The Experience Economy: Travel & Happiness


Imtiaz Muqbil publishes Travel Impact Newswire. The latest issue re-applies the concept of the Experience Economy from the book by B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore, combines it with Bhutan's Gross National Happiness concept, and predicts a resurgence of interest in this approach following the International Conference on “Happiness and Public Policy” organized by the Public Policy Development Office (PPDO) of the Thai government.

As with all such optimism the key question remains, "Is the model inclusive at its core? Has the policy design process been permeated by the seven principles of Universal Design?"

Muqbil notes:

The new pursuit of happiness also has implications for national tourism organisations. Measuring the “success” of travel & tourism has been entirely based on statistical indicators, such as visitor arrivals, economic impact, investment and job creation. That, too, could become a thing of the past. Measuring the happiness level of satisfied tourists after visiting a destination could become a complementary means of measurement, one that would be far less at the mercy of an accounting process and far more within the control of the host destinations themselves.

At the macro level, having agreed that existing lifestyles and economic and business models are unsustainable, the next step has been to decide how to expand the “happiness” campaign by making it part of public policy. This is a whole new ball game. A “policy” needs to be backed by some kind of indicator, a formula for tracking progress from problem to solution. That’s where much of the discussion is ensuing.

Related Reading:

Jim Dator on the Future of Tourism

Conference Papers

3rd International Conference on Gross National Happiness

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