To many, tourism is an economic savior that can bring jobs and opportunity. Indeed there are tourism opportunities everywhere and markets for most any type of experience. But not all markets are the same and not all destinations have the ability to service the markets they want to attract.
I have been thinking a lot about the “human traffic jam” on Everest this week and the tourists who undertake this type of travel. The market for this type of experience is somewhat limited by all sorts of factors – money, health, access, time involved etc to name a few. This type of tourism is also limited by facilities – and it seems that we are fast approaching capacity on the world’s largest mountain.
Visitors need services and, although the opportunity to see the unique and special trumps many hardships, there is definitely a minimum threshold of services for most people. Tourism is built on a foundation of basic infrastructure . In general, as the infrastructure and services increase, the potential market increases.
Which brings me to a great article in USA Today about Afghanistan Tourism. I am sure that there is a market for Afghanistan tourism today. But it is surely limited to a brave few. So Afghan tourism has two tasks:
1. They need to identify the tourists who are prepared to visit the country today and build from this (small) foundation.
2. They need to build the infrastructure for their own communities. As that infrastructure increases so too will opportunities for tourism offers to larger markets.
It is a balancing act with great “upside” and I wish them every success !