PhoCusWright announced today that it would be undertaking a special report called When They Get There (And Why They Go): In-Destination Events, Attractions & Activities.
To my knowledge, this is the first research report of it's kind focusing on the tour and activities market.
For the most part, industry research has been targeted at the mainstream segments of the travel industry including air, hotel, car rental, and most recently vacation rentals.
The reason why this report is so important, in my opinion, is that it signals a potential shift in the way in-destination products are and will be viewed in the future.
In it's description of the upcoming report, PhoCusWright states:
"Little research currently exists to quantify and qualify the size and value of this large sector of the travel economy. This information is crucial not only to the operators of these attractions and experiences, but also to the countless travel companies that offer transportation and accommodation nearby."
I would add that this research is of particular interest to DMOs (Destination marketing Organizations) because the businesses that will be part of this report are small and medium sized businesses that drive the local economy.
The ability for DMOs to quantify the economic impact of these business from a tourism standpoint can go a long way to furthering economic development initiatives around tourism and tourism related activities.
Be able to justify economic development encourages investment in tourism and maintains the DMO's relevance for its stakeholders.
The report also stands to shift some significant focus to the financial opportunities that exist in the tour and activities market. As fragmented as this sector is, it is like a gold mine waiting to be explored.
Early estimates put the number of operators in North America at over 67,000 with a combined product count of over 200,000 unique products. This report will hopefully put some factual data behind the numbers and provide all of us with a more accurate view of the potential of this sector.
For many, this report could change the way small businesses are perceived in the market. If the data falls in line with my expectations, I expect the tours and activities segment to be a popular topic of discussion at many upcoming industry conferences, PhoCusWright included.
The report is not a done deal yet, however, and sponsors for the report are required to make it a reality. I would encourage current leaders in the tour and activity market to seriously consider the value that this report might bring to their organizations and to the industry as a whole.
Destinations, aggregators, technology providers, and large operators will all stand to benefit from this report.