New frontiers of experiential tourism

What is experiential tourism? Are today’s tourists the same as 10 or 20 years ago? How do tourist facilities to follow the evolution of tourists’ expectations?

Today we are all experiencing a ‘digital’ world and the average age of Fb users is increasing inevitably connecting all generational groups. The digital revolution has changed much of our daily behaviour, social networks have even changed the way we relate to others. Everything is accelerated and fast, travel, communication, work, to the point that many have lost the experience of contact with 3D reality.

New business that started on the web are now becoming real 3D. In many parts of the world companies started firstly on the web and later formed real offices. This was predictable: any excess leads to the emergence of its opposite, as taught by the Eastern philosophy of Yin and Yang.

Accordingly, in a fast world, a fast life, the opposing force grows, slow, as exampled by Slow Food and slowly grows until it reaches every aspect of life – also tourism. Slowness is the ability to feel the flow of our life through our emotions. Give yourself a treat, devote the time to an experience, is perhaps the most valuable thing you can do, especially when you are a tourist.

So tourism is travels on two tracks: the fast track being that of large organizations (mainly based on the price of the trip) and the slow track – the independent tourist who spends some time organizing their trips. This second group of people are a socially interesting phenomenon because they are moved by a spirit of “adventure”. Not so much in meeting the unknown, as in the past when you do not know much of the world, as from a desire to find a few unique or special sights. These sights can lead to emotional experiences to then share among friends and on social networks.

This tourist is trapped between two different pressures: he has little time while he also wants to find special experiences. The result of this conundrum is either a series of short stays researching peculiarities of famous places (in which parts of the experiences are given by the local fame) or visits to unknown or little known places that offer special experiences.

But what is special experience? How can you communicate that with this tourist?

Experiential tourism is not classifiable in a unified way because everyone seeks well-being in their own way and each person is different. There are common factors such as body needs and the degree of kindness with which you are welcomed, but each researches experience in different fields according to their interests and natures. This type of tourism is the sum of many individuals and not a homogeneous group, as in ‘busloads of tourists’.

The magic attraction of a place is given by three factors: location, people and their creations. Nature, history, food, arts and crafts all play an important role and when a place has all of these characteristics, then it becomes special and can attract visitors. Visitors will then be the first to tell their experiences on social media and promoting the place itself.

Walkways, bike trails or horse trails, art exhibits, craft markets, parks, local food, monuments, art workshops and craft workshops and special accommodation in special places. The new tourist is looking for experiences in that special place where he arrives of the territory and in the people he meets, a blend created by a mix of history, hospitality and people representing the uniqueness of the place.

To attract these tourists the secret is to tell stories that can easily be found on the Internet or social media. If someone is looking for a magic place to go, then that place has to be discovered and its special peculiarities explained. There is no limit to what is important except that the stories must be true (not to have a boomerang effect on the social networks), and they are well written. A story must be able to convey emotions that then cause the reader to want to go and see the place and meet those people.

For example, to emphasize how these stories are important is the http://energitismo.com/zagarolo-festival-resilienza-artigianato-2/?lang=it article about Zagarolo craftsmen. A Franco-German television read it and came to do three days of shooting on location interviewing craftsmen and being part of their lives.

The experiential tourist is seeking sites such as Energitismo, Specialpeople Specialplaces, that tell unique stories about people and places you may have never heard of and open a door to a magic land of new experiences. They travel down the ‘yellow brick road’ to meet wizards, artists, artisans, and craftsmen and thrill to their creations in the beauty of their surroundings and go home to tell their own wonderful stories – this is experiential tourism.