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Tourist boards have a say in route planning

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How tourist boards can make the case for a new route
Traditionally the preserve of airports, tourist boards can also get involved to help make the case for a new route to a destination, TTG Digital reports. Tourist boards can play a greater role in aviation thanks to their increasing ability to influence the argument.
While route development has often been the preserve of airports as they persuade airlines to fly new routes, Nigel Mayes, senior vice-president at the global route development consultancy ASM, says that tourist boards are playing a bigger role in making the argument.
“It is becoming increasingly apparent that while aircraft fly to airports, it’s consumers who fly to destinations and those representing them need to get involved. Tourist boards often have access to vital information about their visitors like their socio-economic background that airlines don’t have, and all of this can be part of an argument to win a route,” he says.
“In addition, tourist boards are often the first to know about new hotel developments, who they are being targeted at and how many beds will be available, so creating a bigger market.”
He adds: “All of this is vital information for airlines when they are considering a new route and we would definitely recommend that more tourist boards can involve themselves in the process.”
But there are three things tourist boards need to consider when thinking about getting more involved in route development: their market, their competition and their customers.
Mayes explains that in understanding their visitor market, destinations can access a wide amount of information – from their source markets to future events and festivals that will attract the crowds.
“It is important you understand your market,” Mayes advises. “Understanding the market starts with trying to quantify it. The number of passengers between any two points will be a fraction of passengers either travelling indirect via another airport or potentially through surface leakage. Make sure you understand the direct/indirect split and surface leakage.”
When it comes to understanding the competition, Mayes says one of the boards’ key rivals is other tourist boards. They can offer better marketing or funding deals, so a tourist board needs to know this information in order to compete.
Finally, tourist boards need to understand their customers. By knowing the business models of an airline or a tour operator, they can make a more effective argument.
“Each airline or tour operator will have different needs in terms of market, financial and operational requirements,” Mayes says.
Understanding an airline, for example, involves understanding fleet, network, scheduling priorities, operational requirements, financial support, market fit, geographical fit and brand strength.
But there are some things to avoid discussing, in particular future development.
“Do not focus on the airport and the plans for the development. No airline is flying to your airport because of the new terminal. An airline is flying there because there is a market to be served.”
TTG Digital

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