How Do Areas Become Popular Tourist Destinations?
There's much to love about traveling, including, of course, that there are just so many options available. It's a big old world out there, after all, which means that there are plenty of places that a person can take a trip to. You could travel all your life and still not see all of the world.
While there are many great places to choose from, it's also true that some places attract more travelers than others. So how does this happen? What is it about those popular places that draw people in? In this blog, we'll run through the many reasons why a place rises to prominence. If you ever want to attract people to where you live, then it'll be a good idea to have at least one of the following traits.
There are some places that have attracted people for centuries, and perhaps even longer. If a place has a lot of history under its belt and has been a major player for longer than anyone can remember, then you can expect people to go there. Places like New York, London, Paris, and so forth don't need to advertise the benefits of visiting those cities. People will flock to them because they are historic, iconic destinations. It's usually history that makes a city a juggernaut. But it's not always the case. Dubai has quickly become one of the world's best destinations, one that's on par with the best cities in the world, because of the significant investment they've made over the past few decades.
Promoting The Virtues of the Place
Places with a sizable history can expect people to come all the time. Other places have to get the word out about the many benefits of visiting the destination. Places that have something to value but which don't have the stature of, say, New York, can use destination marketing to generate interest in their destination. People are happy to visit new places, but they often need to know what's good about the place before they book a trip. With the right marketing, up and coming destinations can ensure that the public knows everything that they need to know.
People love going to events! And that includes events of all types. It could be concerts, festivals, craft beer shows, quirky and offbeat events; anything, really, so long as it's good. There are plenty of places that are relatively quiet for the majority of the year but which burst into life for a week or so. Sports and music events are a good example of this. People may not be going en masse to Kentucky, but when the Kentucky Derby is taking place, you can bet your bottom dollar that every hotel will be booked. For music, look at Glastonbury Festival. That takes place in an otherwise quiet corner of England. When it's taking place, more than 200,000 people make their way there.
A Unique Selling Point
Some places become interesting to travelers because of a quirky or novel element. This is the case with places like Mackinac Island, a small island in the northern part of Michigan. On the face of it, it's just another nice island. But they have an ace up their sleeve that differentiates it from all the other similar places: they don't allow cars, so everything is horse-drawn. It's been that way for more than a hundred years, and people still go to experience the “lost in time” element. If the island did accept cars, then it would lose one of the main things that drive people there.
Local Food Scene
People love food, and rightly so. People normally get pretty excited about the prospect of visiting a place if there's a thriving local food scene. There may be one outstanding restaurant, which could be enough to attract people from all over the place, or there might just be a general food scene, which means that there are plenty of places to eat delicious food. Both will be effective. As well as food, some travelers are attracted to a strong craft beer scene. If a place has a lot of microbreweries doing interesting things, then they can expect people to pay attention.
Sometimes, places become popular because of their proximity to a more established place and because it has good transport links. Indeed, the areas surrounding all the major cities of the world will receive a lot of visitors, providing they have something to offer. However, this “something to offer” doesn't need to be profound. It may not be enough to draw people to the destination on its own, but because it's nearby to a place that people are already visiting.
Invest in Infrastructure
If a town wanted to attract visitors, then they could do so in a pretty direct way by investing in infrastructure that typically attracts people. For instance, skiing. If a snowy area created ski lifts, they would get visitors. Or they can build a theme park or anything else that typically attracts people to a place. However, this is a cost-heavy way to get people. It requires significant investment to create these types of attractions.
Connection to a Person/Group
A place may also receive visitors if it has a special connection to a person or a group. For instance, a notable figure from the world of entertainment. Bob Dylan's hometown will receive a lot of visitors who are fans of the musician; the same can be said of The Beatles and Elvis Presley. Basically, any person that has a loyal and dedicated fan group will have people wanting to visit their hometown.
Nobody expects a place to be perfect. They just expect it to be real. If a place has a distinctive character that people enjoy, then they'll go. It's not about having the perfect, most magical time (unless you're going to Disneyland); it's about having an experience that you sense is genuine. If a place can demonstrate its culture to the fullest, then people will go.
Word of Mouth
People like spreading the news. A large chunk of travelers visit a new destination because of the recommendation of someone they know and trust. This is more true of smaller, lesser-visited places rather than big ones (no one needs another person to recommend New York to them, for instance). It's the up and coming places that receive the most benefit from this method. Indeed, it's the fact that they're not yet an established destination that forms part of the appeal; everyone wants to visit a place before it becomes popular.
A Welcoming Mindset
Finally, there's the matter of the mindset. Places become popular not necessarily because people go there once but because they visit again and again. It's a bit like in business. You don't just want one-off customers; to build a successful venture, you'll need people to come again and again. So what attracts people back to a destination? Simple: if they had a good time, and they were made to feel welcome. There are plenty of places that have lost tourists because they didn't offer a warm greeting.
People will travel for all kinds of reasons. Sometimes, they just want to escape their daily life for a little while. When they're deciding where to go, they'll have a lot of options available to them, both in their own country and abroad. But wherever they want to go, it's likely that they'll look for at least one of the above traits.