‘Nature tourism’ is one of the fastest growing tourism market segments in the world, and provides a sustainable option for economy growth in areas that may be experiencing economic deprivation or decline of other tourism segments or traditional industry (such as areas of the UK coast). Research has proven that with successful destination marketing, discrete areas can drive a multi-million £/EU tourist economy based on wildlife and nature activities. In East Yorkshire, this has grown from £9m per annum to £15m per annum in 5 years (c. 290 FTE employment jobs).
However, many of these new and emerging markets have a poor understanding of trans national tourism market segments, e.g; 38% of German inbound tourists to the UK reference ‘nature’ as a primary reason for visiting (the second highest category after history and architecture), however the majority of these visitors travel to traditional nature tourism areas such as Scotland, limiting the opportunities for other areas such as East Yorkshire.
In addition, both DMOs and tourism SMEs may have a limited understanding of trans national markets and so are not able to effectively market to these segments or provide a high quality experience for tourists when they visit. As a result, visits may be limited in time or repeat custom reducing the local economic benefits within local communities.
It is also crucial to fully research and understand the needs of trans national nature tourism visitors to successfully target the more generalist tourism market where nature tourism may form part of a wider visit but where nature and wildlife could provide added value and encourage additional and repeat trips.