Bridging the Gap: Influencers, Tourism & Economic Development

By Lauren Farrall

Tourism & Economic Development

In previous post-pandemic years international tourism has seen a great surge and held 7% share of the world’s total exports in 2016. With more than one billion tourists traveling every year - tourism has become a leading economic sector contributing to 9.8 of global GDP. This is expected to rise to 10.8% at the end of 2026. There is a long-term relationship between tourism and economic development which emerging markets are investing in. Inbound tourism enhances economic growth by driving foreign exchange reserves, investments in new infrastructures, human capital and creates a competitive environment. Through these chainlike reactions tourism promotes industrial development which creates jobs and further growing economic development.

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State of Tourism

Sustaining a healthy tourism sector and allowing your location's economic development to thrive has become much more difficult in these recent years. Since the pandemic started, the international tourism industry has been crushed by closed borders and increased travel restrictions. With health and safety measures vitalized by the vaccine mandate and isolation requirements, the tourism sector is now in recovery mode with domestic travel soaring and international travel climbing once again. Now is the time to stand out in attracting investment & talent, while rebuilding your tourism economies.

Many locations have started to leverage influencers such as celebrities, bloggers, journalists and thought-leaders to convey the message of your location as attractive by shaping perspective. This is an influence you cannot afford to dismiss and here’s why:

  • Boosting tourism, exposes your locations physical charm & entices first-hand investment
  • The domino-effect of driving hospitality sector opportunities due to increased demand
  • Location-Awareness, now instilled in the minds of a global reach of possible investors as a thriving location for their business

Dubai Presents by Dubai Tourism

Dubai has already started using this technique through the cinematic-styled trailers campaign “Dubai Presents” by Dubai Tourism which effectively promotes adventures and lifestyle in Dubai starring Hollywood actors Zac Efron and Jessica Alba. Chris Gallery, partner at Mother, said: "Dubai is a destination like no other. Our challenge was to create a campaign which allowed every aspect of it to shine. There isn't a single piece of content able to convey everything that Dubai has to offer; our solution, the Dubai Presents platform, is hard-wired to be flexible in showcasing Dubai as the ultimate destination." The campaign saw over 3,500 assets broadcast to audiences in 25 languages. Since the campaign launched in August 2021, tourism has seen accelerated recovery: 

“According to the latest data published by Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) international visitation to the city surpassed 3.4 million visitors in the fourth quarter of 2021, achieving 74 per cent of the total pre-pandemic tourist arrivals of Q4 2019”

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The Busan Metropolitan City and Busan Tourism Organization (BTO)

The Busan Metropolitan City and Busan Tourism Organization (BTO) released 4 promotional videos with the campaign  catchphrase; “Eyheymahamo” repeated throughout each video theme which means “Hey, don’t worry. You’re okay” - The campaign stars rapper “Mudd the Student” and showcases the charm of Busan to the global market. The videos were released on Feb 9th 2022 and each has since gathered over 6+ million views on YouTube. Busan Metropolitan City and BTO plan to also leverage other global influencers using TikTok and Weibo to project the campaign into trending status.

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These bold initiatives have accelerated growth and recovery of the tourism sector as a key driver of economic growth, proving the locations to be resilient in their recovery process through the pandemic.

Trade & Investment

Tourism is not the only sector that can be accelerated by influencers. Trade and Investment have potential gains here also as celebrities, journalists, site selectors etc have influence over a large key demographic through the combined strategies of investment promotion to shape the perception and the influencer to generate the buzz, this is a recipe for success.

Bono played a pivotal role along with IDA Ireland in persuading Google to move to Irish Shores. At the time of the expansion in 2004, Google created 200 jobs but now employs 2000 in Ireland. 

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How we can help

If you are interested in seeing how you might be able to leverage the power of influencers for global economic development learn more about our comprehensive database Wavteq Influencers - the only global intermediaries database with nearly 30,000 leading advisors related to corporate expansion and FDI. 


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