May 3, 2010 by xwidep (Phil)
A philosophical issue all destinations, attractions and tourism partnerships have to deal with at some point – competition, who is your competition, your neighbour, the next nearest city, nearest country, continent? My argument is that you have to work in partnership and in competition and it is this balance that makes a destination successful and Tourism such an exciting sector to work in.
Partnership and Competition are both sides of the same coin, especially in tourism. As equal as night and day, waxing and waning in parallel with the seasons. The question is not when is a partner a competitor, but how do I manage the conflicting requirements of both; balancing those times when it is appropriate for competition to have the priority when you make a decision with those moments when there is mutual benefit through partnership?
When I am troubled by such a dilemma I take a moment to remember the words I was once told by a wise old Warwickshire woman from Wootton Wawen, she told me to repeat her words whenever I was unable to make a decision between being a competitor or a partner with my tourism neighbours. These were her words to me but do feel free to replace the named destinations to suit your particular dilemma.
She coughed quietly, shuffled comfortably in her seat, looked me straight in the eye and said…
“You would prefer that people visited Europe than any other continent, that they visited the UK than anywhere else in Europe, and visited England than anywhere else in the UK. You would like those visitors to come to the Heart of England than any other region, that they came to Warwickshire than any other county and that they visited Warwick whilst they were there.”
She took a deep breath and said, “that’s not all of it Deary” and so she continued;
“You would much rather they visited Warwick Castle than anywhere else in Warwick and that they told Warwick Castle that they had visited because you had told them too!”
She paused, looked me in the eye with her steely gaze, “You remember that” she said “and the following and the answer to your dilemma should be clear.”
“Not one visitor can get to Warwick Castle without visiting Warwick on the way, to get to Warwick they must have been in Warwickshire and they can not visit Warwickshire without visiting the Heart of England, which is steeped in the history and culture of this green and pleasant land, rich in diverse destinations and wonderful attractions but it is only one of many regions of the United Kingdom which form the vibrant culture which this country has held as an attraction for tourists from all over the World for centuries, of which this you should be proud of.”
The old woman pointed a gnarled finger at me and adopted a wise authoritative tone and said, “You need to be an ambassador for yourself, your town, your county, your region, your country and your fellow countrymen and they will be ambassadors for you in return, only then can you be confident and positive enough to compete with each other for the visitors once they have chosen to arrive at your business.”
Wise words indeed!
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