Dubai in 1980 looked nothing like the glamorous futuristic city it is today. The Emerati nation has managed to recreate itself in brilliant ways via infrastructure, branding, influencer marketing and careful public relations. It has managed to turn what was in many ways an empty desert into a thriving metropolis ready and capable of receiving tourist from around the world
Additionally, this conservative Muslim enclave succeeds at doing something many developing nations striving for tourist dollars fail at: preserving the liveability and privacy of its own citizens. Many developing nations are unwittingly overrun by shady actors, sex tourists and strong outsider influences that negatively affect their populations.
However, citizens living in Dubai, although surrounded by tourist hot spots still have the luxury of living a generally normal Muslim life that is unencumbered by the secularism all around them that caters to foreigners near and far. What is haram in the culture can be left to the transient and the traveller without impeding the natural flow of day to day life.
We will look at five things developing nations can do to boost tourism and drum up some good publicity.
Improve infrastructure and preserve historic sites. It is probably one of the most overlooked aspects of drawing tourist.: having something to see. Most tourist, including business tourists do not travel to a destination to experience major logistical obstacles or chronic pool-side boredem. Even if you can’t improve everything all at once, start now making critical improvements and renovations to infrastructure and landmarks: then monetize those sites.
Showcase Culture. While some nations succeed at this aspect, others fail miserably. Sometimes ethnic tensions make it difficult for nation to decide what to showcase. This doesn’t have to be a problem. In fact, you can use your diversity as a major selling point and create new avenues for tourist dollars if you galvanize your tribes and erhnic hisrories to let diversity work for you!
Upsale Upscale Add-ons. Many developing nations often make the mistake of offering premium services to ALL clients. Particularly those coming from certain nations. The waiter is dashing madly to the first foreigner he sees! No! This is a mistake. Don’t give up all of your golden eggs at once, instead parse out your premium services for a price. Make sure there is a notable difference in services offered. If anyone can get the top service, then it’s not special. Make your offerings special.
Influencer Marketing is a big new draw these days and plays an even bigger role in some cases than regular advertising. Many nations offer free vacations to luxury travel blogger and influencers. And while that avenue should absolutely be exploited–don’t forget the business, policy, tech, entrepreneur and non-entertainment segment. These people have followers and colleagues too. Associates that are more likely to actually book a flight, appreciate testimonials and be influenced by a colleague or someone “serious” in their field taking that trip. They are more likely to see it as a work meeting destination or a place to relax from work.
Stabilize Services and Improve Technology and Connectivity. Some tourists don’t mind a blackout or bad mobile connectivity on a trip. But most will. This means you have to invest in the kind of electric, telecommunications and technology services that makes visiting or hosting an event or summit possible. Be sure to get the word out that connectivity is high and stable. If your nation has been known internationally for bad services, when you improve them, list them on brochures and mention it often in ads on social media, tv and radio.
Protect Local Populations. It doesn’t seem like much, but you can greatly improve the allure of your nation if people do not see it as a one horse town that has abandoned its people to the wiles of the elements and the avarice of unscrupulous foreigners. If you do not show a level of respect for your own citizens, people are less likely to believe they should invest major money on a vacation or a business summit. It’s kind of like that old saying, “know your worth.” When tourists perceive that local towns are left to rot or to the ravages of predatory visitors they are less likely to believe you deserve the dollar amount you are asking for the amenities , conference center and attending staff. One of you’re greatest selling points will be treating your own population well, so that they don’t assume your a cheap date.
You may not be able to make all of these changes at once, but it helps to start now. Make a list of areas that need to be addressed within each of the categories mentioned above. Review your budget and have serious conversations about what can be accomplished right now.
Even if you do not have the budget necessary, choose tasks from your list that you can implement now. There are plenty of ways to solve a single problem–sometimes you just need the expertise. Hire or contract a professional that is sympathetic to your national goals and get help in the process. You can do it!
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