Doug Lansky is a travel writer, speaker and performer whose keynotes on destination development and the future of DMOs are legendary. An avid traveler, Doug has made it a profession to look at both the pristine landscapes and wildlife, and the cramped parking lot from where you are photographing them. Just like his book ‘Travel, the Guide’, this interview is an eye opener for those in charge of managing and marketing destinations.
- The main changes in the tourism industry of late;
- Why destinations need to be on top of the sustainability game to remain competitive;
- Why destination marketing work should be measured by revenues, rather than number of visitors;
- The importance of reviews and why destination marketers need to focus on fixing problems and deliver on the brand promise, rather than promotion.
Doug, you have been traveling and writing for many years. In your view, which have been the biggest positive and negative changes in the tourism industry of late?
I’m going to sound like an old guy saying this, but back when I was backpacking, communicating with friends and family was a drag. Postcards were nice, and often charming. But sometimes you needed to call and check in. In some parts of the world, that could cost about US$30 for a few minutes of static and an abrupt disconnection. And there was no way for people to really get in touch with me in a hurry. Obviously, all that has changed.
I think if you ask people who are in their 20s-30s about this in 10-20 years, they may bitch about global roaming fees in the same way (I’m assuming those fees will be gone by then). So improved communication is a positive.
Negatives: 1) Places (thanks to franchises) look more and more alike 2) overcrowding at popular destinations is a bigger problem 3) coral reefs and other eco-sensitive spots are getting pummeled.