What do we make of the annual tourism figures for 2013?

Bordeaux has some of the best scenery, especially for dating couples

Bordeaux (South of France) is home to some of the best scenery, especially for dating couples

Statistics from several reliable sources prove that the top three countries most visited yearly in the world are:

Statistics calculated from each countries 2013 tourism figures (telegraph)

  1. France (84.7 million, 2% increase from previous year)
  2. United States Of America (69.8 million, 4.7% increase from previous year)
  3. Spain (60.7 million, 5.6% increase from previous year)

I took some time out to properly view and understand this, then it became clear. We understand of course France possess one of most common tourist attractions in the world, The Eiffel Tower. What struck me the most? The quite hilarious fact that France gave the USA, New York specifically, The Statue Of Liberty in 1886, so it’s beyond me why America sit behind France for the second year in a row within the annual Tourism figures.

Picture taken by myself during my France outing in the Summer of 2012

Picture taken by myself during my France outing in the Summer of 2012

Gustave Eiffel the engineer behind The Eiffel Tower’s legacy definitely lives on,  when we come to terms, that is the main reason why tourism figures are remaining so high for France. The country itself, I know very well and visit regularly to see Family so I understand the atmosphere there is very smooth and oozes cultural, so it’s no surprise that when Walt Disney theme park comes into the equation France will be at the top for some years to come and as for myself I’ve just made my decision that I will not argue with the statistics on that one. We would all agree France is in a very tight race with Spain as best country to visit in Europe

The USA will always be up there, with 50 states across the country with an area of 9,857,306 km² land, it’s inevitable that tourists and families love visiting America on a consistent basis and why not, it’s across the Atlantic, sun, different culture, great food, atmosphere and luxury living no matter where you stay whether it be family, Villa or Hotel. Let’s remember the United States of America is a massive platform for students in terms of the history and heritage that is now behind us of course, but it’s a patriotic country.

In the car, the road ahead is the back roads off Oakland Blvd Fort Lauderdale, Florida. beautiful scenes.

In the car, the road ahead is the back roads off Oakland Blvd Fort Lauderdale, Florida. beautiful scenes.

For families and students to visit the USA year in year out, they are doing something right which I will explain after I give the verdict on the three countries. Florida and New York are popular among tourists, New York because of the way it is promoted, it makes us want to go there by the way we see it in Hollywood directed movies like: Marvels Spiderman, The Devil Wears Prada, The Wolf Of Wall Street and so many more, so it’s reputation is very bold. Los Angeles and Las Vegas are both also extremely popular destinations that provide tourists with an electric thrill of excitement seeing the beaches and casinos.

Wendy’s, Popeyes, KFC and Philly Steaks are just some of the wonderful eating fast-food restaurants that I eat at in Florida, big fan of their food choices, unhealthy yet satisfying at the highest level of ‘my belly is full’. There is also very, very low traffic issues on the roads in the sunny states, touring or visiting a country where you can freely travel is of course appealing… Transport methods though? Not as frequent as you may find in London and Europe.

Fort Lauderdale Beach, Oakland Blvd Entrance, during the summer Hurricanes and Rain is the kind of weather we got in 2014, however the humidity still stands

Fort Lauderdale Beach, Oakland Blvd Entrance, during the summer Hurricanes and Rain is the kind of weather we got in 2014, however the humidity still stands

I remember a couple of months ago, I made a guess that the top three countries in the world would be USA, France and Spain in that order. When I checked the results, I got France and the US mixed up. It’s obvious, with the party islands and cities that Spain has it’s a clearly targeted at teenagers and youth to go and spend summers. To add to that, it’s no secret Spain’s sporting success has boasted their culture and country to more tourism, back to back European Championship Winners in Football from 2008 to 2014 and a World Cup in 2010, also the rise of Spanish club Football in Spain with high flyers Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid showing everybody else how the game should be played.

Spain have almost marketed themselves to a high level. No wonder their Tourism Boards do not allow their Companies to accept services from other agencies unless it’s in Spain, they are building themselves up dramatically in such a short space of time. Their weather for being in Europe is also a major factor why tourists tend to travel to Spain, it’s a holiday not too far from home, Tenerife could pass as a tropical country. For young men of today, the consistency in females that come from Spain has given them a reputation which gives the country a socialising flavour, especially among the Villages.

The whole reason why I decided to pick this topic is to outline the importance of marketing and branding. Branding a product is easy and doesn’t take as much thought and execution as branding a whole country. Yes the USA and Spain have done certain activities positive and negative in the past that have given them a name, but if it is driving in revenue for the companies on an annual basis who are we to judge?

To market and brand a website means to set a unique trend that the country follows, something that the whole world will see and think of when it comes to something like word association. The country is the product and the designers to marketers to social media analysts have played big roles for the three countries above. It’s all about finding a ‘USP’ something that sets you aside, France done it and still do it perfectly, the Eiffel Tower and moustaches with artist beret hats and trouser braces commonly associated with French men, croissants and pain au chocolats are sold around the World, French delicacies for the food market.

As humans we visit the countries that draw us in, the ones that attract us. The majority of those that read this, I’d say about 95% of you have visited at least one of the three countries, if not then all of them in your lifetime, whereas if I was to list the bottom three countries least visited in the world (list of top 10):

  1. Russia
  2. United Kingdom
  3. Germany

My audience I’d like to think is world wide, but in reality it is of course just London based at the moment. How many of you can say you have visited Russia and Germany? Definitely not 95% of you, the numbers could even fall below 50%. The job of Marketing Agencies and Branders is to build the reputation of countries that are beautiful but not yet discovered for it’s beauty, The Maldives is an Island where many Investors are building Resorts for the niche market of teenagers and families, the figures have not been published as of now but I can confidently say it will rise by around 6% as 2018 arrives.

Germany Tourism Boards do their best to ensure results for their tourism statistics, but what is stopping the country from achieving their potential? Annual Beer Festivals, Black Forest, their carefree approach to life? Not possible, these are cultural positives that are pushed out as attractions. I believe there is a nervous, stereotypical opinion when Germany is suggested as a great country to visit.

That however is a completely different topic discussion so I won’t go into that. What I do know is tourism figures rising, is the result of first class promotions and branding for sure.

Thanks for reading.

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WTM London 2014

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A week on from the scintillating atmosphere that filled the London Excel Centre and it is truly missed. A Business networking hub in one big spectacle, I believe many companies there definitely achieved their targets and for the ones that might have been unlucky, I’m sure they loved the vibe that was flowing for those four days.

For me it was a humbling experience that I enjoyed every minute of, I see everything as a learning situation so there’s no doubt this one was up there. I remember the journey to the Royal Victoria Docks on that morning commencing Tuesday 4th November, I was confident as it is important to be yet quite nervous, I was trying to remain level headed and make a good impression of myself.

Tuesday 4th November – Thursday 6th November 2014

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect on the business side of things, but I knew it was going to be a huge occasion. Going past Canary Wharf and West India Quay, of course there was going to be a lot of sophisticated high class people but when I walked up to the steps of the Excel Centre, if the building didn’t startle me, the amount of people in one place did. It was announced that there were about 10,000 exhibitors and traders in the Excel Centre for the WTM, on the 4th November 2014. The final count up was given today and the WTM had 52,000 Travel Industry Professionals, more than I had even imagined.

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The World Travel Market is an annual Travel and Tourism Trade Show which consists of Exhibitors and Traders. The majority of the exhibitors are Hotels, Tour Groups and Resorts that come under a Country Tourism Board. There was every country in the World there exhibiting for new business links and partners mainly to consume services from the traders that were from Marketing Agencies and Companies. I’m from a Marketing Company so we provide services like Email Marketing Platforms, IT solutions and General Marketing and branding services to improve exhibitors traffic flow.

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I was very happy to have the opportunity to be amongst some of the biggest and best marketers from around the globe. I met some great people that I hope to build a working relationship with, others well, you might recognise them…

Rudolph Walker also known as ‘Patrick’ from BBC soap Eastenders was one of three stars representing Trinidad and Tobago, he was there along with Manchester United FC legend Dwight Yorke and Cricketer Brian Lara which were very genuine guys to be with.

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The reality was I was in a place where this was normal, however my first WTM experience had me of course excited to see people I enjoy watching on TV, Dwight Yorke one of Manchester United’s best strikers ever was in a place without millions of security guards surrounding him, it was a real pleasure…

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Surprisingly a lot was happening in the Caribbean stands and the Indian Ocean countries, traders see these countries as the targets to push their products to, being less exposed to tourism and technology, it’s an easy way to get business if I’m honest. I saw the UAE stands and they were only occupied if the Governors were having meetings with very few traders, not many companies have the tools to boldly offer UAE states.

For myself it was all a surreal feeling being there in itself, I had a few meetings with exhibitors and discussed Marketing activities and future projects, I feel grateful for the support a lot of exhibitors gave me. They admired my confidence and approach, obviously being 17 years old, I was looked down on by competitors quite a lot, it was a Exhibition Centre full of sharks, everybody wants to gain business connects.

I was told I’ll have a bright career ahead if I keep up my consistency, my manager tells me and exhibitors from Vietnam and Russia also informed me, I took that with great pride but humility as ever. I know that next year I will be much sharper when pitching to exhibitors.

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I was fortunate to meet with representatives from Etihad Airways, they are also Manchester City FC sponsors. They are such inspiring people, even the security guard protecting the Official Barclays Premier League Trophy 2013/14 season…

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Seeing the air hostesses so laid back for the first time in my life, was a surprising event I will never forget. Throughout the three days there, I picked up memories I will never forget, definitely felt like a dream.

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I met with the manager of Greek Company Avra Tours, he deals with Groups, Tours and Marketing projects there and it what a funny sense of humour he had, I hope we can build a good relationship with him in the future.

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The Province of an Island Resort in the Philippines had an issue with attracting Tourists, I’m afraid it is confidential and that is all I’m aloud to say but what impressed me the most was their hospitality towards us, offered us Philippine delicacies and water, very friendly people, this project will no doubt be an exciting one.

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In the Asia section, I visited China quite a few times, I noticed things weren’t as busy as the other stands, I believe this was due to budget issues that many of the Asian countries are affected by. I noticed this as I spoke to Managing Directors. Europe was the most busiest as a whole; a vast amount of people were there everyday. Europe has Spain and France in it, two out of three being the most visited places in the World statistically, the other being USA.

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Small countries such as Panama were at the WTM, in Marketing it’s all about exposure, the best Marketing and Branding Companies can dig deep, find the USP’s about a country and push it out to the audience attracting tourists resulting in more traffic. This man was representing the Panama Culture.

Taiwan Photo Set, unfortunately they do not speak much English but actions speak louder than words and were good people

Taiwan Photo Set, unfortunately they do not speak much English but actions speak louder than words and were good people

I guess the winner of the Barclays Premier League Title isn't Chelsea FC, It's me...

I guess the winner of the Barclays Premier League Title isn’t Chelsea FC, It’s me…

Unable to give you full details but admire the development skills of UAE engineers.

Unable to give you full details but admire the development skills of UAE engineers.

A beautiful Bolivian Dancer showcasing her talents to bypassing exhibitors, I stopped her for a chat, she justifies my love for Latin American women

A beautiful Bolivian Dancer showcasing her talents to bypassing exhibitors, I stopped her for a chat, she justifies my love for Latin American women

A Selfie in front of the Oman stand, as you can see the stands of countries from UAE and Arab connections were built quite big almost like temples.

A Selfie in front of the Oman stand, as you can see the stands of countries from UAE and Arab connections were built quite big almost like temples.

If I’m to conclude to this blog on the World Travel Market, I’d say it was a terrific few days that I really enjoyed, I know next year I will be ready to network and meet more people than I did this year. I learnt a lot about Marketing as a whole, it’s about knowledge, the more you know, the easier it is to attract consumers.

I hope to build relationships in the coming weeks with people I met, this has given me a massive push to keep working on improving my skills to market my products to the highest level I can do.

Who knows,  if my business connections don’t go great next year… maybe my blog next year will be better than this.

Thanks for reading.

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