What if you could squeeze another vacation out of your trip? Who wouldn’t want that?
Reinforcing the idea that travel is not just about the final destination, more tourism organizations are working to redefine stopovers as bonus vacations. On the consumer side, stopover tourism can be a free or inexpensive way to visit unique destinations, providing a pleasant alternative to the boring and tedious experiences of conventional stopovers.
From an industry perspective, stopover tourism is extremely good for business.
According to PATA’s January 2019 Connected Visitor Economy Bulletin, authored by Travelport, stopover programmes can:
- Bring immediate incremental arrivals
- Encourage repeat visits
- Bring economic benefits to airlines and local tourism businesses
- Attract travellers who did not previously prioritize the destination
- Benefit the traveller by providing two destinations with one airfare
Having launched the programme during its first year of operation in 1948, IcelandAir is one of the pioneers of stopover tourism. This concept grew in popularity over the years and has successfully helped to generate tourism in Iceland. Other airlines and Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) followed suit and began to adopt their own stopover programmes.
Assisted by Travelport, a leading travel commerce platform, the ongoing Stopover Finland project has helped to attract Asian travellers to stop in Finland en route to other destinations in Europe. The goal was to achieve 850,000 overnight stays from Asia, which would generate an increased revenue of EUR80 million per year. In addition, Finland would be able to steadily develop new jobs within the tourism industry and become the best-known Nordic stopover destination by 2020.
Similarly, Beijing was promoted by Travelport as a stopover destination in Asia by targeting affluent foreign independent travellers with strategically placed promotional materials and competitive flight routes to Asia.
Simply offering stopover options to passengers does not automatically guarantee success. It is important to carefully curate a well-designed stopover campaign. These elements typically include collaborations between airlines and tourism boards, simplified visa regulations for targeted markets, and active promotion of the destination’s valuable assets.
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