If you’re considering throwing your hat in the ring in the travel and tourism sector, there’s lots of potential for profit.
Tourism growth outpaces the global economy according to a recent United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) report – and the number of destinations earning over US$1 billion from international tourism has almost doubled since 1998.
But if you don’t have billion dollar backers, how will you ever compete against long-established mainstream competitors such as Virgin, TUI or Sandals?
The answer might be finding a tourism niche you can fill – using your pre-existing passion and expertise to create a company that caters for travellers who share your enthusiasm for a certain sport or subject.
By working in an area you already know well, you’ll have a fast-track advantage over novices who have to learn everything about a new industry from scratch.
If this sounds like a savvy plan, a little brainstorming should get those entrepreneurial ideas flowing like white water rapids – here are a couple of smart startup tips for the specialist tourism sector to get you inspired.
Hidden history tourism
There’s an old adage that history is written by the victors – and there’s certainly some credence in the view that the history which is passed down is filtered through the lenses of the dominant socioeconomic powers, with the result that that many key figures, communities and cultures are either unheard of or misrepresented.
So perhaps your tourism business can reveal the hidden histories that people genuinely find fascinating and which exist outwith traditional narratives?
For example, rather than spending their entire vacation within the walls of an all-inclusive resort, some visitors to Jamaica might enjoy exploring alternative attractions like Accompong? This is the mountain stronghold of the Maroons, a rebel army of runaway slaves which successfully fought the British Empire and remains semi-autonomous to this day.
Many businesses are monetized versions of their founders’ favourite pastimes – often it simply takes a shift in mindset to realise that the hobby you’ve devoted a significant portion of your life to has endowed you with a level of expertise that can relatively easily be transferred to the business sphere.
Winter sports tourism is an excellent example of this approach and the business brains behind many of its most successful brands are ski and snowboard fanatics who tap into their natural energy and enthusiasm to attract new customers.
Take snowsports experts NUCO Travel for instance.Founded by people who love snow as much as its customers, it has carved out a firm foothold in a competitive market by using insider knowledge to create tailor-made package holidays for customers who want to explore the sublime slopes of the French Alps and Andorra.
These two diverse tips on creating a specialist tourism startup are merely the tip of a lucrative iceberg – by thinking outside the box about the things that you find most fulfilling in life and the unique features of a favourite destination, you’ll soon develop a dynamic plan of your own.
And as another saying goes, by doing something you love, you’ll never work another day in your life!