This year Glyphnews is going to focus on the trends that underpin the changes coming in the tourism and hospitality sectors and how they will impact Saskatchewan. As always, our focus is squarely placed on seizing the opportunity to become a destination of choice for the massive global-international tourism market. So, let’s kick things off by talking about why we should be developing our industry to attract and support export tourism.
First, some numbers: (note: figures gathered from World Travel and Tourism Council and Government of Canada)
• Over $8.3 trillion USD = Total contribution of tourism and travel to global GDP in 2017
• 6% = growth year over year for international outbound tourism in 2018 totalling 1.4 billion unique visits
• 25,834,812 = total # of international visitors recorded for all of Canada within the period of Jan-Oct 2018
• 88,146 = total # of international visitors recorded for Saskatchewan within the period of Jan-Oct 2018. This results in a percentage of 3.4 of total Canadian international visitors.
These statistics illustrate some important points: 1) Tourism is a huge industry globally and it is growing at an impressive rate year over year. 2) Canada is in the game but…3) Saskatchewan is not (yet).
Traditional barriers, like geography or lack of direct flights, that have kept investment in export tourism low are becoming less important. Transformational experiences, customization, and value are driving the purchasing behaviour of travellers in 2019 and into the next decade. Here in Saskatchewan, we have the raw ingredients to offer compelling experiences to this new global market. We are rich in Indigenous cultures, wilderness, and agriculture. Our cities now offer elevated food experiences and world-class arts and culture, and we have a heritage of stories and history, from tragic to triumphant, that the world deserves to know about.
We have the chance to seize the initiative and get into the game. But we have to act, and we must invest.
Success will see a notable increase in our provincial GDP and job creation as well as a global elevation of our image as a province. Failure to act quickly will see us watching from the sidelines as other destinations adapt to the new travel marketplace and capture that market.
In the coming weeks on this blog, watch for deeper dives into the trends that we need to engage with in order to rapidly develop our industry to support the growth of export tourism. Here are some of the trends we’ll be exploring:
1. The post-experience economy: As a secondary market, our opportunity rests on delivering experiences that have the power to transform. The next big wave in experience development is geared towards the interests of Millennials and Gen Z and they have shown a clear preference to spend on experiences over things. However, to be competitive, an experience needs to contain meaning and connect the visitor to the place and its people in a way that’s transformative. We’ll take a look at the factors driving this trend, examples of what’s working and the opportunity we have in Saskatchewan to create transformational experiences (hint: it’s our core advantage).
2. ‘Under’ tourism: There is a global trend occurring as a response to the problems created by over tourism in traditional travel hot spots. Savvy travellers are seeking out the destinations less travelled. Major players in the industry are supporting this trend and we’ll explore how Saskatchewan can benefit.
3. Wellness and hospitality: Incorporating a philosophy of wellness (physical and mental) into hospitality product offerings is paying off big time for the operators who are investing in it. We’ll examine this trend and some of the natural advantages Saskatchewan possesses to develop experiences that feature wellness at their core.
4. Customization is the new luxury: The ability for visitors to customize all aspects of their travel journey, from booking preferences to in-trip experiences, is becoming the new standard for luxury in the tourism market. We’ll examine how this trend is impacting the industry and how Saskatchewan operators can apply customization options to their product offerings.
5. Personalization: Our browsing and social media habits have given marketers and analysts vast amounts of personal data to work with. Over time this data has been used to develop sophisticated profiles that segment consumers based on demographics, values, and purchasing behaviours. It can feel strange when an ad appears for a product or service you have been thinking about, but it’s a strangeness that is being normalized. In fact, catering to personal interests is becoming more desirable to travelers.
6. Tours and activities are the next frontiers: The travel industry is staking claims on the tours and events sector as the next big frontier in tourism. The big OTAs (online travel agencies) are building capacity and customer demand for experiences has led to valuations in the billions in untapped market potential. We’ll examine how to build partnerships to rapidly develop high-quality experiences that can be leveraged by operators to seize this opportunity, as well as the gaps in our current infrastructure that will need to be filled.
If you are interested in exploring any of these trends in more detail or want to start a conversation please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org