Today was a good day. I drank water out of a stream, paddled down a river, acted out a Native American legend and got to watch my students learn about Niche Tourism. There is no doubt that learning by doing is the best way to learn. I watched my students see the importance of Tourism on local populations first hand as well as truly appreciate the importance of Marketing. We spent the day participating in several forms of Niche Tourism. Many of us not even aware that this experience could be found in our backyard.
As students of Tourism and Travel and Marketers we have to ask why are we not aware that experiences like this exist so close to home? As Tourism professionals it is important to provide tourism products that are easily accessible to the public…If you build it, they will come may be a nice mantra, but the reality is that if the public is unaware of a product they will not come. It is our jobs as Marketers to make the public aware of our product. Today is a case in point. How is it possible that I have lived 45 minutes away from the Grand River for almost twenty years, but have never been until now? The essence of Marketing is about meeting clients wants and needs. I have wanted this type of Tourism Product, Tourism Providers have developed the programs to meet my needs….but with out knowing it existed my Tourism dollars have gone elsewhere.
I have wanted to find a place like Paris for years. It offers a great product in the natural beauty of the Grand River, home to Bald eagles, Deer, Otters, Beavers and more. It offers great providers of Niche Tourism in The Grand River Rafting Company as well as Tribal Vision Dance. So how do we Market this destination for Tourism? How does a small town, with limited tourism dollars, spread the word about their amazing products? I would start with Social media. With a limited budget and a few give aways, you could spread the word in a very efficient way.
The challenge I put out to you students, is how do Niche Tourism Providers, share their great products with the world? What would have worked to get you to Paris today, if I had not arranged this field trip? Lets talk about it in class next week.