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  • Writer's pictureAntonioSoler


A new global race has begun and it has nothing to do with vaccines, lockdowns or restrictions on international travel. On the contrary, the race is precisely related to the reactivation of tourism, and how countries intend to attract international tourists to be visited.

Some countries have already revealed the name of their strategies to attract international tourists. The strategies that have already begun to be exposed on social networks, other internet platforms, as well as traditional media, aim to snatch international tourists who are already exposed to those strategies from different countries. That is, tourists, people who want to travel, easily come across tourism campaigns from different countries, no matter where they are, thanks to the power of the internet, social networks and the algorithms.

As the vaccination processes progress in different countries, gradually, economic opening processes are carried out. This economic re-opening among others, directly benefit the tourism sector (and the local supply chains). Despite the fact that each country has a different vaccination rate, some countries have already revealed and launched their campaigns and strategies to attract international tourists.

The most sensible thing is to assume that the more vaccines, and the more vaccinated the population of a country, the more international tourists each country can receive. However, countries like Colombia have revealed their international tourism strategy, even though it is not yet clear when the majority of their population will be vaccinated. And with this, when safely, the supply chains of the tourism sector can be reactivated. This case is not unique to Colombia, many countries without clarity on the issue of vaccines, or without a majority of those vaccinated, already compete for these international tourists, of whom they have been deprived for a long time since the beginning of the pandemic.

Each country, through its tourism, industry or foreign investment promotion offices, design and promote this type of strategies. At the end of the day, for the tourism sector, each country competes for the same goal: attracting the largest number of international visitors to their country. For this, strategies are developed that include campaigns that promote a country's brand.

It is easy to fall into the paradox of eagerness, some countries have revealed their tourism promotion campaigns, despite the fact that they do not have herd immunity, or it is not known by what date the majority of their population can be fully vaccinated.

Countries like Scotland, Ireland, and even Northern Ireland have already launched their international tourism campaigns. Their campaigns, through promotional videos, appear in an exaggeratedly repetitive way on platforms such as YouTube and Google. However, many questions are triggered when we see some of the tourism promotion campaigns from these countries. In particular, the promotional videos for Scotland and Ireland gave me a lot of doubts, as they are essentially the same.

The launch of these campaigns, at this time (April 2021), was very rushed. Since, at this time, despite the fact that many nations lead the vaccination process, the uncertainty regarding vaccination is greater than the platitude that allows us to book and buy international flights and book hotels in other countries. For this reason, I personally hit "ignore or skip" every time I get the 'Visit Scotland' promo video ad on YouTube. Wisely, the most visited countries in the world such as the United States, France and Italy have not launched or revealed their tourism promotion strategies yet.

Faced with this uncertainty, another factor is added that is yet to be defined: the vaccination passport. What is its validity, or its requirement to be able to travel internationally? We do not know yet. It is most likely required, but this information has not been made official. It is still not clear if it will be a digital passport that we can present at the entrance or exit of the airports with our smartphones or mobile devices, or if it is a printed and physical document that we have to carry with us everywhere. Are all countries in the same capacity to generate and require this type of prerequisite? We don't know this either. In Tulum, Mexico, for example, tourism never closed, which can be taken as an indicator that in Mexico this type of requirement is not convenient.

Perhaps at this time all the agencies in charge of leading these types of campaigns only think about social networks, SEOs including YouTube. However, if all countries will fundamentally compete in this arena, what to do to avoid falling into this red ocean? These questions are critical when considering these types of strategies. Although it is true that the internet and social networks were disruptive, in the face of the reactivation of world tourism, these platforms have become red oceans where all countries want to compete. However, it is necessary to ask ourselves, how to get out of this paradox? How to deliver the message in different ways?

The design and implementation of country tourism promotion strategies will be a key tool in attracting international tourists when traveling is possible. Designing strategies in which each country, each destination is presented as a ‘paradise’ is what international tourists want to find. The experiences should be the hooks that are used to attract international tourists. But articulating that information, and developing products that can be articulated together, and that, in turn, can be easily shared, is more complicated than it is believed. That is why the tourism promotion agencies of each country must avoid falling into the paradox of eagerness, and develop strategies, campaigns and products that really connect with the psyche that the confinement of the recent months has created. International tourists will look for that ‘paradise’, which can offer them unique and unforgettable experiences and which in turn are convenient. Agencies have to think about these kinds of attributes when designing those campaigns or strategies. These strategies should not be rushed just to compete, messages should be designed that connect with the tourist in a way that another country does not, that is, the competition.

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1 comentário

20 de abr. de 2021

Omg is so true

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