Emerging tourism destinations have the advantage of looking back at those that did things horrifically wrong and then stay well clear of repeating it. All destinations started somewhere when it came to how they would decide on promoting themselves to tourists. Whether it be a strip of bars for the 18-30s or an idyllic traditional seaside town; many countries or towns are synonymous with an image or look.
Those that made the mistakes are obviously not so lucky. Some wish they had the hindsight to be sustainable, to have not built those huge skyscrapers or let too much of the same things open up on its streets. For particular destinations they have the chance to salvage what they can but in the most extreme circumstances history cannot be replaced, as warned to UK seaside towns last week.
There are also situations that impact tourism that are not always unexpected but certainly disrupt a strategy, such as civil unrest or a natural disaster. Now though it appears that the image of a destination is driven by the news and the ‘experts’. Images of Egypt protesting last week would have worried everyone but even the travel industry is mixed on how severe the situation is. It’s unfortunate that news is driven more by what is bad or shocking for the tourism industry because as soon as it starts the questions arise. But a mixed message is sent when one tour operator makes a dramatic choice to cancel tours while others are more confident.
For Egypt specifically the work will restart again to promote its safety, although this second attempt in a matter of two years will need more gusto and continued trade involvement. Plenty of destinations have got back off their feet from protests or natural disasters including the likes of London, Japan, New Orleans and Christchurch. Like me I’m sure there are tonnes of Brits desperate to see Egypt’s history and culture, as shown through my colleague’s recent blog series. Let’s hope it is not too long until the situation is restored.