I am a walker, and when I walk, I think. Just got back from my walk and have been thinking about the language, the words that get used to attract tourists. Fascinating, wonders of the world, truly unique, special, once in a lifetime, views to die for, pampering etc. Words can and do lure us in. When used together with pictures, it is so very effective. But I think there is a balance to appreciate. As potential travellers, we respond to the words if we trust the authority and knowledge of where they're coming from. If we suspect the words are being 'used' to lure us in, we feel less trusting, it's less believable, and feels less honest. So the balance is honesty, truth, knowledge, and authority, up against all the advertising for monetary gain that the businesses who want us to travel with/to are putting out there to lure us in.
I'm thinking about itineraries and wonderful places I've seen and why I would want others to see them too. This year, I have been saddened about the loss of a lovely man and very influential role model to my daughter. He was suffering from cancers and had hoped very much to do a trip to North America, including New York, and in Canada, Niagara Falls, Vancouver, the Rocky Mountaineer train trip through British Columbia up to the Rocky Mountains amongst other places. Many of the places on his spectacular itinerary (which he shared with his friends shortly before he passed away, and once he was truly aware that he was not going to be able to go on) were places I have enjoyed, loved and are exceptionally beautiful. I thought, this morning on my walk, why had I wished so hard that he had been able to do his trip and see these places? Why was I so upset that he hadn't been able to go? It's because I wanted him to see them and enjoy them as much as me. It would have been something we had in common, to share, to recollect and reflect on. I felt so sad that he didn't have time enough left to see those places. For me, the key is honesty. I want people to travel to places to see and experience the diversity and differences for themselves.
Tourism marketing and how that's different to sharing your knowledge about places, is a tricky topic to navigate, and I am so much more used to sharing my knowledge from a base of honesty, so I guess I have a degree of authority (but not so much as someone like David Attenborough!). A picture maybe worth a thousand words, but I want to put it out there, that the words we use will most definitely lure people if they come from a place of knowledge, truth and honesty.
This one's for you, Bob.