New market trend report “Tourism and Nature” focuses on implications for SMEs

What are the current trends in tourism and general and nature-based tourism in particular? This question is explored in the desk research study “Tourism and Nature – Key Market Trends and Important Implications for SMEs”. The report specially focusses on identifying suggestions for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and was conducted by the European Tourism futures Institute (ETFI) within the framework of the Interreg project PROWAD LINK.

“This is our homework for taking the next big step in our project PROWAD LINK”, says Anne Husum Marboe, lead manager of this project deliverable of Nationalpark Vadehavet. “Before we can look into the co-creation process of developing new sustainable tourism products, experiences and services, we needed to identify the important trends in the markets for nature based tourism.” For the project partners the study further contains actionable insights and helps to engage with SMEs from their regions to deal with or anticipate to these trends and their implications. Prowad Link aims to unlock the potential of natural areas as a driver for jobs and sustainable development. SMEs are approached to develop nature as a brand to create benefits for both, SMEs and the environment.

For SMEs the report provides an overview of key trends as well as actionable insights to deal with or anticipate to these trends and their implications. Included are hands-on fact sheets on eight special interest topics: cycling tourism, bird watching tourism, kayaking tourism, heritage tourism, walking & hiking tourism, food tourism, fishing tourism, and cold water tourism. The fact sheets and the full report are available for download.

The study further identified key trends in nature tourism and sustainable travel, which are the shift to sustainability, the growing demand for meaningful experiences, and the increasing variation in travel motivation (fluid identity of tourists). Key trends in tourism management & marketing: The increasing relevance of strategic planning and destination development, the progressing importance of coalition building, and the massive shift to the online marketplace and online marketing. Key trends in special interest topic: The widening number of niche-markets within nature-based tourism, the tendency towards experience design, and the formation of value chains and crossovers.

The 14 project partners in Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and the United Kingdom working with interested SMEs will use the “nature-business-benefit-cycle” concept to develop new, sustainable products and offers in the pilot regions of the Wadden Sea (DK, D, NL), Geiranger Fjord (NO), Wash & North Norfolk Coast (UK). The 3-year Interreg VB project is co-funded by and carried out in the framework of the Interreg North Sea Region Programme under the Programme Priority 1 “Thinking Growth”. The programme is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) of the European Union.