Most people place tourism into one of two categories, seeing the world or saving an economy. While tourism has been known as a form as touring the world and seeing what you’ve never seen before, it is also a means of bringing in revenue for many countries.
But this is not all that tourism has to offer. Recent years have seen travel become more about the experience than what is seen. From activities to adventures, people around the world have found ways to truly experience and get to know a location and its customs rather than merely visit it.
This shift comes at a time when social media has made travel photos the norm – if not necessary, with an abundance of pictures and posts allowing each user to showcase their own version of a destination. As a result, snapping a photo of your journey for the world to see can be perceived as less fulfilling than it was decades ago. Some people, often known as foodies, have started traveling purely to taste and snap unique cuisine around the world – a trend which has become known as food tourism. Rather than see a famous restaurant, tourists want to experience the true flavour of local food in any given destination. Similarly, travellers might not find it exciting to drink international alcohol brands in a pub in Dublin, but they are a lot more thrilled to experience whiskey tasting at the Old Jameson Distillery.
Following this increased search for experiential tourism, cities have developed more interactive attractions that cater to the adventurous needs of travellers. These include everything from milking cows on farms in South Africa to touring with K-Pop celebs for live events in South Korea. Visitors in Colombia can (and are encouraged to) play one of the culture’s traditional sports, tejo, which involves beer and the projecting of steel with gunpowder. For those who aren’t too sure what experiences await in their dream destinations, brands such as Experience Designers are available to curate your trip so that you truly experience every location to its fullest. Whether you’re looking to travel locally within Ireland or plan to cross shores to a new climate, these professionals have it covered with authentic travelling at the root of their services.
Our 21st century lust for genuine experiences does not end with tourism either. The trend has caught on in nearly every industry through the use of experiential marketing and other applications. Mr Green’s Club Royale, for example, expands on the brand’s online casino game and slot offering by offering loyal members exclusive events. This strategy makes the product more inclusive – turning it into a complete lifestyle experience rather than a collection of gaming options. Elsewhere, as a sponsor for extreme sports, Red Bull hosts regular public events that include sporting experiences. Companies are even using social media as a form of interacting and giving potential customers the chance to experience something new through competitions and event tickets, with Facebook trialing the IQ Live experience platform in 2017.
Whether or not this concept will transform the tourism industry within Dublin, only time can tell. Until then, the city’s quaint pubs, heritage sites and scenic routes make for all the unique experience a visitor (or local) could want. Perhaps the key is into promoting the experiential aspect of visiting it, which is something any local business can try.
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