Sustainable, Value-Based Tourism and What It Means for Your Destination


As of 2021, the concepts of sustainable tourism and value-based travel have taken hold, and people are now paying more attention to how tourism can affect destination communities. Sustainable tourism destinations must consider the economic, community and environmental weight of tourism. This type of destination marketing contrasts with the price-based travel that was popular in the past.

Destinations that practice sustainable, value-based tourism can expect to become an even more important community hub. DMOs must work to promote the economy, local history, attractions and nature. This trend is especially important because of the environmentally-friendly mindset that many people have adopted. As a result, DMOs must carefully craft a strategy that connects with today’s travelers. 

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What is Value-Based Tourism?

Value-based tourism is one of the most popular types of travel these days. With people from all generations becoming more conscientious about sustainability and travel, they’re booking trips that offer some value to their lives.

By definition, value-based tourism offers clear differentiation factors that help the traveler understand the tangible value of visiting a specific location. Travelers understand that the tourism industry plays a role in economic development and want to travel to support local communities. And the value in value-based tourism refers to exactly that: wanting to mitigate potential damage caused by tourism by supporting the health of the local economy, community and environment. 

Trends for Travelers

Sustainability plays a major role in the modern traveler’s decision to book trips based on value rather than getting the most bang for their buck. 

With the world becoming more involved in environmental and economic health, travel trends are leaning toward types of tourism that suit these values. According to an article by EHL Insights, four new types of travel are becoming more popular than ever: 

  1. Sustainable Tourism
  2. Food Tourism
  3. Experiential Tourism
  4. Wellness Tourism

While some travelers may choose to hit up local attractions and go sightseeing, the main purpose of their trips is no longer singularly focused on these activities. Instead, they want to stay eco-friendly, taste the local food and experience something that’s off the beaten path while taking the time to focus on their health too. 

Need funding to keep your initiatives going? Check out our ON-DEMAND webinar to learn from the experts on how to stand out to funders and get the money your destination needs.

Implementing Sustainable Tourism in Your Marketing Strategy

To successfully market a tourist destination, implementing strategies from the sustainable tourism playbook is critical. To do so, it’s critical to know how your destination fits into the community and surrounding region. Not only that, but it’s essential to know how to best position the value that travelers will get from their trip. If you’re looking to attract the kind of travelers who are interested in paying more for better experiences, take a look at some of our top recommended tactics:

  • Determine your target audience and personas so that all of your efforts work toward attracting the right types of travelers.
  • Create a Community or Events page on your destination’s website to make a connection with other local happenings.
  • Create marketing strategies that encourage all stakeholders to engage with your location, including local officials, hotels, restaurants and bars, hotels and venues.
  • Create online and offline advertising campaigns that highlight the value that your location offers.

When DMOs properly position their destination, travelers can book the right trip for their values and preferences. What may have once been a destination fit for a quick stop on the road to elsewhere can be rebranded as a historical and entertainment hub that provides the type of value travelers are seeking.

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What Value-Based Tourism Really Means for Your Destination

With changing travel trends and the impact of COVID-19, the tourism industry has experienced a massive shift. Studies are predicting that there will be a continued “decline in international arrivals close to 70%, with recovery to pre-crisis levels not expected before 2023”

All of this points to a new mindset that DMOs and heritage tourism destinations need to adopt in order to survive: showcasing the value of their area and the good that tourism does for their community. 

More than ever, communities need to have their voices heard. Overtourism may not be much of a problem these days, but it’s important to be mindful of how your community is affected by travelers. Creating a united front through strategic marketing efforts will allow you to showcase and highlight the unique offerings in your area in order to attract the attention of value-seeking tourists. 

Elevate Your Destination with Sustainable, Value-Based Tourism

Whether you’re ready to begin implementing a marketing strategy or want to learn more about what value-based tourism means for your destination, it’s critical to stay on top of this emerging trend. Make sure you check out news related to destination marketing with resources like the DMO Download for more information on the latest travel and tourism trends.
Learn more about heritage tourism and leveraging a marketing strategy for your destination with this on-demand webinar.

Bull Moose
The star behind Bull Moose Marketing. Experienced traveler, whiskey connoisseur and selective herbivore. ? Stay tuned for my new podcast, "The Scenic Route", on cultural tourism and economic development. ?

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