The issues of smart sustainability and music as a boost to tourism were the key talking points on the Americas Inspiration Zone on Day Two of WTM London, the event where Ideas Arrive.
A White Paper, produced by tourism board ProColombia in association with UNWTO and Sound Diplomacy – a global advisor on increasing the value of music ecosystems – was officially launched. The White Paper explores how music is the new gastronomy when it comes to travel.
Julian Guerrero, vice president of ProColombia, said: “It’s a starting point. The White Paper just wants to ask the right questions so we start to think about music and tourism.
“Music helps you free yourself from prejudice. It doesn’t matter if you don’t understand the words. A few years ago, the whole world danced to the rhythm of Gangnam Style, but most didn’t know the words.”
Marcelo Risi, director of communications UNWTO, said: “When you see the White Paper, it makes so much sense. What took everybody so long [to come to this conclusion]? We trigger emotion through music and the challenge is how to make sense of it.”
Sound Diplomacy director Dr Julia Jones, who is a specialist in the field of music and human behavior and has led high-profile music tourism campaigns for clients such as Visit Britain, Virgin Atlantic, added:
“There isn’t a place anywhere on the planet that can’t use music to attract footfall.
“More places are realising that music is much more than entertainment. They are thinking about music in a more strategic way.”
Meanwhile, destination marketers were warned they must change the way in which they are measuring their success “beyond heads and beds, and beyond occupancy rates”, according to Chris Doyle, executive director, Europe/Central Asia, Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA).
In his presentation, called Accelerating Smart Sustainability for Destinations, Doyle said: “We are hearing horror stories around the globe of an onslaught of travellers that completely disrespect local communities.
“We have to add to the way in which we measure our impact on local communities and our contributions to restoring rural destinations and it is going to require an industry-wide to think far beyond traditional measures.
“Think down the road as you are planning your future. You have no choice but to shift the way that you are thinking about your future. Tourism as a rejuvenating force.
“Really push all of your key stakeholders to understand what it is they want out of tourism.”