Wednesday, February 11, 2009

To niche or not to niche


I am not sure if any of our long term tourism strategists have any idea (or have even begun to think about it) of the type of tourists that we would like to have in this country. Do we want backpackers (who spend very less, but most of it does go into the local economy and there is very little leakage) or do we want executives (salaried but can afford a good package, no time to develop trips of their own and will pay enough, but some of it is leaked) or do we want 5 star travellers (who pay through their noses, travel around in air conditioned cars, and leak a lot out of the country anyways)..

Sorry to get into very politically incorrect generalisations, but I am generally not very politically correct, and am in an industry where generalisations help us deal with varied people, so here goes...

Do we want Indians, who have the money, will pay a lot, but will squeeze every paise out of the service provider. Do we want Japanese, who spend money, and do all the nice trips, but who will only follow, and will not go into new routes. Do we want Europeans, who want to do everything green. Do we want Americans, who are willing to spend money but are loud. Do we want young Israelis, who tend to fleece everything along their way, or do we want older Brits, who pay a lot and stay in the highest costing locations, but who rarely really see the country, and a lot of their money is leaked out.

Enough. Point is that we need to identify who we are trying to target... not ethnically discriminate, but build a general profile of the person we want to bring into the country... I would think a well paying client, who demands excellent service, is adventourous, is green and sustainable, and can pull another person when he/she goes back... (or something like that)

I only get shocked when, like today, the chinese ambassador calls for improved facilities so more Chinese tourists can come... but what does he mean by this... more 5 star hotels, more A/C cars, what? (http://www.nepalnews.com/archive/2009/feb/feb11/news03.php) The only Chinese tourists I have seen come to Nepal have either been at the 5 star hotels, or those to utilise the 20 km limit set by the Nepalese Government from the kodari border (so upto Barabishe) they come in cars to eat at resorts like Borderlands, the Last Resort etc... (basically eat Dal Bhat, play Mah Jong, and later go back)... Comparing between the two, I think the ones coming from Kodari are contributing more to the local economy than the 5 star types....

So shall we define who we want? Is anyone listening?

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