Airlines and destinations must work more closely together, panel says
Airlines and tourist boards need to start working together more closely for mutual benefit in route development, the speakers of a panel at WTM London agreed.
Speaking in a session on how destinations and carriers can work together to attract more business, Ali Gayward from easyJet said there are a number of benefits for tourist boards if they are prepared to work with airlines.
The low-cost carrier has top knowledge of its customers, she said, from when they prefer to go on holiday to what they do when they get there.
Airlines like hers will also enjoy better rates with marketing and advertising agencies thanks to the economies of scale involved as they work so regularly with them.
“We can probably secure much better value for money than if you went independently to some of those agencies,” she said, according to TTG Media.
Jordan Tourism Board managing director Dr Abed Razzaq Arabiyat said government-backed tourist boards are normally well placed to help drive policy in order to attract more tourists.
He gave the example of Jordan’s own problems when he first tried to start working with easyJet, only to discover the airline was unimpressed by a $60 departure tax, $60 visa bill and around $35 per head being passed on to each passenger in airport charges.
Once he started tackling the charges, the airline became much more amenable to working with the destination.
Working with LCCs
Any European destination looking to boost air connectivity must be prepared to work with the low cost carriers, Dr Arabiyat added, as 90% of Europeans use these airlines for tourism travel.
Airports also have a vital role to play in a destination’s success, said Amsterdam Airport Schiphol’s head of aviation marketing Maaike van der Windt. A partnership with KLM and the Dutch marketing board targeting the US saw more than 1 million Americans visit the country in 2015, the biggest number in 10 years.