Cultural Attractions Should Not Be Overlooked

Travel advisors can show their expertise by adding local culture to every itinerary By: Kenneth Shapiro
Shapiro // © 2018 TravelAge West
Shapiro // © 2018 TravelAge West

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I recently had dinner with a family who just got back from their first trip to Mexico. They told me that a highlight of their vacation in Los Cabos was when they got away from the crowds of tourists and wandered over to the small town of Miraflores. They had a delicious lunch at a restaurant run by a Mexican family, and the owner told them about a hidden waterfall that only locals know about. My friends said they spent an amazing afternoon at this secret spot, feeling like they found their own slice of paradise.

This anecdote highlights many of the themes you can read about in this issue’s cover story, “Mexico’s Experiential Kaleidoscope” (page 12). Travelers cherish unique experiences that expose them to authentic local culture. Even with resorts and destinations adding all sorts of bells and whistles, sometimes it’s a simple human connection that makes the greatest impact. And Mexico is loaded with opportunities for these kinds of interactions.

As John Spence, president of tour operator Scott Dunn USA, says in the cover story, Mexico’s small towns often provide the best settings for making memories.

“What we’re finding is that what’s drawing people in aren’t the classic tourist towns, but magical, authentic villages,” he said.

Whether you have clients going to Mexico or somewhere else, it’s important to look for ways to provide meaningful local experiences. In many places, you can arrange for clients to have dinner with a family, go on a walking tour with a volunteer guide or have a driver take them out of the tourist center for a day.

Itineraries that include these types of activities show clients that you are looking out for their best interests when designing a trip — you understand a vacation is more than just the logistics of getting there, putting heads in beds and returning home.

A well-rounded trip will combine relaxation, personal growth, excitement and exposure to local culture. Travel advisors who consider all these aspects will best demonstrate their value and expertise to clients and have more successful relationships as they plan future vacations.

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