Today’s demanding and discerning tourists don’t just want to observe, they wish to experience places. This is the origin of experiential tourism, a trend relevant to off-season travellers who choose this time of the year not only to lower costs but also to avoid crowds and increase chances for authentic interactions with locals.
But experiences are much more than travelling to authentic destinations, it’s actually an innovative and creative sustainable tourism concept.
A new type of visitor thanks to experiential tourism
Experiential tourism is about people, place and activity. The aim is to create a sense of personal achievement through individual and unique experiences tailored to the interests of each visitor.
This new form of tourism offers the sector a new type of visitor. The experiential tourist is an active participant in the experience and is looking for more than just a package tour, a hotel room or a scenic view.
Contemporary travellers increasingly want to do more than simply ‘see’ a place; it’s about what they did while they were there; they want to live it, breathe it, touch it, become part of it. Visitors want to learn how to do new things and to be immersed in cultural activities, interact with local people, and actively participate in local life wherever and whenever they can.
Details are everything in experiential tourism. Every tiny piece of reality is what will make the difference in making the traveller feel part of their own tourism story. The traveller becomes the protagonist of the story he or she is experiencing. This is especially reflected in those activities that, far from crowds of people, get closer to local communities and their way of life.
What is an experience?
An ‘experience’ actively involves visitors so they can feel special and have the opportunity to engage with local culture and connect with a place and its people.
“A tourism product is what you buy, a tourism experience is what you remember”
Canadian Tourism Commission
This can be done by:
- Connecting with local people.
- Immersing themselves into local culture.
- Enjoying local food and drink.
- Exploring local geography and places of interest and natural highlights.