In a resource constrained world, tourism, like all sectors, will have to deliver an honest return on the use of precious resources i.e., pay the true and total cost of its operations.
In the long run, cheap travel cheapens everything. The supplier sees his already thin margins evaporate and has to slash costs, standardize, homogenize and automate. Travelers’ experiences deteriorate and the host community ends up picking the tab – to cover increased costs of handling waste, congestion, economic and social dislocation (see earlier post on the new Death in Venice).
Cheap travel is neither good business (prone to boom and bust and dependent on volume growth) nor sustainable.
If a destination is talking about being sustainable, it has to escape the commoditization trap. Here are three ways out of this nightmare – to start:
1. stage experiences unique to a place and time;
2. engage and enable customers to personalise their own experiences in meaningful ways; and
3. enable the customer to have a transformative experience – ie, experience an inner change of perspective, being or value.
The rest of this essay describes these three antidotes in more detail - read on here to learn about how places as far apart as Lapland, Canada, and Nevada are using experiences to avoid the gravitational pull of "commoditization" through experience design and innovation. Readers - please add more case studies to this discussion. A sustainable tourism depends on your efforts!