As the global community adapts to life during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, new and different consumer behaviors and expectations are developing. One important change for the tourism industry is a move towards Localism and the unique identity of a destination. This has a clear impact on target customers in the short term and a lasting impact on consumer expectations of a “localized” experience when travelling more widely. What was at first inflicted upon residents through travel restrictions, both nationally and internationally, has developed into a passion to support both their own communities and businesses, and those of places they visit.
Authentic, localized experiences often go hand in hand with food and drink where provenance is key, such as distilleries offering whisky or gin tastings and personalized food pairings. However, this trend can be more widely applied to opportunities across tourism sector.
• Promote local skills and craftsmanship through tours, classes or retail
• Encourage visitors to discover your destination’s art or music culture
• Give visitors the inside scoop on attractions and activities at the heart of your community
Appreciation “experiencing a different culture, food, way of life, community”
Slow Burn: Responsible travel and the impact of high-volume tourism has been of increasing importance in recent years, illustrated by growth in movements such as Green Tourism and Tourism Declares.
Trigger Change: COVID-19 has accelerated this trend through the suspension of international travel and subsequent barriers to travel. Individuals have heightened awareness of their impact on the world around them and have (re-)discovered the joy in closer to home experiences.
Emerging Expectation: Visitors are keen to experience the unique attributes of a destination with an emphasis on “real” people, places and activities, whilst still getting the buzz and excitement associated with an overseas trip.
Activities associated with localism will enable visitors to meet these pledges, as part of their Responsible Tourism Promise:
• Slow down and savor every moment of what there is to see, do and learn.
• Shop local to enjoy the best products and support Scottish makers and businesses.
• Respect the locals and their resources.
(Courtesy Visit Scotland)