reefs, the dolphins and oceans, showcases all shades of blue. The conversion of the wild natural beauty into advertizing mediums is essential in the determination of the marketing strategy.
As Australia is emerging as a favorable destination in ecotourism, her different stages of development can be better analyzed and categorized as SWOT analysis (Kahveci [, Kenan and Yýlmaz,2003)
- Natural flora and fauna, rich in biodiversity
- Rich cultural heritage of the aboriginals.
- Global air connectivity
- Excellent infrastructure in terms of public utility and tourism facilitators
- Stable economic and political culture.
- Manpower availability and skilled forest rangers
- Insufficient experience of ecotourism facilitators in the commercial aspect
- Low cooperation between the tourist operators and ecotourism agencies
- Limited help, encouragement and fund allocation from the government owing to its nascent stage of inception.
- Can be an emerging source of employment and income
- Need to take advantage of the growing awareness amongst people regarding climate change and conservation of forests.
- Cross border business is at a all time high, will lead to more exposure of the natural reserves to foreigners and can attract foreign as well as domestic investment.
- Package has to be properly planned to avoid less efficient management which will further lead to degradation of natural reserves
- Proper screening of visitors to discourage illegal trading and trafficking of endemic species and natural products.
Marketing Strategy Using Marcom Tools
A: Direct Marketing
Marketing is the first step to the introduction of a product to the consumer driven market. Sales and marketing are the key factors that determine a product’s success. Billions of dollars are spent in framing and establishing the first contact with the customer.
In Tourism, profit is intrinsically related to the recreational agenda of the traveler thus embedding the most important aspect of any business, customer satisfaction. (Fennel, 2008, p 167)All the effort will be in vain if in the end, the customer returns unsatisfied. In the case of direct marketing, there has to be an unparalleled focus on achieving customer satisfaction through assessment of the traveler’s recreational interests.
Target customers have to be categorized and target base set for effective marketing. Customers will be of different types namely; Business travelers, Back packers, family travelers and so on. In order to reach to the above-mentioned categories, direct marketing has to be to assess and cater the needs and educate them simultaneously
Direct marketing is the most primitive yet effective way in marketing. With the technological revolution taken into account, it is practical to say that there’s no substitute for direct marketing. The effectiveness of the sale of a product is determined by its marketing strategy. The primary objective of direct marketing is to promote Eco tourism to the various tourists’ segments.
Before creating a strategy, proper framing of general parameters is required to be defined, namely:
(i ) HOW the package has to be planned. Does it include more of road traveling to capture the natural flora and fauna, or boating to cover the aquatic wildlife and so on.
(ii) WHO is the target segment- Such segment includes backpackers, vacationers, business travelers, honeymooners, school and college trip students etc. Effort must be made to encompass all of the tourist segments as apart from the profitability factor, the objective is to promote and educate Eco tourism in the most affordable way.
(iii) WHEN it has to be promoted. The tourism industry is dependent on the on and off season. Most tourist companies utilize the on – season and market their product. It is true that the major customers are made during that time, however, in order to create a niche market, the focus must shift to target the off- season , as the profit margin can easily be developed during this owing to less competition in the market. It is perfect for promoting Eco tourism as the tourists can avail the best of the facilities which might have been unavailable due to advance booking. The key is proper packaging of the travel itinerary.
(iv) WHERE includes the destination that would offer an opportunity for the travelers to interact with nature in a personal way. Tours should be organized in a way that the traveler must be in complete harmony with nature. Being rich in natural diversity, Australia offers a wide array of geographical and topographical marvels such as deep gorges, extinct and dormant volcanoes, meandering waterfalls and so on.( Fennel, 2008, p 107)
(v) WHY should people choose the travel package has to be sincerely answered as this is the question that is in the back of everyone’s mind. Would there be a value addition in one’s everyday life ?. After all that is said and done with traveling, a tourist gets back to the normal routine. Emphasis must be laid on the post effect of Eco tourism.
Australian parks have the traveling and hospitality sector where the use of renewable energy sources such as wind, sun is best utilized. In the remote dense forest parks, solar energy has been a significant contributor in the environment friendly infrastructure as it is the main source of power in these facilities. Use of recycled paper, natural herbal soaps in the camps and guest houses , hotels etc , participation of the tourists in the indigenous blend of everyday product with the local residents will definitely expand the mind of travelers and surely they will make a conscious effort in going green in their normal lives.
Target audience – Students, Businessmen, Families, Backpackers
B. Points of Sale
To achieve the maximum tourist coverage, an organized plan has to be implemented in venues where there is a constant influx and outflow of travelers. Some of the most frequented place are as follows:
(i ) Airports: With the low cost airline industry booming, airports have become a major point of contact with the travelers. The number of travelers has dramatically increased in the period 2000- 2010, a decade that saw the drastic expansion of the low-cost aviation industry. As a result, airports are now increasingly frequented by travelers from all the sectors. Attractive brochures made in recyclable material, innovative wood items as souvenirs etc have to be introduced with the main intention to conserve nature and making the travelers feel that they are the key to the change will result in the increase in the popularity of Eco tourism.
(ii) Non-Government Organizations (NGO’s) in collaboration with the NGO’s working in the social strata in Australia and beyond, direct marketing wall be effective in promoting Eco tourism . As NGO’s are more driven by the desire to make change than profit itself, the non commercialism of the institution makes it an effective tool to market Eco tourism as both the sectors have one thing in common, that is, to make world a better place. Interactions with the authorities as well as the contributors can educate the people and mutually consented activities may be included in the package that benefits the NGO and the Eco tourism sector.
(iii) International events: Global awareness summits like the Copenhagen summit in 2010 etc can be used as direct marketing venue apart from the usual protests that is the prime agenda for most of the participants. With many environment summits to be held between 2010 and 2012,against the backdrop of the blatant violation of the clean energy norms to curb global warming and climate change by the industrial nations , Australian Eco tourism advertisements can be effectively used and expose the participants and protesters alike to the natural wonders of Australia. It’s would prove effective in the long run as this will showcase the solidarity of proactive participation in diminishing the effects of global warming and climate change through sustainable resources.
Target audience – Students, Backpackers, Businessmen and Families
C. Corporate Strategy
The most vulnerable of the stressed out lot, the corporate traveler can be converted to a proactive ecological conservationist. Interaction with the Human Resources department of medium and large scale industries can open up new avenue for the Eco tourism industry. Once the company is targeted, various promotional offers can be pitched in varying the duration and cost factor.
An employee will be exposed to Eco tourism and may well encourage the lessons imbibed while traveling, in the corporate set up there by decreasing the use of conventional resources.
Target audience – Businessmen
Are unique in that they are the only medium which brings the seller, the buyer and the competitor together under one roof for a few days.( Olander, Sehlin 2000) Major tourist places such as Singapore, Berlin, Paris, New York can be venues for exhibition which would showcase the level of ecotourism and the different options available. Prospective customers tend to attend the exhibition as the rates offered in the exhibition are generally lower than the usual market price. Travel exhibitions increases the sale as well give the sellers ample opportunity to interact with the buyers and ,assess and incorporate their needs. For a successful campaign, proper planning must be done to attract people and make Australia the target destination for ecotourism.
Target audience – Backpackers, Families and Students.
In the modern era, there has been a drastic transformation of the correspondence medium. Internet technology has been a boom to the sellers as this is the most widely reached, cheapest medium available today. Promotional online catalogs needs to be sent to the potential customers through informative and attractive websites. Educating and easing the need of a wholesome experience will have to be the focus. Online surveys are very effective in gauging the nature of the travelers and hence packages can be designed and customized.
Target Audience – Travelers and Backpackers
Paper mediums such as newspapers, brochures, travel and business magazines are also vital to reach an audience of all types. Complete information regarding the accommodation, logistic rates etc should be broken down and shared with the customer in order to have a transparent relationship. Television is also an important medium; however, it is unlikely that serious travelers would be attentive to the 30 seconds commercial and decide on the trip. It may act as an accelerating agent but would not form the basic core of customer reach.
Target audience – Businessmen, Families
|Target Audience||Period||Reason||Budget||Marcom tools|
|Businessmen||October-December||After the financial year (September), there would be a relaxation period||$ 100,000||Direct marketing, Points of sale, Corporate, Advertising|
|Families||December-January||Christmas celebration and holiday period||$ 85,000||Direct marketing, Points of sale, Exhibitions, Advertising|
|Students||June-September||Study break||$ 50,000||Direct marketing,
Points of sale,
|Backpackers||January- December||Preference to the non tourist season||$ 60,000||Direct marketing,
Points of sale,
By following the basics of marketing, the growth and consciousness of a new era of Eco tourism can be accelerated and will prove decisive in maintaining the natural and culture integrity of Australia. With the right attitude and approach, a relatively less explored opportunity to promote the plethora of natural entertainment can be achieved with the promotional campaigns by the Australian government, conservation organizations, passion driven individuals and now the global conscious traveler. Eco tourism will certainly carve a way that would directly impact our everyday lives by raising our consciousness to conserve and recycle that can be best demonstrated by actually witnessing and being a pert of Eco tourism thereby sustaining the essence of conservation, a perfect action for a harmonious existence for today and tomorrow.
- United Nations world tourism organization 2010 (Internet), Available form: < http://www.unwto.org/index.php> [ Accessed 1 May 2010]
- Tsung wei lai, (1999) Eco tourism in Australia chapter 32(Internet) Available from :<http://www.apo-tokyo.org/gp/e_publi/gplinkeco/34chapter32.pdf> [ Accessed 30 April 2010]
- Anita Pleumarom, (2007) Tourism feels the heat of global warming (Internet) Available from: < http://www.twnside.org.sg/title2/resurgence/207-208/cover6.doc> [Accessed 1 May 2010]
- Kahveci [, Kenan and Yýlmaz,2003 Ecotourism and Sustainable Development of Forests and Forest Villagers in Turkey n<http://www.fao.org/DOCREP/ARTICLE/WFC/XII/0708-A1.HTM > [Accessed 29 May 2010]
- Fennell, David, (2008) Ecotourism. 3rd edn. Routledge, New York
- Oleander, Sehlin,2000 The use and integration of marketing communication tools in business-to-business firms: Case studies of three Swedish firms [Online] Available < http://epubl.luth.se/1404-5508/2000/112/index.html> [Accessed 12 June 2010]