Recently I participated in the annual Tourism Conference sponsored by Travel Manitoba. Travel Manitoba is a crown corporation whose purpose is to promote Manitoba tourism to markets in the rest of Canada, the USA and beyond. We typically do some advertising through this organization. Participation in the conference provides training as well as opportunities to network with other operators of tourist destinations.
The primary theme of this year’s conference was The Explorer Quotient. Through extensive research initiated by the Canadian Tourism Commission, it has been determined that most people fit one of nine tourist types. Their specific tourist type is referred to as their Explorer Quotient (EQ). People who enjoy high adventure (like white-water rafting) would likely have a different EQ than those who are “virtual travelers,” vacationing vicariously by watching travelogues and reading books about the cultures of other countries.
The principle behind the Explorer Quotient concept is that when we learn to understand the EQ of visitors who are attracted to our museum, we can increase the effectiveness of our communications with them, through our interpretive materials as well as our advertising.
Travel Manitoba is adopting the EQ program and is encouraging other tourist destinations to do the same. Over the next months, MHV will seek to increase our understanding of it and determine how it might be helpful to our tourism efforts and activities.
A secondary theme that again surfaced at this conference was that of Experiential Tourism. Today’s tourists are looking for an experience, preferably a hands-on experience. They want to get directly involved in baking the schnetje, milking the cow, driving the tractor, etc. This presents interesting challenges for a tourist destination, as it increases the level of risk involved. There’s an interesting tension here between our preoccupation with safety and security and our desire to provide hands-on experiences.