Tourism brochures are known to feature iconic landscapes and landmarks which soon become places that have to be seen and captured. Crepes by the Eiffel Tower, a British Royal Guard and the London Bridge, a koala and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. However, a new study conducted at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, has highlighted the relationship between happiness and inbound tourism.
Three researchers from the university have discovered that countries launching tourism campaigns focused on the happiness of people is more effective in shaping international beliefs and values about a destination. This is opposed to depicting famous landmarks in isolation.The researches measured tourism revenue to 63 countries and found that the absence of violence and perceived political stability of a foreign country were important factors for travelers.
Economic lecturer, Dr Jeremy Nguyen says international tourists prefer to travel to, and spend more time in, happier countries. Although this may seem an obvious implication, this has a flow on effect for political leaders and economists who seek to foster national happiness and well being. In doing so, they are in turn supporting the tourism industry a major stakeholder. It has become apparent that a nation’s happiness is an intangible asset capable for attracting international visitors alongside places of historical and cultural significance.
According to the research, Mexico, Colombia and Qatar are among the happiest nations on the planet.
Tourism Australia’s recently launched ‘There’s nothing like Australia,’ campaign. It appears the happiness factor is at heart of showcasing the best attractions and experiences the nation has to offer. Stunning footage of the spectacular Northern Territory Kimberly gorges is accompanied by people laughing, smiling, sharing food and taking photographs. Voice-over narration promotes Australia as a place that you feel and that fills you up which connotes feelings of content and inner-peace, two facets of happiness.
The tourism industry is being shaped by studies such as these to now incorporate authentic reflections of the human experience in advertising. Perhaps it speaks to the notion that people really are the heart of a place.
Where is your happy place?