There is an interesting article in the Economist this week about the rise of ‘glamping’ in China. This glamorous camping is done by rich Chinese. The yurts have “beds, windows, Wi-Fi and en suite bathrooms.” And this “A single campsite in Hubei can accommodate 8,000 people. Many offer entertainment too. The Swan Lake tourists enjoy Mongolian banquets and dancing in a giant concrete yurt.”
I have thought for a long time that if New Brunswick – and the Maritimes – want to seriously boost tourism – we have to be far more focused on tourism investment. As I have written many times before 98% of our effort is on how we get more tourists here and not on how we attract really nifty new tourism investments that will attract tourists here.
This may be an accident of history in New Brunswick but we have never really put any focus on trying to attract tourism investment or entrepreneurship. There have been a few less than successful efforts like putting government money into “cottage clusters” in the 1990s. But that is not what I am talking about. In fact, I’m not talking about government incentives at all.
I’m talking about a deliberate process of identifying potential new tourism investments that might work at the local level all around the region and then promoting those potential opportunities to tourism entrepreneurs. If you don’t like the idea of ‘government’ doing that work, fine – give industry the mandate – or consultants – or, I don’t know go ask the Mongolians – it seems to be working for the yurts.
Instead of putting all the focus on trying to boost tourist numbers we should put a focus on boosting tourism investors. Then we’ll have the product that will boost the tourism numbers.