BANGKOK: Over 50 tourism marketing representatives from across the Asia Pacific region came together for three days in Mie, Japan to enhance their digital marketing skills through an adventure filled journey in this little known part of the country.
The third DATA (Destination Academy with TripAdvisor) event in Asia Pacific, brought together a diverse group of marketing managers, destination marketers and social community managers for a highly educational, informative and dynamic three-day seminar that combined practical training in digital marketing, crisis management training and best practice with case studies from successful destinations around the world, said a press release issued here on Thursday.
TripAdvisor, in partnership with the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and E-Tourism Frontiers, launched the initiative in 2014 in Singapore to improve the way that destinations use content created by travellers, and to help Destination Marketing Organisations (DMOs) succeed online.
“In today’s ever-changing travel environment, destinations need to understand the value and importance of local, real time content and how to connect and leverage user-generated content to effectively transform their organizations,” said Sarah Mathews, Head of Destination Marketing, APAC – TripAdvisor and Chairperson – PATA. “Mie Prefecture was chosen as the venue of the event not only for its rich cultural history but also for the fact that it is a lesser known destination with a wealth of tourism assets. These assets were integrated into the offsite training activities. This allowed us the perfect opportunity to educate the participant’s first-hand with real world examples.”
In addition to the classroom training and discussion sessions, participants visited the Ise-Shima Pearl Museum to learn about the rich history of the trade; took part in ninja martial arts training; watched a traditional Japanese drumming performance, and participated in team building activities in the historical town of Ise. The highlight of the offsite activities included a visit with Ama divers of the Shima Peninsula, home of the world’s best pearls, where the delegates watched the elderly women, some over 80 years old, dive for shellfish for the day’s lunch.
Mohamed Hazeem, Marketing Manager at Sri Lanka Tourism, said “I loved the experiential learning opportunities of the workshop, especially the visit with the traditional women divers where we learned how they created a great tourism experience while preserving their traditions and authenticity at the same time. I am thinking how we can do the same for Sri Lanka.”
Louise Laing, General Manager of Marketing of Visit Ballarat, added, “One of the best things about DATA is everyone in the room is from DMOs so you get exposed to thoughts, best practices and challenges from people who are doing exactly the same thing but in different locations.”
During the three day programme, TripAdvisor held separate sessions to share new data on travel trends for travel research, planning and booking and provided guidance on how the wealth of user generated content and reviews may be better used to market destinations.
Destinations have the opportunity to hold DATA events in their home countries to educate and empower their travel trade stakeholders.