Niche travelers, revenue streams for Pacific tourism dependent countries

Picture: SUPPLIED/Talanoa Treks Fiji

TOURISM-dependent countries in the Pacific could develop new revenue streams by attracting niche travelers looking for adventure and cultural experiences, helping strengthen local economies and provide jobs.

This is according to a new study by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, and the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA).

According to a statement by IFC the study — Adventure and Cultural Travelers Consumer Research, 2019 — highlights three key potential markets for tourism operators.

“These include tourists looking for a variety of soft adventure and cultural experiences, those looking for in-depth cultural holidays, and people seeking intensive adventure activities,” statement said.

The study says the combined market value of tourists from the United States and Australia in these three areas amounts to over US$108 billion.

The United States outbound portion of the market is estimated at US$96 billion, while the Australian outbound portion is estimated at US$12.4 billion.

“Examining the motivations and activity preferences of the three different groups of travelers highlights the fact that even the most conservative of travelers may want to push their boundaries while on an international vacation,” Christina Beckmann, Senior Director, Strategy and Impact at ATTA said.

“In the travel and tourism industry, more consumers are now drawn to adventure travel because of how it combines both active and cultural elements to deliver distinctive experiences.”

The study was carried out to help tourism developers in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu better understand how to develop their markets and create jobs, by catering to travelers from the United States and Australia.

It was spurred by an assessment of potential tourism markets for Papua New Guinea, which showed the country could increase revenue from tourism by US$286 million annually by 2027 by focusing on niche markets, such as adventure and cultural tourism.

“This study is part of IFC’s larger efforts to leverage tourism as a tool for spurring economic growth in Pacific nations such as Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and Fiji,” IFC’s Country Manager for the Pacific, Thomas Jacobs said.

“Understanding the motivations and desires behind travelers from the United States and Australia will help tourism operators better develop products to attract those travelers to the Pacific,” said the lead author of the report, Jessie McComb, who specializes in tourism advisory at IFC.

“The reality is attracting travelers from these high-spending markets means more tourists, greater tourism revenue for operators and countries, and more job opportunities for people.”

The study, which was supported by the governments of Australia and New Zealand under the Pacific Partnership, will inform IFC’s recommendations for the growth of the-tourism  markets and can be used to improve the marketing strategies in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu.

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