Tourism and pandemic in Europe: advertising campaigns are reinventing themselves

In France, each region went there with its slogan: “Your summer in Pays de la Loire”, “Brittany, the change of scenery near you”, “Escape near you” for the Vendée which compared itself to the ‘Ireland, or even “For the holidays I think Hauts de France”.

Some regions or cities organize competitions to offer holidays on their land, as has been the case in Indre, Charente and Charente-Maritime.

The slogan / hashtag ” This summer I am visiting France »Was massively broadcast on networks, echoing the way in which the French press had pointed out the catastrophic figures linked to the start of the pandemic in the countries of the South, mainly in Spain and Italy; the situation was hardly more reassuring in France, but we were invited to explore it. Finally, it seems that the number of holidaymakers has fallen this summer: 53% of French people have gone on vacation compared to 71% last year, but 94% chose France.

Stay in the race

Despite the revival of this so-called domestic, supposedly safer and “patriotic” tourism (holidays, a national effort to save the country), the data is not good: tourism turnover has fallen by 50 % in France, almost 40% in Italy, there is talk in Spain of a number of tourists five times lower than in 2019; as for Portugal less affected by the pandemic, the country has seen its tourist activity drop by 60%.

Tourism practices have been, are and will therefore be forced to evolve, as well as the promotional messages which encourage them: they try little by little, over the campaigns posted on the networks, to keep foreign tourists in suspense.

Thus, during confinement, while it was necessary to take care, in addition to sport in the living room, video-conference aperitifs, the cultural aspect was not left out. All kinds of initiatives from various cultural places and tourist destinations have flourished, hoping to reunite with visitors once the crisis has passed. To nourish the desire to travel, visits to museums, monuments, hotels and even beaches were possible thanks to 3D, being comfortably installed on your sofa.

Private or official initiatives, carried out from local, regional and national authorities then accumulated. Their success is still difficult to measure, but the initiatives are multiplying, no doubt in the hope that once the pandemic has passed, these virtual excursions will lead to real trips.

Make tourists wait

In Spain, the organization Turespaña has not stopped promoting tourism since the 1980s with spots broadcast in several languages. In recent years, his YouTube channel is continuously updated and the containment has not prevented updates, more regular than other countries such as France, Italy or Portugal. Accompanying potential tourists throughout the confinement and in the mother tongue of each of them was intended to keep the flame alive.

Thus, the first spot broadcast during a pandemic, in mid-April, encouraged the population to stay at home: we then saw a confined family playing, coloring, sleeping, applauding at the window, calling their relatives.

The message was clear and was offered in Spanish, French, English, German and Italian: “España te espera, quédate en casa”“Spain is waiting for you, stay at home today”. A few weeks later, in a other video, a young woman plunged back into her travel memories: all kinds of monuments and landscapes paraded past at high speed, like a jumble aiming to make the spectator wait: it was the teaser of her next vacation in Spain.

The next step, in June, with the spots “Nunca dejes de soñar” and “10 motivos para visitarnos”, encouraged this time to plan his trip. We could then see, among other things, a secret cove, a path through the forest, the alley of a white village, the Pedrera of Barcelona, ​​places ready to welcome tourists, places rather deserted, and, in fact, protected – busy places having particularly bad press …

Make strangers dream

The above-mentioned spots were produced in Spanish and other languages. On the contrary, the following series was intended only for foreigners: they had to be encouraged to return to Spain. Thus, “Return to Spain” highlighted this return of tourists by insisting on repetition: “Rediscover our history”, “Caress the sun again with your swing”, “Appreciate once again the unique flavors of our cuisine”, “Cross the sea and the sky again”, “Breathe the sea breeze again”, “Feel places full of light”.

Without a voiceover, these spots focus on the sensations: sounds of nature, laughter, paella cooking, birds singing, church bells ringing, all once again in empty places. other tourists.

If you look at what we do in other countries, things are different in terms of the amount of videos produced and the target audience. In France, the promotional spot which featured French bloggers was translated into English, but the associated hashtags did not suggest a strong foreign tourism at that time: #Until we meet again #abientot, #seeyousoon. In Portugal, “Visita a tua terra” was initially addressed to the inhabitants (June 2020) before a multilingual version not released in October.

We saw tourists of different nationalities, taking up the song Only you : it was a true declaration of love in Portugal, here personified. As in the Spanish spots, the places presented appeared deserted, even if the final message “Only you can continue to make us the best Destination in the world” (“only you can continue to make us the best destination in the world”) recalled the success of the country, and the competitive spirit that reigns in the tourism sector.

Janelle B. Smith

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