Sustainable and Innovative Tourism Experiences for the Blue Economy
Innovation means doing something better or differently than in the past, and creating value for which customers will pay. Experiences innovation means constantly evaluating and improving where need be, what we are doing today to ensure that travelers leave or destinations with deep and long lasting memories. Tourism that was designed in the past cannot be relied on to move the present into the future. The 20th Inter-University seminar on sustainable tourism held at the Technical University of Mombasa brought students together to discuss innovative tourism experiences that support sustainability of the blue economy.
Travelers are willing to pay premiums for not just innovative experiences in coastal and marine destinations, but also sustainable destinations. Businesses may find it challenging to design products that meet customers delight while at the same time constraining costs to acceptable levels, consequently guaranteeing a reliable experience and regular quality sales. So, when selecting on direction for innovations, it is important to consider aspects which will make greatest impact to customers, but also consider evaluating which areas create the greatest impact in the fastest and easiest manner.
1. Tourism is at its prime in Africa, but if its frameworks are not changing, some destinations might crumble. If our frameworks are strong, it doesn’t matter what markets we open ourselves to.
2. It is time for Africa to think harder about sustainable tourism. Innovative experiences must be sustainable and meet traveler’s dynamic requirements. Kenya’s coastal destinations can be innovative by diversifying its products to include culture and heritage, e.g. tell a story of the Mijikenda culture through food, music, dance, cloths, etc.
3. Investing in water transport is a sustainable way to use ocean resources and will be a game changer in coastal tourism. The blue economy is the 7th sector that will drive vision 2030. Yet earnings remain so low for tourism related activities in Kenya’s coast.
4. No amount of marketing will substitute for experiences. Holiday travelers to Kenya’s coast has been on the decline since 2013 as bed nights for other travelers has been on the increase. Promoting and selling tourism experiences that do not meaningfully engage the local culture is difficult because travelers are demanding for immersion, authenticity and positive travel.
5. Innovation has benefits to business, which include;
• Employment generation
• Contribution to local economies
• Direct financial contributions to nature protection
• Benefits for the tourist from sustainable tourism
We should plan for tourism development through unique innovation and creativity, and avoid copying the western culture. Sustainability and competitiveness must define tourism innovations in the blue economy.
Let’s Go Travel Uniglobe
Invited guests from Strathmore University
Students from Technical University of Mombasa
Universities in Attendance
Technical University of Mombasa-Host
Total number of Students in attendance: 89