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How could (and should) the attractions industry be more meaningful?

We need a new model for the industry based on a new contract between operators, visitors and destinations

Opinion
ALVA member The Eden project domes and gardens in the summer

By Thibault PaquinCelebrating Life

greenloop sustainability in visitor attractions conference

As we celebrate sustainability in our industry with greenloop, the world’s first conference dedicated to this issue organised by blooloop on 20-21 April, I wanted to share some thoughts on ways the attractions industry could (and should) also become more meaningful as it looks into the future.

Conversations around sustainability can be sometimes alarmist and quite often a bit too technical for me. It’s easy to get lost among the myriads of certifications and labels and to lose track of the higher meaning. I also feel there is a lack of framework and tools for people in our industry – and hospitality at large – who are animated by a true sense of purpose.

Meaningful interactions between attractions and visitors

The rise of the shared economy showed us it was possible to look at our relationship with the visitor based on more transparency, authenticity and trust. I believe this newfound relationship (based on the experience) and not the visitor themselves (and their usage) should become pivotal.

green planet dubai meaningful attractions
The Green Planet, Dubai

Digitalisation allows us to eliminate all frictions and to ease all processes. This, therefore, frees more time for attractions to spend building meaningful ties with the visitor. Plus it enables us to better understand the visitor in order to better adapt to their search for meaning, rather than simply satisfying their needs.

So, we need a new model for our industry based on a new contract between operators, visitors and destinations. One that will spear transformation and realization. One that will change the way the visitor sees their future and the future of the world around them.

Sustainability and meaning

Here is what this model could look like.

At the beginning, there is the purpose (“raison d’être” in French). This is a strong commitment the operator builds around their story. It ties them to the visitor and the destination by bringing meaning at every level.

The story and the emotions it sparks, carried by the operator and their staff, become the base of the visitor experience. It is transformative, the visitors feel different and realize themselves.

Ahmed Al Khatib says the Sustainabiliy Pavilion is Platinum LEED certified meaningful attractions
The Sustainability Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai

By including sustainability in their purpose and adopting this new meaningful model, the operator can have more impact on the environment and into the future by tying in the visitor and the destination.

Join me in working towards a more meaningful attractions industry. It is all about finding your purpose, built around your story. Then building an experience around this story and the emotions it triggers. The visitor, in their search for meaning, will support you. And the world around you will also thank you!

Top image courtesy of the Eden Project

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Thibault Paquin

Thibault Paquin

Thibault Paquin is the founder and CEO of Celebrating Life, a destination consultancy firm which provides independent consulting, development and project management services for companies in the leisure and entertainment industry.

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