We asked trend-watcher and innovation expert Stefaan Vandist how we can create (tourism) experiences that lead to added value for residents, visitors, other stakeholders and the place itself? Stefaan introduced the concept of a compass. This provides direction for designing innovative tourism experiences. The central point of the designs is a quest for new balance. Then, the question becomes: what happens with the balance between technology and tradition? Between profit and significance? Between competition and collaboration? The idea of Jo&Joe hotels, for example, was developed in this way. A hotel created by millennials, for millennials. The concept is based on stimulating encounters between residents and visitors and among visitors themselves.
Anna Pollock / The flourishing community is the basis
The tourism of the future emerges out of flourishing local communities, according to Anna Pollock, from the UK. She defines tourism destinations as places where travellers are welcome and the encounter between guests and hosts have a positive impact on the whole system. We must focus on the host, suggests Anna. We can encourage local hosts to build a relationship with the place where they live and work. Generate a love of the place and help them become aware of the unique qualities it has. “This will infect the visitor with amazement and consideration, which then goes home with them.” The potential transformational power lies in the encounter between guest and host. And that cannot be organised in a standardised manner. Anna: “If you can engage the host’s talent for welcoming people, it will really enrich tourism. What you then create is not something that has to grow bigger but something that must thrive and evolve.” Anna is inviting the sector to take a broad view of reality. Just like every living system in nature, we must see the system in its context, and on this basis, take up a valuable position in the world and undertake responsible actions. Not only to do well as a company or sector. But to do well so that the whole world, communities and people can flourish.