Tourism Excellence: This Is It - Stay Focused!



“When you pay attention to detail, the big picture will take care of itself.” George St-Pierre

In the tourism world, first impressions set the tone of a visit. The traveler is excited, they have spent time and money to arrive at a destination that has beckoned them, and they have expectations. One of the easiest, and perhaps the first step a destination can take to welcome visitors, is cleanliness. Are the sidewalks in your town littered and stained? Do the business owners clean the front and sides of their enterprises, from the windows, right down to the street? Or do they wait for the city to do it for them?


Self-respect and pride go hand-in-hand with welcoming patrons. An early morning scene where shopkeepers are sweeping the pathway to their shops, wiping down their windows, standing back and admiring the goods they are showing off through their windows, enticing visitors to come inside say, “Come in, we welcome you! This is it! We are open and ready to serve you! “


Paying attention to details is the quickest and most economical way to boost visitation and return visitation. How does your town or city look? Is it clean? When a city is clean, it appears safe and well-cared for, and that is attractive, as opposed to a littered and stained sidewalk with overflowing trash cans that smell.


Green spaces, flowers, water features and benches also say, ”Come and sit for a spell, relax, enjoy yourself, no need to rush.” Not only do green spaces make people feel good, they can be very economical to create. Pretty, small garden spaces with places to sit tell visitors you care how they feel. Hanging flower baskets that are well maintained catch the eye of those passing by, slowing them down just a bit and adding a bit of color and a smile to their day. What better way to say “Welcome!”

“The difference between something good and something great is attention to detail.“ Charles R. Swindoll

The uniqueness of a destination rests within knowing and taking care of the details. The details are what tell the visitor who you are as a town, what your community is all about, and what your history is. The visitor travels to find out what others are all about, searching for the uniqueness in the destination and its people.

Glynn Burrows, owner and operator of Norfolk Tours in England says, “I find that I get better service from the small independent establishments. I also get better food and a better night’s sleep. Big “posh” hotels are generally overpriced, serve mass-produced food and are often the same the world over. On my many trips around the world, I have stayed at both types of accommodations and I would choose the small independent every time. I always put my guests in the real, local B&B or small hotel, as it is there that they will taste real food, stay in rooms that have character, and meet like-minded people. Excellence is not always found in the five-star hotels, it is often to be found in the little farm-house B&B up a country lane.

Luxury for me, is not sleeping between silk sheets, drinking Champagne and eating caviar flown in especially from Russia, it is sleeping in a comfortable bed in a real building, (not one made of steel and cardboard), drinking freshly brewed tea or coffee and eating eggs fresh from the chickens in the farm-yard and sausages from the local butcher.”

“Only close attention to the fine details of any operation makes the operation first class.” JW Marriott

Focusing on the small details and solutions can jump-start the tourism to a town. How is the lighting downtown? Can you stroll downtown in the evening? Are the main streets nicely lit, not so much to add to light pollution, and in such a way as to be inviting? Are there enough signs to help people find the places they are interested in seeing while visiting?

What kind of shopping do we offer as a town, do we have enough restaurants, do we need to encourage more B&B’s and hotels to come in? Do we have local products to offer, not usually easily attained somewhere else? Do we provide public spaces for artists, musicians and performers to show off their talents by entertaining visitors? Do we have spaces and parks for families and places that will interest children as well as adults? Do we provide places for those with pets?

A great benefit in a plan that focuses on ways to accommodate visitors, is that the quality of life of the residents is also enhanced and any negative impacts of tourism can be minimized. Future impacts on natural and cultural resources must be addressed as part of the plan. Local pride permeates a visitor’s experience and a respect between the host community and the visitor develops naturally as the vision of becoming an ideal and unique destination grows.

At the heart of a thriving tourism-based economy there is usually a community-minded (or focused) local government and/or committee dedicated to alleviating or preventing poverty and supporting education. Focusing on uplifting and upgrading a community, its services and infrastructure, will draw visitors with tourism dollars, and earmarking some of those dollars for further community upgrades, opportunities and education, ensures survival of the tourism industry. It’s a Win-Win relationship that requires focus, nurturing and monitoring.

This is the fifth article in the “Putting the “I” Back in Community” tourism article series. For the first four articles, see:

Article 1: Building Excellence in Tourism  

Article 2: Building a Destination with a Sense of Place   

Article 3: Failure Leads to Success in Tourism: It’s a Detour  

Article 4:Speak with Good Purpose – Be Positive 

International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association

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