Learning from Similar Tourism Research (part 1): Audience Interest

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As Culture Kent strives to provide an open method of making arts & cultural event data available online to increase Kent’s tourism profile, other European countries similarly understand the importance of tourism.  Many countries and cities, however, already have well-known reputations as a travel destination; therefore, their findings focus on how to maintain their reputations as a leader in global tourism.  Comparing whole countries and major cities to Kent, a small county in England, is widely different, as a country can use their diverse areas to attract new visitors, and touring companies include stops at major cities on many of their itineraries.  Additionally, the collaboration of several countries further helps to draw audiences who are willing to travel far to experience several cultures and countries’ histories.

The European Commission has already developed several projects to increase the EU’s cultural tourism by overlapping similar touring themes hosted by different countries.  The types of audiences who might book these tours are already familiar with what these countries have to offer and are looking for tourist attractions that fit their specific interests.  For example, tours might include wine tours that focus on visiting different vineyards or following historical trails such as the Holy Grail or Roman footsteps.  But what about those tourists who what to visit the road less travelled, so to speak?  In these cases, visitors want to experience places that are just as culturally meaningful, but maybe they don’t know where to start their search.  Travel agents usually highlight popular travel destinations and it can be tough to search online without knowing what to look for.

Additionally, it is also easy to find major cultural events, both in person and online.  Similar to how major cities having high travel destination rankings, popular artists, musicians, theatres, and shows also can have prominence as must-see events.  Yet there exists less high-profile arts & cultural events held by various organisations that can also resonate with audiences, but are more difficult to access by tourists or anyone who just is not sure where to look.

This is where  Culture Kent’s research can help.  It is clear that audience interest is not the issue, it is the dissemination and accessibility of information that needs to be improved.  The nature of the Internet means that any potential event is open to a global audience; if all event data is streamlined into one accessible website, it enables users to easily find events that match their interests.  Organisations big and small can have access to the same global audience.

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