The tourism and travelling industries are all about experiences. It has long stopped being about just the destination, but the modern traveller also has an eye for details such as the destination’s history, language, day-to-day life, and its weather or climate. ‘Seasonality’ is main drive in tourism, determining ‘highs and lows’ for each destination according to the time of year. In particular, seasonality affects the number of tourists to a region, therefore decreasing activity for many businesses in catering, retail, or hospitality.
While seasonality certainly has its pros, it can place some pressure on certain ‘remote’ destinations, meaning, when seasonality hits, isolated tourism enterprises in such destinations must ensure they are equipped with the right resources to provide the best possible service to their clients. This is far less crucial in more populated areas such as busy cities.
However, more isolated destinations, such as island destinations, resorts, or popular backpacking destinations, are adopting strategies to address the effects of seasonality even at SME level.
Seasonal variation pricing had proven to attract a target market in the ‘quieter’ months. Most Mediterranean islands have tried and tested this strategy during the winter season (mainly November-March), when passenger traffic from airports and cruise ports sees a yearly decrease.
The oganization of special events has also boosted certain destinations’ presence on the global market. Mediterranean islands such as Gozo are now sought after thanks to their Yuletide events like Bethlehem f’Għajnsielem as part of the Christmas in Gozo programme. This also makes way for a more diverse tourism market.
Almost all tangible strategies to address the impact of seasonality on the destination require a strong collaboration between state and local governments, including the private sector. The advantage of all this, is that many strategies are ‘transferable’ from one industry to the next, yet since tourism is a crucial economic motor for many small states, detailed research is necessary to investigate the impact of each individual strategy on the market.
This is why state Governments have been looking into how tourism enterprises can individually overcome the effects of large swings in seasonal demand and how said enterprises can address them. This, together with a further drive in collaboration between state-owned enterprises and SMEs within tourism have proven successful in overcoming ‘tourist shortages’ across many holiday destinations.