It was the first time I heard the term “high yield tourist” however I immediately recognized its huge importance to wellness tourism and spa tourism worldwide. The “high yield tourist” is something governments and private business know is very important – it brings in travelers who spend more money than other tourists often do. Also wellness tourists often don’t do as much damage to a country’s environment and thus are attractive from that point of view also.
The concept reminds me of the findings from many hotel groups that have evaluated the spending patterns of their guests. They have found that those guests who use the spa spend a lot more money in general than those who don’t use the spa. (Sometimes even twice as much on average!)
It was last week in New Delhi – we were sitting in the office of the man who is credited with spearheading the wildly successful “Incredible India” campaign – Amitabh Kant. In fact he had just handed us the book he wrote about that topic called “Branding India: An Incredible Story.” I was in India with Andrew Gibson (Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong) and Professor Marc Cohen (RMIT, Australia) where we were making further preparations for the 2013 Global Spa and Wellness Summit that will take place October 5-7.
We were aware that Amitabh Kant was one of the key visionaries who put wellness tourism on the map – not only for India but for the world. In 2000 he was minister of tourism for Kerala and launched the “God’s Own Country Campaign” that introduced this beautiful region to the world and branded it as the cradle of Ayurveda. He later went on to work with India’s national government and developed the Incredible India campaign that resulted in showcasing the color and diversity of India – all under one banner. He explained that the foundation of the campaign was actually the wellness aspect of India…featuring yoga, meditation and Ayurveda.
He explained that his goal was to target the “high yield tourist,” knowing that if he could do that, others would follow. And that is exactly what happened.
There isn’t a great deal written yet about this “high yield tourist” – however it is a concept that will likely be discussed more often in the future. Check out this study from Australia: Concepts of Tourism Yield and Their Measurement .
Note their observation:
“Generally it is not the number of visitors per se that is the goal of tourism marketing but the expenditure associated with those visitors. Moreover, it is well recognized that greater numbers also generally imply greater social and environmental impacts. In this report we develop yield measures based on the financial and economic effects of visitor expenditure rather than visitor numbers.”