Back in time, people use to travel with the help of travel agent or tour operators, directly going to their office for information and arrangements. Everything was organized for them. Also, mass tourism starting around 1960, influenced the travelers to prefer places where everyone goes, in which they can relax and not worry about anything else.
Thus, this situation is now changing. Travelers are becoming more and more autonomous and want to live an exceptional vacation separated from the mass, rather than be with thousands of other people having the same experience. They are now more independent and know how to travel.
Another important aspect in the eyes of today’s travelers, are the environmental issues. They want to engage ethically, extending this to their manner to travel.
Some socio-economics factors are also at the origin of these changes. People have now more free time at disposition, and are starting to travel more but for shorter periods.
The wish of the suppliers is anymore to simply satisfy the customer’s needs, but to go over it as a delighted customer is a “Lifetime” customer. That’s why it is nowadays a crucial aspect of competition.
Then, the IT system evolution also has an important role, in the way that it facilitates the way people book and communicate with their suppliers.
It should also not be forgotten that today a really competitive aspect is innovation. Not any supplier should dismiss the innovation from its plans. Having an USP can change everything
Results, analysis and discussion:
In order to follow these new habits and manners to travel, many tourism suppliers start to adapt their product and services. This is in this perspective that the Community based (eco) tourism is born. As its name describes it, this is the local people that control and manage the projects, and benefit from it.
Following the different aspects stated in the introduction, the CBT is aimed to reduce the poverty and to promote the regional economic development of the region where it is. Thus, we can see that most of the CBT are now located in developing countries.
The environmental concerns are also addressed by the fact that, these existing but disaffected buildings are reused for touristic purpose. The main goal is actually to give another life to old buildings.
There are different types of CBT in different regions of the worlds. Here is a list of some of the different buildings we can find in this category:
- MAS’Hôtel – Val d’Hérens (CH)
- Piz Tschütta – Vnà (CH) (It is an ancient auberge. It now became an hotel with 10 rooms. It is now appreciated as a peaceful place to spend some holiday time).
Another of these innovations is the Alberghi diffusi in Italy. I’m going to give the details about the development of that project to show a concrete example of this new trend.
The Albergho Diffuso is actually an association which is born in 1996, that nowadays is at the head of 35 “hotel’s villages” in Italy. Like the other projects of CBT, this concept of dispersed hotels is aimed to give the customers a traditional and cultural stay in a place that is environmental friendly. They learn to live like the local population which makes them have a greater experience, creating a closer link with the place they visit and its inhabitants.
Every CBT has its own specialty and for the Alberghi diffusi, it is the fact that the different services such as reception or rooms, are located in different places within the village. From there comes the definition of “Hotel’s villages”.
There are many benefits coming out of the CBTs for the different players.
First, it gives the tourists a chance to get closer with their host community and as well as a good image of the destination. It allows the locals to make their own promotion.
Then, as I said before, the money coming from the overnights, and different expenses of the visitors going directly to the local population. Another good point is that it favors linkage, as it employs mostly locals in its installations. We can conclude that the money is actually staying IN the destination which is really good for the health of the local economy.
The environmental issues are addresses there with the fact that no new building will be built thus no more place is needed as I said before. Also, as it is quite a special way to reuse a building, it promotes the architectural aspect of the place.
However, it is not that easy to become a CBT, the idea should come from the local stakeholders and it must offer the same services as an hotel. The minimum rooms number is of 7 and it should also offer a minimum of services.
I think that such projects are of a great importance for the future of the accommodation sector. As the customer are becoming more and more conscious of environment issues, a type of catering that respect the environment will take the advantage upon the other types. I also need to point out that such an installation in a village nowadays can become a great USP for that destination. It is accessible for a lot of destination as there are lots of places that possess unused old building that just need a bit of renovation to be given another function.
In a time of bad economy in many countries, this could help the expenses to stay “local”, thus to generate more money that is not going out of the borders.
The reduced availability of rooms in these establishments reduces the risk of mass tourism, which is an advantage as overbooked hotels are becoming a threat for many destinations.
Finally, as these kinds of accommodations are quite new, travelers are likely to be attracted by this if enough promotion is made.
Gallay, M. (2010). Les nouvelles formes d’hébergements en Suisse et en Autriche : Etat des lieux, tendances et analyse. HEIG-VD
Philippe Pasche, directeur ; Denise Dubacher, assistante. (2010). Le potentiel touristique des régions périphériques. Société Suisse du Crédit Hôtelier SCH.
Vitali, S. (2012, August 7). Québec and Albergo Diffuso – English Version. Retrieved October 10, 2012, from Sustainable tourism world : http://sustainabletourismworld.wordpress.com/category/focus-on-albergo-diffuso/
Author : Gabrielle Pasche