I have set myself up on the internet to receive RSS Feeds for news sources when a tourism article is printed online, worldwide.  I received an Okanagan tourism article today and this one article made me shake my head in disbelief.

How blind, naive  some tourism associations can be.  Too many think old school and not enough think out of the box. Tourism is changing and the associations are already playing catch up.  And worst of all they are getting advice from people who have no merit of the Canadian market to give advice. Basically an expert finds out what they want to hear and then proceeds to tell them the obvious.. just like a Snake Oil Salesman told the early pioneers.

So here is the set up. An organization in the Okanagan invited a so called tourism expert from the United Kingdom to speak with them and assist them in marketing there tourism region. Yes.. you got it right, a United Kingdom expert informing the region about a Canadian market she knows nothing about.

The lesson the attendees came away with is that  tourism in the Okanagan needs to sell the experience of the region more effectively.  Wow.. what a discovery. If this is a new marketing idea to you then  you are a “Smarter than a 5th grader” contestant for sure ? I am just shaking my head. How silly and a waste of time. Since when is the United Kingdom tourism market similar to Canada ? Oh yah.. based on the lesson of the day they aren’t.

There is no one answer to improving tourism because every tourism region in BC is different. First, you must analyze and reconstruct first.  Questions have to be asked before ideas are formed.  Questions like what target markets are you currently targeting?  What advertising mediums are you using?  What are there ROI. What markets are currently visiting your destination?  How long are they staying?  When do they come to visit?  What specialty markets are you attracting.  What events do you host to attract tourism dollars?  The list goes on and on…

How much money did it cost the tourism association to have someone come in and state the obvious?  Come on sell the experience.. how obvious is that.  If this was ground breaking information to the tourism association then they are in deep trouble.

My suggestion to this organization is stop wasting peoples money and get out from behind the desk and get your feet dirty and do some research. Maybe next time you get a speaker pick someone successful from the western hemisphere would be a good start.. at least the tourism markets are similar.

Come on tourism wake up and think on your own for a change!

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