Not very Willkommen – The Internet as a Marketing Tool for attracting German-speaking Tourists to Non-European Destinations

Fachartikel 282



The Internet can be a powerful cross-cultural incoming tourism communication tool if used in a proper way. Visitor images of destinations are important drivers of consumer choice and therefore, how destinations provide information to visitors is critically important to image formation. This text first looks at the general features of internet as a cross-cultural communication tool in tourism, based on literature review and the results of earlier research of the author in the field. For long-haul leisure tourists, tourism websites are not a booking machine but first of all an image-building tool. Visitors have to be enabled to find and understand the information provided, but also to feel comfortable with the website within their own specific cultural background. The paper then introduces the methodology and the result of a study of German-language websites of non-European national and regional destination marketing organisations (DMOs), conducted in 2005. The study shows that German-speaking tourists are responsible for 16% of all international tourism expenditure, with Germany as No. 1 spending nation in 2003. Still, many important non-European DMOs do not provide any German-language tourism websites. The quality of those provided leaves room for improvement. 60% of the surveyed websites reach less than 50% of the possible points. Especially topicality, interactivity and customized information and design are often much less than optimal.

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