A new report from the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has singled out developing nations for praise following sharp increases in spending.
Despite the continuing difficulties in the global economy, two thirds of national tourism organisations in developing countries increased their budgets last year the report finds.
The report - Budgets of National Tourism Organisations, 2008-2009 – goes on to argue the trend can in part be attributed to the continuing trend towards establishing well-funded national tourism promotion agencies in emerging economies and the awareness of the potential for boosting tourism through increased promotion.
Carried out in conjunction with the European Travel Commission (ETC), the report states importance of additional funding as a complement to initial budgets seems to have been increasing.
Additional funds are used to cater for sporting mega-events; to promote big cultural events, business events, and expos; or to recover from specific disruptions affecting tourism such as natural disasters, health outbreaks, or the overall global economic crisis.
Developing nations are spending more on attracting tourists
Another key finding of the publication has been the increased responsibility for domestic tourism among national tourism organisations.
With consumers tending to travel closer to home in times of economic hardship, several destinations have seen domestic tourism endure the crisis better and even grow significantly.
The publication reports that 70 per cent of respondents currently see domestic tourism as a core responsibility, more than double the equivalent share five years ago.
UNWTO estimates that domestic tourism represents four times the volume of international tourism, i.e., there are some 4 billion domestic tourist arrivals worldwide compared to the 880 million international tourist arrivals registered in 2009.
The publication further identifies e-marketing priorities and trends, in particular regarding the use of new technologies in tourism marketing and promotion.
The report reveals that average spending on internet and e-marketing activities varies from US$5-7 million for some of the largest and richest destinations to US$50,000 for some of the smaller ones.
In spite of the growing importance given by tourism offices to electronic communications, most marketing budgets are still allocated to advertising, printed materials, and participation in fairs.