January 17, 2021

megatrends. The individual changes his role as a tourist

megatrends. The individual changes his role as a tourist


The study of trends in tourism has been a constant since the UNWTO published its well-known "mega trends" in 2002. Several public bodies, such as the European Travel Commission (2004) and the UN (2005), and international consultants (Deloitte, 2016, Euromonitor, 2016, Horwath HTL, 2015, PriceWaterhouse, 2016) have been interested by the changes of tourism derived from the influences of the environment. There are also important works in the academic literature on this issue (Dwyer et al., 2009, Nordin, 2005, Viner and Nicholls, 2005) under the topic of tourism 2020.

The common idea is that the tourism sector has gone from a quantitative trend study, focused on anticipating growth, to another one occupied with change and qualitative diversification (Ávila and Barrado, 2005), with a common denominator: two types of tourism coexist , the classic (or fordist) versus the new (or taichii) (Gómez, Medina and Puyuelo, 2015, Hall, 2004).

Diagram made by student of Master in Tourism, CESAE: STEEL model for the new destination concepts.

According to the strategic analysis model STEEL (Evans, Campbell and Stonehouse, 2003) fit identify five main forces of change at the generic level: Society, Technology, Economics, Environmental Environment and Politics; all of them integrating an interrelated system, where each affects and is affected by the others. Its application to the tourism sector helps to understand its main megatrends.

The individual has changed, and as such his role as a tourist. The new segmentation is based every time on technology as a vital tool: the born, native, immigrants and digital orphans, or the generations X and Z.

The money / time relationship is being inverted, in addition labor and professional flexibility changes its tourist moments. The trip is becoming an element of realization and personal improvement, so demand the as many activities as possible that allow them to live a maximum experience in a minimum time (Garda and Karacor, 2016). They are, at the same time, more demanding and critical than experimental, willing to try new tourism products and services.

Main changes in the behavior of tourists

1. Shorter trips are made, in space and time

2. Traveling more frequently

3. Tourism decisions are made in the short term (tunnel effect)

4. You opt for cheaper means of transport (low cost, own or shared vehicle)

5. Travel continues for leisure, although experience has become the decisional engine

6. Self-management of travel is generalized with the use of ICT

7. Search for new nearby places that meet the needs of getaway

8. Increase the value of cultural and natural experiences, demand gastronomy, health, sports and adventure, spiritual stimuli

This context of change supposes, immediately, the demand for new tourism products in the destinations related to a new definition binomial: authenticity / experience. Resources from a perspective of authenticity and sustainability must be intense tourist experiences, short in time and highly flexible. As indicated by Dwyer et al. (2009) is a change of function, from the provider of tourist services to the provider of tourist experiences.

A permanent work of innovation is imposed, not only focused on the new tourist but to achieve the fidelity of this, where the specialization and the improvement of the quality have to be the main foundations (Milahovic, 2014).

The consequence is being a increased competition in the sector at all levels: between destinations around the world, the classic and the new, between national destinations and between tourist companies within the same destination (Mariani and Baggio, 2012).

Because, in the first place, the new demands favor the appearance of alternative tourist destinations, as they are richer in adequate resources to develop products of great experiential value (Bilimler et al., 2015), which, in addition, greatly vary their offers adapting to different market segments (Buckley, 2007), either superior (UP) or lower (LOW).

In this situation, and in the manner of the McNair Wheel (Ballina and Casielles, 2015), the classic destinations, which have become gigantic and rigid, begin to have important competitive problems, showing, as a first reaction, an attempt to imitate by incorporating of new resources and / or tourist products, in an attempt of evolution and adaptation, which begins with the reevaluation of the image of the destination (Mariani, 2014).

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