Hotelier talk about “rainbow tourism” at ILTM

During the opening luxury travel forum at ILTM Asia 2102, currently taking place in Shanghai, a number of experts discussed why travel demands change and what entrepreneurs can do to address multicultural needs.

Among the more interesting comments came from Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts Founder Ho Kwon Ping, who said the future of high end travel will be driven by the emergence of ‘rainbow tourism’ made up of people of multicultural origins from mature markets and from the emerging BRIC nations. 

“This emerging group of rainbow tourists is looking for authenticity and sustainability in the destinations that they visit,” Ho said. ”Tourism should be seen as a force for good, and the overriding drive of hotel operators should be to remain faithful to their local identities and provide an authentic experience of their heritage and culture.”

Talking about the tourism wave of the future Ping said that the danger is the huge numbers of ‘rainbow tourists’ who will be entering into the market place and it was important that operators did not create ghettos by catering to individual needs and tastes of different nationalities.

“Tourism should not cater to the national traits of travellers but provide them with a chance to understand the in depth background of the country they visit. This will create a force for good and help unify the outlook of the world,” he said.

Elaborating further on the topic the individual panelists commented as follows:

Leonardo Ferragamo, director of Salvatore Ferragamo and president of the Lungarno Collection said, “Product owners must promote their own cultures and tell the true and authentic story of their heritage. Their luxury shopping bag should not comprise luxury items but memorable experiences.”

David Williams, chief marketing officer of Orient-Express said, “There should be no knee-jerk reaction to match the needs and interests of individual nationalities of tourists. We must educate them about our local offerings and help them to experience and understand local cultures and the nuances of each market place in which we operate.”

James Baillie, founder of Australia’s Baillie Lodges said, “Our key strength is to advocate the attributes of Australia and celebrate its authenticity. We don’t believe homogenization is the way forward and we hope tourists will enjoy our synergy with the environment and natural products, which are drawn from the communities in which we operate.”

Sarina Bratton, founder and managing director of Orion Expedition Cruises said, “Because our product is unique with limited access to many destinations such as the Antarctic and Papua New Guinea, it is therefore important that our clientele appreciate the remote and un-spoilt nature of the destinations that make up our portfolio. Education of our prospective consumer is therefore a vital part of our long-term marketing strategy.”