Marketing of a Tourist Destination
Destination marketing has been an age old concept in the Western world. However still at a nascent stage in India. Today with the growing competition in the tourism industry destination marketing has become a necessity. Even in India the type of growth the travel and tourism industry has been witnessing in the past one decade has been phenomenal. With the fast growing penetration of internet and further facilitation by accessibility even in phones the awareness level has never been that high. Today when it comes to holiday planning or visiting a tourist destination there are a host of websites as well as search engines to speak about different sites as well as tourist blogs. With the per capita expenditure on this head increasing today Destination marketing has become a full fledged industry in itself. We are now coming across process like Packing of destination, Life Cycle of a destination as well as Destination branding.
Despite having a vast potential in terms of tourism there has been a lack of interest in terms of Marketing of destinations. With the largest population we also have the largest number of travelers. Today for all those Indians who are going abroad for leisure if we ask them have visited all the top destinations within their country the answer, perhaps will be no. Its a known fact that if we can convert even half of the LTC (Leave Travel Concessions) for domestic tourism we do not need to look for foreigners to come to India. The best example is Gujarat. After successfully using Amitabh Bachchan as the brand ambassador with an impressive message strategy this state is today able to register the strongest growth in incoming tourists. Yes they are facing infrastructural issues as they did not expect this sort of communication impact.
However we need to always keep in mind Marketing is not selling. Selling is one part of it. Thus when we talk of destination marketing it not only means promotion but also a high level of customer satisfaction resulting in a very strong word of mouth as well as repeat visits by the tourists.
Time will tell whether we can prove our marketing mettle once we have a range of offerings in a diverse country like India.