46 and Many More - Choice and Competition for Travelers is Growing

Head of Research and Insights
Published 1/14/13
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The inspirational '46 Places to Go in 2013' by the New York Times provides an exciting and sobering reminder of both the choice and competition among travel destinations from all over the world.  The travel article nominated 46 newly emerging or re-energized travel destinations.

From Rio de Janeiro (#1) to Accra - Ghana (#4) and Amsterdam (#6) to Istanbul (#10) – the top 10 destinations alone is a breathtaking global tour. Add in another 36 destinations from the Times list, dozens from other 'top destination lists' (see resources at bottom) and thousands more  across the globe, not included, and  you get a sense of how the world is shrinking. A bewildering choice of places to visit and a growing cacophony from destinations marketing to potential visitors.

Travel choice has never been more diverse, destinations more easily accessible and competition among destination marketers more fierce.

The 46 represent a global marketplace where travel choice has never been more diverse, destinations more easily accessible and competition amongst destination marketers more fierce. And the efforts, resources and investment in attracting visitors is growing each year. All 46 of the New York Times destination list (and many of the locations beyond) have some new, different or compelling attraction, facility, experience or event on offer to visitors. Just a few examples: 

Montenegro (#12 on the NY Times list) has just completed development of one of the finest marinas on the planet (Porto Montenegro) - and is aggressively targeting luxury yachts, their affluent owners and guests. This is on top of double digit growth in overall traveler numbers over the last decade, growth that has seen visitor numbers reach over 1.1 million a year – double the local population. Baltic neighbors have also been aggressively expanding their travel marketing. 

Croatia (one of its most historic cities, Hvar is #14 on the Times list and also a favorite VIP destination) has aggressively targeted longer haul international markets – including generating strong growth out of the Japanese market. Many other destinations have similarly aggressive plans in growing their tourism economies. 

Another example from the 46; Mongolia (#15) has the objective of attracting 1 million international visitors by 2015 – double of the level of 2011. The landlocked, remote, but historic neighbor to China, has invested in new hotels, expanded domestic and international air routes and opened up access to the historic government palace in the center of Ulan Bator, the capital.

Such growth is on one level exciting and inspirational for everyone who works in travel. The choice and accessibility of travel and tourism around the planet has never been been more compelling – opportunities that will bring diverse peoples together, create connections and spur economic growth.  This should reinforce the strong current growth in international travel (see my recent blog "The One Billionth Visitor Arrives"). However, on another level the new global marketplace is sobering.

The competition for visitors (including an estimated 1 billion new members of the world's middle class by 2030) is going to be fierce. Any destination that is not focused, adequately resourced and extremely smart and targeted in their marketing will find it increasingly tough such a challenging global marketplace. Destinations around the world are about to find out how truly "globally competitive" they really are.

More: New York Times "The 46 Places to Visit in 2013" 

Other Lists of Top Picks in Travel Destinations in 2013

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