Local tourism principles
for Local Governments
To build on a locality's inherent Visiting Friends and Relatives tourism market is to do everything a local government wants to do. It only takes a small shift in thinking to see that the VFR market supports the local economy, grows civic pride, and promotes your tiptop places to visitors far and wide.
1. Accept and forget the economic argument
It's a given that visitation of any kind injects cash into the local economy and creates local employment close to home.
2. Embrace the engagement argument
Engagement and ‘good host’ campaigns are key strategies for economic sustainability of this kind, if you believe you can influence local behaviours in a way that makes for a great visitor experience. This is about culture more than economy.
3. Give visitors their due
Visitors are a legitimate sector of the “local community”, not least of all because most are visiting or interacting with your residents. We have a plan for most things, so why not a Visitor Experience Plan?
4. Help your constituents be good hosts
You know where your residents live, where your businesses operate and where the accommodation houses are. You have the pathways for distributing information about the municipality, incentives for locals and visitors, and should be education people about their visitor hosting role.
5. VFR is a community strengthening opportunity
VFR visitors get their best experiences through hosts who love and appreciate their place. The more community pride and regard one has, the better you can host your VFRs. Any campaign that aims to bolster the VFR market is by definition a community strengthen activity that builds pride.
6. Stand in your visitors’ shoes
Welcome them. Farewell them. Map their routes, gateways and arrival points. Make sure there is information and way finding at the ready – at car parks, public transport terminals, shopping centres, on trains, in taxis, at accommodation houses. Use your imagination.
7. Your future lies in word of mouth
The reason to invest in the visitor’s experience is to repeat the phenomenon: visitors who come back and perhaps bring others; and visitors who heard good things about the place from someone else.