Wednesday, September 20, 2006

A night with Antor

To the glorious halls belonging to the Institute of Civil Engineers in London, where the Association of National Tourist Office Representatives was having a gathering last night.

This was Travolution’s first major foray into tourist board area of the industry, so much of the evening was an education for us to discover how important the internet is in their marketing strategies.

There will be more on this subject in the coming months, but it was interesting to see how much value the world’s tourist boards put on their online presence.

This ranged from almost nothing – except perhaps as an information portal – to user-generated content and meta search engines for flights and hotels.

The Antor chairman, Bärbel Kirchner, from the Dubai Tourist Office, admitted during her welcome address that the emergence of the internet has created massive new opportunities for tourist boards as they now have a significant channel to reach consumers.

It seems that while some are embracing the online opportunity, others are clearly lagging behind…

Light moment of the night came when a representative of the Egyptian office could hardly conceal his delight when he explained how he is now able to run internet ads for the land of the pyramids – after the government lifted restrictions on online marketing.

Previously the authorities would not accept an online ad as proof that an internet marketing campaign actually existed.

Kevin May, editor, Travolution

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