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Tourism Success Stories and Rising Stars

World Tourism Conference Proceedings

Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia

4-6 October 2010

Copyright © 2012, World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Calle Capitán Haya, 42




Tourism Success Stories and Rising Stars – World Tourism Conference Proceedings Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia, 4 – 6 October 2010 ISBN-13: 978-92-844-1394-2 (printed version) ISBN-13: 978-92-844-1428-4 (electronic version)

Published by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Madrid, Spain Printed by First printing in 2011 All rights reserved

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World Tourism Organization (2012), Tourism Success Stories and Rising Stars – World Tourism Conference Proceedings – Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia, 4 – 6 October 2010, UNWTO, Madrid.

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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Table of Contents   Foreword v 1. Overwiew Datuk Dr. Victor Wee and Dr. Wong Kong




Overwiew Datuk Dr. Victor Wee and Dr. Wong Kong Yew



Papers and Presentations



Opening Ceremony


2.1.1 Welcome Remarks The Hon. Dato’ Sri Dr. Ng Yen Yen Minister of Tourism, Malaysia


2.1.2 Welcome Remarks The Right Hon. Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Haji Aman Chief Minister of Sabah


2.1.3 Welcome Remarks His Excellency Mr. Taleb Rifai Secretary-General, World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)



Keynote Speeches


2.2.1 Country Branding for Sustainable Success Susan Warren


2.2.2 Shaping the Government Agenda to Improve Tourism Competitiveness Dr. Jurgen Ringbeck


2.2.3 Running a Successful National Tourism Campaign:

Visit Malaysia Year 2007 Datuk Dr. Victor Wee and Dato’ Dr. Ong Hong Peng


2.3 First Session: Mega Trends and Innovation 97 2.3.1 Preparing Tourism Business for Mega Trends

2.3 First Session: Mega Trends and Innovation


2.3.1 Preparing Tourism Business for Mega Trends Prof. Kaye Chon


2.3.2 Expanding into New Frontiers with Air Asia Azran Osman Rani


2.3.3 Global Destinations Rating for Competitiveness


Albert Stafford

2.4 Second Session: Tourism Business and Service Excellence


2.4.1 Know Your Customer Paul Nursey


2.4.2 Creativity and Innovation: Tourism and Leisure Business James McBride


2.4.3 Maintaining Higher Tourist Arrivals: The Case of France Frédéric Pierret


2.5 Third Session: Tourism Product Development and Marketing


2.5.1 Global Economic Shift and Changing Consumer Behaviour:

Maximising Tourism Potential Daniel Levine


2.5.2 Getting More Value Out of an Eco-tourism Destination:

Sabah’s Experience Dato’ Seri Tengku Zainal Adlin Tengku Mahmod


2.5.3 Amsterdam:

Developing New Experiences for a Tourism City Hans Dominicus




Annex A – Statistics for Participants


Annex B – Conference Programme



Tourism has proven over the years to be a great contributor to the global economy.

It is a powerful driver of socio-economic growth and progress as evidenced by the

creation of jobs and enterprises, infrastructure development and the generation of foreign exchange income.

Even though it is not immune to the influence of crisis situations of national, regional or international nature, it has also repeatedly demonstrated its ability to rebound strongly after crisis.

The World Tourism Conference (WTC) 2010 was organised at a time when the tourism industry was gradually recovering from the exceptionally challenging time it had experienced under the influence of the global economic crisis. This was no coincidence. UNWTO’s response to the global economic challenge and its negative impact on international tourism was to design a Roadmap for recovery. It is a testament to tourism and travel as one of the world’s biggest sources of employment and export earnings as well as a crucial catalyst for economic recovery. In line with the Roadmap, WTC 2010 aimed at examining the strategies of leading destinations and organisations which can be adopted to accelerate growth in the tourism industry. It also focused on innovative product development and marketing strategies for tourism to enable public and private sectors to harness and maximise the potential of tourism.

Tourism Success Stories and Rising Stars – the end-product of the Conference is a compilation of examples of success stories and best practices of leading destinations and organisations in the tourism industry. It covers topics ranging from the creation of tourism businesses, service excellence, country branding to tourism product development and marketing.

I congratulate all the international speakers and experts as well as their local

counterparts from Malaysia whose valuable contribution of information has enriched

Foreword v

the contents of the publication. It is a must-have reference material which we are adding to the pool of knowledge on tourism business operations, tourism policies, strategies and methodologies for tourism development at the national, regional and municipal levels.

I also commend Dr. Victor Wee, Chairman of UNWTO’s Programme Committee and Dr. Wong Kong-Yew, Associate Professor of the Tourism Research Institute for Policy Studies of Malaysia for their contribution to the conclusions of the publication as well as their editorial input.

Last but not least, I compliment the Regional Programme for Asia and the Pacific of UNWTO on initiating and coordinating the production of this publication.

vi Tourism Success Stories and Rising Stars

Taleb Rifai

Secretary-General World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)

1 Overview
1 Overview
1 Overview
1 Overview
1 Overview

Datuk Dr. Victor Wee

Chairman, Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board

Dr. Wong Kong Yew

Vice President, Strategic Projects, UCSI University

The World Tourism Conference 2010 (WTC2010) held from 4 to 6 October 2010 in Kota Kinabalu, state capital of Sabah, Malaysia was very timely because it provided useful inputs to governments and the tourism industry that were looking for ways to boost the economy and businesses following the 2009 economic slump. The tourism and travel industry is now gaining more attention as a generator for income and employment. To mainstream tourism in the economic agenda, the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) are both collaborating on a campaign to raise the profile of tourism by meeting with heads of states and impressing on them the importance of this industry.

As mentioned by Dr. Taleb Rifai in his Welcome Remark in the World Tourism Conference 2010 (WTC2010), sustaining growth in the difficult world-trading climate is a challenge. Adding to the issues faced by the tourism industry, Rifai said that the economy, employment, enablement, environment and energy are currently the industry’s biggest challenges. The austerity measures, as well as the rise in taxation on travel implemented by several advanced economies, are expected to negatively impact the leading outbound markets. Of concern are governments – in particular the United Kingdom and Germany – taxing outbound tourism as a source of revenue which has been disguised as taxes to reduce airline emissions. For tourism to prosper and deliver its full range of benefits, including generating employment, governments need to adopt enabling environments in terms of tourism facilitation policies and enabling legislative environments.

Yet, as the world grows smaller, the competition for tourism businesses is heating up. Unforeseen occasional shocks could adversely affect a country’s tourism industry and even set back its entire economy (Ringbeck and Gross, 2007). Hence, there is a question on what countries can do to sustain and improve their tourism industry. WTC2010 brought together an impressive panel of speakers who represents a selection of the “Stars” from the tourism industry, addressing the issue of how to

Overview 3

enhance one’s competitiveness and grow the tourism industry at different levels, specifically the national, city, destination and corporate levels. To bring about growth in this industry that cuts across sectors, government bodies, private sectors and NGOs should collaborate and cooperate to promote and sustain development of the tourism industry. Public-Private Partnership (PPP) is one of the most popular practices adopted by various destinations to enhance their competitive advantage.

Tourism as an economic contributor

The growth of tourism industry globally in the past few decades has made significant contributions to economic growth and employment generation. According to the UNWTO Tourism Highlights 2011, the overall income derived from inbound tourism in 2010 exceeded US$ 1 trillion, or close to US$ 3 billion a day. Tourism earnings which are regarded as export of services also account for as much as 30% of the world’s export of commercial services and 6% of the overall export of goods and services in 2010. It is ranked fourth after fuels, chemicals, and automobile products in the global export category. Tourism’s contribution to worldwide GDP is estimated at 5%, with figures ranging from 2% for countries where tourism is a comparatively small sector to over 10% for countries where tourism is an important pillar of the economy. The contribution of tourism to employment tends to be slightly higher and is estimated in the order of 6-7% of the overall number of direct and indirect jobs worldwide.

Despite the occurrence of occasional shocks, international tourist arrivals have shown a strong growth trend, from 675 million in 2000 to 940 million in 2010. Tourist flows tend to be more rapid in the emerging and developing countries where their share of arrivals have steadily risen, from 31% in 1990 to 47% in 2010 (UNWTO Tourism Highlights 2011). This massive number of tourists trotting the globe annually for pleasure has important implications and effects on the economies, infrastructures and governmental policies of the countries to which they travel.

Tourism is also recognised for its contribution to reducing poverty and preserving natural and cultural resources in nations across the world. It has not only encouraged growth in the hospitality and related industries of many countries, but also led to the development of infrastructure to access the natural as well as man-made attractions which benefit both the tourists and the local residents.

4 Tourism Success Stories and Rising Stars

Attitudes and recognition of countries on tourism as an economic mechanism

Many governments all over the world have acknowledged tourism as one of the mechanisms to stimulate economic development, accelerate local investment and boosting employment. The Travel and Tourism Growth-Policy Risk Matrix (Ringbeck and Gross, 2007) is helpful for governments to review and examine the operation and performance of individual and aggregate rankings in their countries. The Travel and Tourism Growth-Policy Risk Matrix was created by combining the Travel and Tourism competitiveness index and the tourism satellite account outlook for growth. The matrix can be used to assess business units or product lines, and how best to allocate resources on an international basis. Figure 1 shows a growth-policy risk matrix of whose results are classified in Cash Cow, Dogs, Question Marks, and Stars. The explanation of each of these categories is shown in Table 1. The success stories presented in WTC2010 fall within the northeast quadrant.

However, the intention of using the matrix is not to suggest that enterprises should strive to achieve a balance of businesses across all four quadrants. Rather, the matrix allows the industry to begin addressing how it wishes to proceed in terms of current operations and the direction for possible future investments. Countries can also figure out what they want their future tourism industry to look like.

Figure 1

Travel and Tourism Growth-Policy Risk Matrix

like. Figure 1 Travel and Tourism Growth-Policy Risk Matrix Source: Miller, 2007 in Travel and Tourism

Source: Miller, 2007 in Travel and Tourism Competiveness Index Report

Overview 5

Table 1

Travel and Tourism (T&T) Growth-Policy Risk Matrix Public-Private Partnership (PPP)



Ways to move forward


Cash Cows

– Countries with low policy risk and slow T&T economy.

– Satisfied with policy situation but unsatisfied


– Companies in this group generate a return in excess of the amount of risk incurred by operating this country.

with outlook for growth.

– Should focus attention on incentives that will encourage investment.


– Countries with high policy risk and slow T&T economy.

– Worried about policy situation and outlook for

Question Marks or Cash Cows

– Companies in this group typically break even, although they generate barely enough return to maintain the risk/return ratio.


– Should prioritise by focusing on policy issues with the greatest return on investment.

Question Marks

– Countries with high policy risk and fast growing T&T economy.

– Public sector should reduce the risk in a return-on- investment approach.


– Require large amount of investment and policy attention to decrease the policy risks.


– Countries with low policy risk and fast growing T&T economy.

– In order to maintain high level of growth, significant attention to details and


– Sustaining the country’s policy leadership requires extra attention.

working with private sector to understand their needs are required before translating this information into policy initiatives that will keep a country ahead of a curve.

A growing number of studies and articles offer evaluations of public-private

partnerships in a broad range of theory and policy areas. In tourism, the issue of participation and stakeholders’ involvement in development has been addressed to- date in the context of National Tourism Administrations (WTO, 1996). A successful model for PPP is acknowledged by tourism destinations as a key driver for tourism resilience. The most common types of PPP that have been identified by the majority

of the destinations are those related with marketing and promotion activities and the

development of new products and services (UNWTO, 2009).

PPP is activated when specific challenges need to be addressed, or opportunities need to be unlocked, which clearly require the support of both parties. These will be shown

6 Tourism Success Stories and Rising Stars

in Table 2 below. Therefore, it is suggested that PPP will enhance the competitive advantage of tourism industry in a particular destination or destinations. It will provide viable and alternative efficient and effective delivery of tourism products, infrastructure facilities and added value, through collaboration and partnerships between various key stakeholders from the demand and supply side.

Table 2

Requirement of the Government and Private sectors for Competitive Advantage

Government’s needs

Private sector’s needs

Specific skills or expertise for implementation

Planning permission

Capital investment


Risk management


Accelerated delivery

Policy modification

Budget leverage

Lobbying support

Industry advantage

Elimination of red tape

Source: Compass, 2010

The concept of competitiveness and competitive advantage has been attracting enormous attention from scholars in business and international trade. Hence, the competitiveness of tourism destinations is also of interest to all stakeholders in the industry. Literature on competitiveness has been reviewed extensively. The principal hallmarks of this literature centre on theories of international trade and on the contemporary work by Michael Porter on competition among firms and among nations (Crouch and Ritchie, 1995). Porter’s diamond model (1991) shows four determinants of national advantage which will affect its ability to compete: (1) factor conditions – the necessary resources are readily available or easy to source through global networks, (2) demand conditions – home demand which plays a disproportionate role in influencing the perception of buyer needs and the capacity of firms to improve products and services over time, (3) firm strategy, structure, and rivalry – the context for competition in a region or nation, and (4) related and supporting industries – the availability, accessibility and presence of local suppliers in related fields and the role of government policy.

The contribution of partnerships to the competitive advantage of tourism destinations can be summed up by the tentative destination competitiveness model of Crouch and Ritchie (1995). The model includes four groups of factors (Figure 2). The core group

Overview 7

represents factors which act to attract tourism. It includes tourism resources such as biological, ecological, cultural and social resources, as well as attractions, festivals and events, and man-made superstructures. A destination can identify its competitive advantage in terms of pull factors, and which factor will capture tourists’ attention and make it stand out compared to other destinations. This is a fundamental for tourism planning and developing.

Figure 2

Tentative Destination Competitiveness Model

Figure 2 Tentative Destination Competitiveness Model Source: Crouch and Ritchie, 1995 Supporting factors provide

Source: Crouch and Ritchie, 1995

Supporting factors provide the foundations for a strong tourism operation. Since tourism is considered a cross-sectional industry, availability and support from related industries suppliers will provide advantages in terms of information, access to new technology, and market penetration. Therefore, competitive advantage is also affected by the presence of local suppliers and related industries in those products, machines or services that are essential to the process of innovation. This also refers to forward and backward linkages in the tourism industry where an enterprise system is an engine for free enterprise economics, accounting for employment and output, especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs). SMEs are the greatest source for new ideas and inventions. Therefore, tourism SMEs are of fundamental importance to the development of tourism as an industry.

8 Tourism Success Stories and Rising Stars

One of the most important influencing factors for competitive advantage is government. The key role of government in tourism policy is undeniable, even though tourism is a private sector-driven industry. Government bodies at all levels can improve national advantage by their investment schemes, which influence the goals of individuals and firms (Porter, 1991). Government policies that succeed are those which create an environment in which companies can gain competitive advantage (Porter, 1991).

A further factor which influences a destination’s competitive potential, is destination equity (Wong, 2004) which is considered as tourist perception of a destination, based on social, economical, environmental, and infrastructure development, and political stability. This global force is not only important to attract tourists and travellers but also draws interest and business opportunity from investors.

Destination management factors represent the destination’s ability to shape and influence its competitive strength (Crouch and Ritchie, 1995). It can include business permits and zoning controls, research and development work, marketing strategy and promotion, business association initiatives and a host of other techniques to shape the service integrity and productivity.

The approach

The main thrust of this conference was to uncover the ‘secrets’ of leading destinations and organisations in the tourism industry and provide invaluable lessons on how to achieve growth and competitiveness in the tourism industry in an increasingly challenging and competitive global environment. The conference was targeted at government officers and policy makers involved in managing and promoting tourism growth, as well as industry leaders and practitioners who were seeking a greater understanding of current market trends. It provided an understanding of tourism destination management and marketing, and generated ideas on how to synergize corporate strategies with government initiatives to obtain optimum benefits for all the parties involved.

The conference featured three keynote speeches and three thematic sessions in order to provide an opportunity to industry stakeholders to learn on a first-hand basis from the success stories, perspectives and experiences. The keynote speeches touch on

Overview 9

the issue of branding and managing reputations for countries and destinations, the macroeconomic reality and growth in regional travel that shape government travel and tourism agenda, and Malaysia’s big success in running a year-long campaign on Visit Malaysia Year 2007.

The first session focussed on Mega Trends and Innovation and how they impact on stakeholders in carrying out their business in the competitive world. The innovative approach adopted by Air Asia X was excellent example of how a low-cost carrier achieved success by riding the trend for passenger traffic. Cities being major tourist destinations could be rated for global competitiveness in order to evaluate their capacity to sustain strong visitor flows.

The theme for the second session was Tourism Business and Service Excellence. The Canadian Tourism Commission conducted an in-depth study of its best and worst tourism customers and turned that customer knowledge into more targeted campaigns and improved marketing performance for overall tourism competitiveness. Two cases were presented in this session. The first was on running a chain of Malaysian- owned international luxury hotels, while the second was the experience of France in increasing its already high tourist arrivals.

In the third session, the presentations narrowed down to Tourism Product Development and Marketing. Levine argued the case of developing new tourism products and maximising the tourism potential by recognising global economic shifts and changing consumer behaviour. Sabah had distinguished itself as a mega bio- diversity destination and showed how more value could be obtained from nature- based tourism. For an established tourism destination such as Amsterdam, the challenge was reinventing itself and creating new experiences for tourists so that they would continue to return to the city as visitors.

Keynote speeches

Image building is a complex process, and no single organisation can control and communicate reputation. In her paper, Susan Warren argues that managing reputation for countries and destinations is a powerful way to support success across the four pillars of sustainability: economic, social and cultural, environmental, and climate

10 Tourism Success Stories and Rising Stars

change. There are multiple stakeholders, conflicting political agendas, and the private sector which is mainly industry-driven, which do not engage enough to provide strategic inputs for successful national branding. Hence, country or destination branding must encompass a wider range of capabilities spanning across political, investment, business, tourism, culture and community. The collaboration and agreement with multiple stakeholders on a vision and national strategy is a must for country branding. For this reason, government, business and civil society should take responsibility to lead and manage national reputation. Warren pointed out some examples of successful brands that have been undertaken by India, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. More and more countries are pursuing nation brand initiatives for a more comprehensive approach to reputation management as well as providing higher visibility to influence reputation.

In his presentation, Jurgen Ringbeck, who was a Senior Partner in Booz & Company,

highlighted four major drivers that will shape the global Travel and Tourism agenda:

(1) new macroeconomic reality with high uncertainty, (2) increasing competition

throughout the Travel and Tourism value chain, (3) the “typical” tourist is changing, and (4) sustainability will become a prerequisite for Travel and Tourism. He also recommended five considerations for policymakers to map out potential means to ensure successful development under these new conditions: (1) fostering resilience

of the national Travel and Tourism sector against short-term disruptive events and

external shocks, (2) ensuring easy access to national tourism offering, (3) refining national tourism strategies to cater to new or more attractive tourist segments,

(4) implementing a more holistic view of Travel and Tourism economy as a whole, and (5) considering environmental sustainability as a major driver of future Travel and Tourism competitiveness

A good case highlighting the collaborative effort in running a successful tourism

campaign was provided by the paper presented by Datuk Dr. Victor Wee (Chairman, Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board) and Dato’ Dr. Ong Hong Peng (Secretary General, Ministry of Tourism Malaysia) on how Malaysia had successfully put together a powerful campaign that encompassed branding, getting the resources and support from multiple stakeholders’ collaboration, and obtaining strong government support

in developing and promoting tourism. The Visit Malaysia Year 2007 (VMY2007) campaign, which was mounted to mark Malaysia’s 50th year of Independence, were aimed at showcasing to the world Malaysia’s achievements during the last 50 years

Overview 11

as well as revitalising and propelling tourism development in order to transform Malaysia into a tourism country.

The presentation unveiled behind-the-scenes considerations and strategies that were adopted to run a successful national campaign. In fact, it can be said that VMY2007 was probably one of the most successful visit year tourism campaigns ever conducted. Through the campaign alone, Malaysia increased its arrivals by 3.5 million in 2007 and raised its tourism receipts by US$ 3.3 billion. This campaign boosted Malaysia’s arrivals to 21 million and tourism receipts to US$ 15.4 billion and helped to propel Malaysia into the rank of the top ten most visited destinations three years later.

We gave the arguments that were used to request for the budget to run the campaign. One perennial problem faced by tourism agencies was convincing the Ministry of Finance to allocate sufficient resources to run a successful campaign. The Ministry of Tourism (MOTOUR) was able to put up a strong argument on how every ringgit that was allocated to run the campaign could bring in a return of RM100 in international tourism receipts for the economy. Another problem faced by MOTOUR was to get the other bigger ministries whose policy actions affect tourists to adjust and reorient their policies to become tourism-friendly. MOTOUR was instrumental in establishing the Cabinet Committee on Tourism, comprising ministers from key agencies and chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister. As the secretariat, MOTOUR prepared papers with recommendations on how to improve government policy measures for the growth of the tourism industry which led to the synchronisation of policy actions and contributed to the success of VMY2007 campaign. Through coordination meetings, the various government agencies and the relevant industry players became clear about their respective roles and functions which contributed to the success of the campaign.

Megatrends on travel

One prominent example of partnership in contributing to competitive advantage is a study about top ten trends which will re-shape world tourism patterns in the next 20 years. This study was a collaboration between Hong Kong Polytechnic University and UNWTO in order to identify major trends shaping tourism in Asia Pacific based upon content analysis of popular media in tourism. Professor Kaye Chon, Chair Professor

12 Tourism Success Stories and Rising Stars

and Director of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, discussed some megatrends occurring within tourism and their implications on business practices. He also projected future trends that would shape the future development of tourism business practices and outcomes.

One of the prominent future trends pointed out by Chon was the rise of conscious (as opposed to ‘conspicuous’) consumption and stronger consumer awareness towards responsible tourism. Corporate social responsibility would encompass issues of climate change and global warming. Some future trends to look out for are hospitality industries offering environmentally friendly products and services, while long-haul travel will not be considered environmentally threatening as airlines opt for bio or renewable fuel. There will be companies which would not sign contracts with hotels that do not have environmentally friendly features. There will also be rising demand for medical tourism, sports tourism and soft adventure, as increasing longevity creates new business opportunities. The pressure to remain competitive will make it necessary for businesses to innovate and offer new vacation destinations, including space tourism.

Professor Chon’s study pointed out that the centre of trade and travel will gravitate towards Asia, while low-cost carriers will thrive, with the rising trend towards intra- regional travel. Air Asia, one of the most successful low-cost airlines in the world, had capitalised on this megatrend. Most low-cost carriers would only concentrate on short- and medium-haul routes, but Air Asia ventured into a new territory with the establishment of Air Asia X, which flies long-haul routes that are dominated by legacy airlines. Instead of waiting for passengers to decide where they would like to go, Air Asia motivates consumers to purchase tickets at bargain prices without necessarily knowing where they would be travelling to. It markets aggressively to convert interest into purchase decisions through innovative campaigns and engaging the customers with the brand. With low ticket prices and increased affordability of intra-regional travel, the trend for long-haul travel is towards a multi-destination experience.

Concluding the topic on megatrends and innovation, Albert Stafford offered a systematic way in benchmarking and listing the performance criteria for cities which would like to be global tourism destinations in their own right. The performance measures include traditional elements such as visitor numbers, expenditure and length of stay, international events and MICE activities. In addition, there are also various

Overview 13

measures such as product development and infrastructure, and the economic impact of visitor expenditure on employment. Cities aspiring to be globally competitive as tourist destinations would need a highly transparent governance structure for city management, efficient infrastructure and marketing approaches which stimulate new investments and create new attractions and experiences every few years. In addition, Stafford suggests the need for applying technology to provide high-quality visitor information and engaging with local communities for their support for tourism development and integration. The competitive global cities should adopt honest and accurate imagery, as well as recognise the mix of culture and the diversity of local cuisine which adds to the gastronomic experience. Marketing and promotion should be undertaken as a clever partnership between government and industry with responsibility not just falling to one or the other.

Tourism business and service excellence

Putting the customer at the centre of the marketing approach and understanding what they want is the key for successful destination marketing. William Harding related how, when faced with keen competition, the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) had to take the step of learning more from Canada’s best and worst customers so as to turn that knowledge into its competitive advantage. Better knowledge of the customers would lead to more targeted campaigns, improved marketing performance and lower marketing costs. The ‘Explorer Quotient (EQ)’ was developed to match consumers with tourism products based on travel values and motivations. The marketing campaigns conducted by CTC using EQ and conversion studies helped marketers to achieve deeper consumer awareness and excellent results.

For YTL Hotels, the development of the award-winning Pangkor Laut Resort on a beautiful tropical island set amidst the lush rainforest, was the result of passion, innovation and determination. James McBride mentioned that YTL adopted the people- centred and experience-based strategy in its chain of luxury hotels, ensuring that its employees understood consumer needs. To build its pool of quality manpower, YTL ran its own hotel school in Kuala Lumpur to ensure that its employees had the right talent and skills to do the job. For a hotel to be able to command premium rates, it must have a beautiful destination and extraordinary staff who are engaged and able to deliver quality service that meets the highest level of expectations.

14 Tourism Success Stories and Rising Stars

In the case of France, it is one of the world’s top three most visited countries and Frédéric Pierret argued that it has the benefit of history, geography and cultural heritage that offer a wide diversity of products to its tourists. It has four main areas:

urban tourism, coastal tourism, snow and mountain tourism, and rural tourism. In addition, it is one of the world’s oldest tourism destinations and has strong cultural strengths in its culture, such as art, literature, architecture, and rich history. Tourism activities include sports and physical activities, discovery and adventure, shopping, entertainment, religion, wellness and health and MICE. France’s tourism industry is supported by profitable and quality transport networks, strong governance systems, and a high density of security and hygiene norms. A point that is often overlooked is the importance of domestic tourism in the industry. In the case of France, domestic tourism accounts for 70% of its tourism receipts.

Tourism product development and marketing

In the third session on tourism product development and marketing, Daniel Levine supported the finding of Chon’s megatrends study. He argued that those involved with travel and tourism should understand social trends so that they could foresee the direction of future demand and come up with innovative solutions to address the demands. The economic downturn had influenced the way people now think about travelling. Instead of travelling for sheer hedonism and to flaunt wealth, the purpose is now shifting to meaningful travel such as spending time with friends and family, self-improvement, social responsibility, learning about themselves, education, health, spirituality, and pursuing passion. Hence, more creative products will be put together to meet the new direction of consumer demand. People will travel on the motivation of enrichment and self-improvement so that they come back renewed with more understanding than before they left. The motivation to feel connected will result in more demand for travel to spend meaningful time with friends and family members. There will also be opportunities in travel that are connected with community involvement which could touch the lives of other people and concern for the environment and eco-awareness.

Building upon the interests of tourists for eco-tourism, Sabah on the Borneo island is fortunate to be very well endowed with eco-products. It is equatorial and lies at the heart of mega-diversity of the Indo Pacific Basin and Malesia Eco-region. Tengku

Overview 15

Zainal Adlin pointed out that Sabah is located at the apex of the coral triangle, and is the world’s centre for marine diversity. Its diverse rainforest is over 130 million years old, more than twice the age of the Amazon. Nature products are fragile and have limited carrying capacity. The approach adopted by Sabah is placing more emphasis on yield rather than numbers and also being tourist- rather than product-centred. The secret of its marketing success is relationship-marketing, in which it engages in strategic networking and smart partnership with key players at all levels.

Amsterdam is a mature destination for city tourism, and Han Dominicus said that the real challenge is developing new tourism products to attract more visitors who come more often and spend more money. In its tourism product development, it considers visitor’s opinions through its surveys. Since Amsterdam is a small city, there are concerns about overcrowding. The plan was to spread out development out to the city centre in a polycentric pattern, with each area having its own identity, character and authenticity. New suburbs are developed so that visitors can experience the authentic way of life out of the city centre. The development of new areas with different attractions will help to keep the tourists longer and encourage them to spend more.


Tourism is an important industry in Europe, although it is sometimes not perceived as serious. This is unfortunate because tourism is an important economic pillar which generates employment and supports a more diverse range of amenities. From the paper presentations, it is clear that the government plays an important role in leading and stimulating growth especially in emerging tourism industries and destinations. In addition, a strong collaborative mechanism for public-private sector partnership is another important element for creating competitive advantage and success. For countries such as Malaysia, the tourism industry is the second largest source of foreign exchange and an important element in propelling economic growth. Malaysia’s competitive tourism industry benefits from the strong government commitment to this industry, and a plan is underway to take the industry further in the next 10 years.

At the conference, many of the success stories that were shared had a common thread, i.e. being alert to the changing trends, creative product development, and

16 Tourism Success Stories and Rising Stars

being innovative in providing service excellence and experience. While the wealth of experiences and insights can be very useful in tourism planning, there is no magic bullet that could be used to propel a country, province, city or business to achieve star status. Some important lessons are: (1) learning to recognise consumer trends and adjusting the business to take advantage of this; (2) government commitment to develop and promote the tourism industry; (3) forging close working relationships at all levels of government as well as strong public-private sector partnership in running a successful national or branding campaign; (4) establishing a strong brand image and delivering the service quality that exceeds expectations; and (5) creativity and innovation to be ahead of the game.


Compass (2010), PPP – Partnering for Tourism Growth, CNN’s TASK Group (online), available at: http://


Crouch G. I. and Ritchie J. R. B. (1995), ‘Destination Competitiveness and the Role of the Tourism Enterprise’, Working Paper WP 95-19.

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