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Through a Crystal Ball Darkly: What Does 2018 Smell Like?

(Year-End 'Big Blog' 2017)

Crystal ball  

 A New Beginning.........or Just More of the Same?

Logically, there is no reason to view the end of one year and beginning of another as a reason to expect a change in human behaviour. Other than ephemeral New Year resolutions to lose weight, spend more time in the gym, and eat healthily, people don't change their behaviour dramatically, and certainly not their attitudes and tastes, on January 1st. So why should this make any difference to travel patterns? It doesn't. But, like New Year resolutions, it's a convenient milestone to pause the treadmill, take stock and assess what the future holds. Macroeconomic conditions, investment in infrastructure, and improved access, will drive change in 2018 far more than any shift in travellers' tastes. 
The trends identified below are not earth-shaking revelations about radical changes in human desire. Rather, they are a continuation of what has been going on for some time, overlaid with an analysis of external impacts, which might affect where and how people look, book and travel in the months ahead. 

Read more: Through a Crystal Ball Darkly: What Does 2018 Smell Like?  

'Overtourism': Fact, Fiction or Food for Thought?

"I think more has been written in mainstream press about issues associated with mass tourism in the past 6 weeks than in the past 6 years (Justin Francis, CEO Responsible Tourism 16th Aug 2017: )

A combination of the media ‘silly season’, main tourism season, and relentless tourism growth, resulted in a rash of ‘overtourism’ stories in the British media this summer.

So, is this just a case of media sensationalism? Or is it the canary in the mine of the global visitor economy, warning of impending disaster? Have we lost sight of the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s laudable exhortation to develop sustainable tourism? The truth is many destinations need fewer visitors in the peak season and more in the off-season. There are two sides to this coin.

Read more: 'Overtourism': Fact, Fiction or Food for Thought?

Belarus Brand Basics: Seeking a Country’s Competitive Identity

A Challenging Task

Belarus conference (July 2017)

Capturing the spirit of a country is never easy. Less so when it shares so many characteristics with its neighbours – from history to culture, nature to customs, and architecture to cuisine. Explaining our approach and initial ideas at an International Branding Conference in Minsk:..........

International Branding Conference overview

Belarus speech by Tom Buncle

Anatomy of an Asian Icon: How ‘Cuteness’ Drives Tourism


Understanding your customers is the perennial first principle of marketing - a mantra so well-worn that it is almost easy to forget. Even more so, as businesess increasingly rely on algorithms to predict what we're going to do and buy before we even think about it. So it's refreshing to come across completely different ways of thinking, which challenge our own views of the world. But it's also reassuring, no matter how different the culture, to be reminded of the need to get inside our potential customers' heads and hearts, even when we might find it hard to empathise.

Read more: Anatomy of an Asian Icon: How ‘Cuteness’ Drives Tourism

Tourism and Terrorism

The impact of terrorism on tourism: a changing attitude to risk in holiday-taking.

Article in UK Tourism Society Journal, Summer edition 2016, by Tom Buncle. Click here  

(Full article on pg 7)

TS Journal 165 Summer 2016
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