Airlines and tourist boards need to start working closer together for mutual benefit in route development.
Speaking at WTM London in a session entitled how destinations and airlines can work together to attract more business, easyJet UK country manager Ali Gayward said there are a number of benefits for tourist boards prepared to work with airlines.
She said the low cost carrier has top knowledge of its customers, from when they prefer to go on holiday to what they do when they get there.
Gayward added airlines like hers will also enjoy better rates with marketing and advertising agencies thanks to the economies of scale involved as they work so regularly with them.
“We can probably secure much better value for money than if you went independently to some of those agencies.”
Meanwhile, Jordan Tourism Board managing director Dr Abed Razzaq Arabiyat said government-backed tourist boards are normally well placed to help drive policy in order to attract more tourists.
He supplied the example of Jordan’s own travails when he first tried to start working with easyJet, only to discover the airline was unimpressed by a $60 departure tax, $60 visa bill and around $35 per head being passed on to each passenger in airport charges.
However, once he started tackling the charges, the airline became much more amenable to working with the destination.
Dr Arabiyat added any European destination looking to boost air connectivity must be prepared to work with the low cost carriers as 90% of Europeans use the airlines for tourism travel.
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol head of aviation marketing Maaike van der Windt added airports also had a vital role to play in a destination’s success.
She added a partnership with KLM and Holland’s marketing board targeting the US saw more than 1 million Amercians visit the country in 2015, the biggest amount in 10 years.