Uniform Difference: Quality and Quirkiness

Tourism: Brief Encounter or long term affair

Successful destinations of the future will think of the global but act on the local. We must ensure that tourism is environmentally sustainable - and economically and culturally sustainable too. Those who worry about globalisation fear that historic cultural identities will be lost in a 'one size fits all'. But the greatest paradox of the globalised visitor economy is that travellers who can go anywhere in the world, will want a destination experience like nowhere else on earth; that 'something special' - be it a modern cultural icon or living heritage - that makes a destination unlike anywhere else. So, globalisation in tourism is not a threat to the unique, it exists because of the unique.

The future for us all in tourism promotion is a quality product that we can market without the tragedy of all our products being the same. This means common quality assurance schemes; Blue Flags; Green Flags; star-ratings. Basic common standards that all visitors will expect to see. But that does NOT mean we face an homogenised, identikit visitor economy. Quite the opposite: standardisation means universal benchmarks for products. It does not mean uniformity of products.

Techonology offers us a great deal of good and there will be lessons for us to learn from each other on promoting green tourism for the good of the global environment and the local economy. We need quality products with that special appeal.

Stuart Barrow, Public Affairs Manager, VisitBritain