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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