Handbook on Transnational Tourism Themes and Routes

In December 2017, the European Travel Commission (ETC) and United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) jointly published their Handbook of Transnational Tourism Themes and Routes, available via both the ETC and UNWTO websites.

The Handbook provides practical guidelines for tourism managers.

The principal author was David Ward-Perkins of TEAM Tourism Consulting, supported by Issa Torres, Jennifer Houiellebecq and Jackie Ellis.

The following is a shortened extract from the introductory chapter:

“Themes are the basis on which tourism professionals construct and market tourism products. They correspond to the motivation of travellers. They can relate to history, food, well-being or any other domain of human interest. This Handbook focuses, therefore, on aspirational tourism, where the goal is discovery, stimulation of the mind and senses, or challenge, motivated by achievement, for example through physical or sporting activities.

“When a theme extends over a wide geographical area, as is the case when more than one country is involved, a common way to emphasise the link between the assets and attractions is to create a ‘route’. This may be an itinerary, to be followed by car, on foot, or by any other means. In other cases, it is a network of attractions and sites. For example, the creators of a wine route might propose a guided itinerary; or they might just map and promote the vineyards, allowing the traveller to choose to visit one or several.

“Thematic tourism appeals to the emotions, intellect and senses of the consumer, and  thematic tourism can be successfully developed through techniques such as ‘storytelling’, linking the tourism assets through reference to food, landscape or other cultural realities. Above all, they will provide the visitor with experiences: not just places to go and things to see, but feelings, sensations and activities.

“A tourism route can extend over a wide geographical area: in the case of the UNWTO Silk Road, for example, over thousands of miles. Such transnational products are very powerful. They raise many issues, of an administrative and cultural nature, but it is worth persisting, as the creation of transnational networks can bring significant benefits to all the partners involved. They can attract a high level of interest from consumers and the media. Between neighbouring countries, such an initiative will lower barriers, and develop mutually beneficial tourism flows. They will lead to the creation of attractions and tourism products that would not be viable if undertaken alone.”

Copyright © 2017, World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and European Travel Commission (ETC).

17 January 2018


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