for the visitor and the environment
In raising the image of eco-labels and underlying products a proper
communication to the consumer is essential. In-depth consumer (panel)
research has shown that – although consumers are aware of the
potential environmental implications of their holiday – environmental
issues are of only minor importance for most consumers during the
holiday decision making process. Psychologically a holiday is
perceived as “individual freedom in an intact world” (ECEAT
projects). During their holiday, people would like to forget personal
and collective problems and their own limitations.
This psychology is used when selling tourism products to consumers.
Within product descriptions, images and brochure design, the concept
of “complete freedom in a world, which still is as it should
be” is communicated. Therefore, from a marketing perspective
the reference to a “damaged” environment or to an expected “correct” behaviour
can be easily counter productive. Selling environmentally-friendly
or responsible products should therefore never be primarily focused
on “moral” aspects only, e.g. “by buying this product
you contribute to the social well being of the poor local population” or “by
booking this trip you support the struggle against the destruction
However, as consumers are attracted to destinations
with an image of an unspoilt environment, they do feel disrupted
and irritated if their holiday destination is not “intact” (waste,
dirty bathing water, noise, bad treatment of local employees, damaging
local environment). It is therefore increasingly important that tourism
marketers do not only promote the image of an ideal world, but that
they can also guarantee this to the consumer. Eco-labels help to
provide such a guarantee. Such an “added value” can make
the difference in a highly competitive tourism market. Consumers
should realise that an intact environment is not assumed, but should
be taken into account when choosing a destination for a holiday.
awareness and image campaign
t is essential to inform tourists in a positive way by linking the
environmental quality with the quality of the product and the experience.
Environmental quality should be connected with positive feelings
and experiences, such as: small-scale, quality service, personal
relations, traditions, intact and protected nature, rest, modern
lifestyle and healthy (organic) & local food.
Quality and environment are naturally two sides of the same coin:
eco-labelled products provide good quality service and quality products
should respect the environment:
eco-labelled products are “Quality Plus” products.
Based on this understanding of consumer perception the VISIT initiative
has developed its communication strategy for environmental quality
in tourism. In 2002, the UN Year of eco-tourism, the VISIT image
campaign was launched under the motto:
„Caring for the Environment …
…is caring for the Visitor“
This slogan connects environmental quality with the quality of the
product and experiences. The pictures combine the “visitor” with
the “environmental quality”, the short text raises awareness
and can easily be understood and accepted. Published in many languages
the slogan contributes to raise the overall awareness of the
issues and the image of eco-labels complying with the VISIT standard.
Thus, it is complementary to individual promotional activities on
a national level, or with focus on specific target groups.
This campaign will be carried on after the end of the LIFE project.