David Ermen, founder of Destination Capacity and trainer with the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, presented at Parau Parau Tahiti (PPT) and says multiple sources of research have made it clear that consumers want to make a positive impact on places they visit and that this is influencing their choices.
‘The data is clear – customers are looking for more sustainable practices. Travel wholesalers and agents play an important part in matching consumers with the communities they visit.
‘This is a big opportunity to go through the supply chain and ask important questions. If your supplier is saying they are doing something but they are actually not then your own reputation is at risk by sending them your customers.’
Whangarei-based Ermen says everyone in the distribution chain can help ensure that a great percentage of money from tourism gets to the local community.
‘Studies show that for every $100 spent by visitors, especially in the developing world, only $5 to $10 actually remains in the host community. So this is not necessarily about more tourists, it’s more about where and how they spend their money.
‘The industry needs to look at its local procurement decisions and again look at the whole supply chain to make sure money stays with local people.’
He says the trade should also urge clients to travel out of high season. ‘It is not so busy, which means your clients have more opportunity to engage with the local people and gain the authentic experience they are looking for.’
He notes that Tahiti is one of the destinations marketing off-season opportunities.