Sabine Lehmann, Director of the global future travel consultancy Curiositas, is the author of the report “Global Research Study: Leveraging the New7Wonders”. In an exclusive interview with Visit7Wonders she gives her views of the international research report that shows the impact New7Wonders has on tourism growth worldwide.
- What do you think are the main highlights of this report about the 7 Wonders?
“The report revealed some interesting information to me, since I looked at all New 7 Wonders sites, both man-made and natural. On average, global tourism increased by 50% during the period that I was researching and most of the New7Wonders sites beat that number and had a far bigger increase and that was for international and local tourism”.
“…global tourism increased by 50% during the period that I was researching and most of the New7Wonders sites beat that number and had a far bigger increase”
“The other thing that I found of interest is that all these years later, bear in mind that New 7 Wonders of Nature is now almost 10 years, is that the accolade still has great legitimacy and value amongst tourists international and local, and amongst operators.”
- What made you and your team want to conduct this research?
“We have a New 7 Wonder of Nature site in Cape Town South Africa, Table Mountain. It is an open access park, so we can’t easily count the visitors’ numbers, but we have a cableway that goes to the top of Table Mountain and those numbers have increased phenomenally for the past 10 years. So, I thought it would be interesting to see whether the same happened in other sites.”
- Could you explain to us what does the Wonder Effect mean?
“The Wonder Effect can really be explained that the New7Wonders sites all have increased visibility from a tourism point of view, in terms of its iconicity and that it has ongoing legitimacy and that most importantly, they all had increased in visitors’ numbers.
The New7Wonders accolade is not a status lap that you have to pay money for it every year, once you achieve the accolade it doesn’t cost you anything to remain a New7Wonder which is very rare in the modern world and equally it is in perpetuity, is forever and can never be taken away”
- About these huge numbers, and this huge increase in visitors. Do you know if there are some crucial initiatives or some points that helped the marketing strategy for these Wonders?
“I believe that is the Wonders Effect itself, as I said, it confers iconicity and it automatically puts you on a bucket list, so it’s more that than anything else.”
“The 14 sites each marks themselves quite differently and very few of them surprisingly enough, actually spoke about the other 7 wonders that were in that category and think that’s a missed opportunity”
- What are some tips you would give for people representing the Wonders of the World and Nature that want to boost tourism, maybe using their Wonder as a brand?
“So, I think what is interesting for the post-covid world is that many sites will be looking at domestic as the main driver for tourism, and I think that from a domestic point of view, the power of the New7Wonders bucket list is very powerful. I mean everybody wants to see something this amazing and this powerful and to have one in your own backyard is an amazing opportunity for those 14 countries that are lucky to have a New 7 Wonder.”
“everybody wants to see something this amazing and this powerful and to have one in your own backyard is an amazing opportunity for those 14 countries”
“Also, what I found interesting is that during the nomination process, there was a huge amount of citizen engagement because citizens had to vote for your site, making them proud of their country, so there is an opportunity to reignite that story and it should be reignited because that is a wonderful story.”
- What do you think about the global tourism scenario after the coronavirus pandemic? Are there any new aspects or tips that Wonders should consider, apart from those you mention before, regarding this “new normality”?
“We don’t quite know what the new normal is going to look like, because I think it’s emerging but we know that what travel was in 2019 won’t come back in the same form. However, there needs to be a reconnection between tourism and citizens, and now that this been taken away we can see its value and perhaps we can take the opportunity to rebuilt tourism in a way that it is authentic, that it is local, that it is sustainable in all of its forms, and really we can start with these Wonder sites.”
Edited excerpts from the interview with Sabine Lehmann, CEO Curiositas – Global research study shows the power of the New 7 Wonders