To Experience or Collect? That Is the Tourism Question

Road Trip![tweetmeme source=”pagetx”]Your annual summer vacation.  That Spring Break trip to the beach you took in college.  Disney World with the kids.  Name your poison, but travel is an integral part of Americans’ lives.  Many of us consider it a birthright.  We may cut back on spending in other areas, but by God, we are GOING on vacation this year!

I was intrigued by a blog post I saw in the Dallas Morning News.  In the post, the author Nicole Stockdale, poses a basic but very interesting question.  One in which the tourism industry in general – and DMOs in particular – should probably consider.  Her question?  Is travel (or tourism) an experience, or merely just a checklist?  Wish I’d have thought of it first.

What is it that motivates people to get in their car and drive for 16 hours (like I did with my family over Christmas)?  Is there some unique, experiential aspect of the trip that drives you to do it?  Or is it something more commonplace?  How do we know when we’ve really been somewhere?  As Stockdale suggests, is it when we visit someplace cool like a local restaurant with regional fare?  Or notable and unique to the area like the Statue of Liberty?

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