10 unexplored places for hospitality entrepreneurs

EHL Students - Bachelor | 20 Jun, 2016

Throughout history, hospitality has been strongly appraised by humanity for its warmhearted nature. In ancient times, it was restricted to the basic protection and care of an alien in need. Eventually, it was extended to our responsibility to shape harmonious environments, which are inclusive of different cultural communities. Today, several countries have completely opened their doors to travelers from different backgrounds, recognizing that hospitality and tourism are main drivers for growth and development.

Governments are encouraging young entrepreneurs to continue the proliferation of hospitality attractions. Prospects are great for start-ups. However, success is not a given. The competitive dynamics of the industry have resulted in travelers demanding strongly customized and unique experiences. It is not enough to be the best hotelier anymore, alternately, the jobs in the industry are becoming diversified and specialized.

Unknown places certainly have an intriguing and mysterious nature. With improved relations and relaxed travel restrictions, these two destinations with their unique landscapes, preserved architecture and particular flair, have the potential to re-emerge in the hospitality market as “must-visit” destinations of 2016. The temporal “closure” of Iran and Cuba enabled them to stay spared from mass tourism and outside the consolidation of large hotel chains, which often fade away the particular trademarks of a culture. Today, these destinations are probably among the few that promise some of the last authentic experiences that travelers crave to find.

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Across the United States, people started a trend sharing accommodation, cars, tools, kitchens, office spaces, bicycles, and even food with strangers. The sharing economy is an innovative business model that is leading the hospitality industry with some of the largest service providers such as Uber, Airbnb, Opentable and Kickstarter. Portland and Seattle, labeled for their hipster, tech-savy inhabitants, will not risk a chance to push creativity into the next level, specially when it means creating community and sustainability.

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Eco-tourists are demanding much more than recycling systems, reduced towel change or light saving bulbs. Certainly, many countries offer a variety of ecological activities, but only a few preserve more intimate interaction with the earth. Costa Rica and Palau contribute to traveler’s health and wellness in new ways. Rather than pampering with superficial spa treatments, tourism fosters exercises for the body and soul in natural contexts. Monte Verde and Santa Elena aim to engage tourists into outdoor sustainable activities ranging from trekkings in rainforest and river rapids to discovery of coffee plantations and wildlife refugees. Palau is a world under water that fosters connection with an array on natural wonders, and they have a strong commitment to repopulate endangered species, maintain unspoiled beaches and no-fishing zones.

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Technology friendly cities are saving costs and time to their inhabitants, driving profitability and innovation across different industries. Digitally empowered Millenials are looking for personalized services in their travel experiences that include communication, planning and execution in diversified electronic platforms. Ranked as the top destination for digital nomads, Chiang Mai in Thailand offers culturally vibrant, relaxed, fresh, cheap, accessible and delicious opportunities for tech-savy youngsters. With one of the most digitalized businesses, Tallin in Estonia, although small, is globally interconnected and owns a deep pool of technical Estonian talent. By featuring the first e-residences, the government encourages foreigners to create a start-up without even having to move there.

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With celebrity chefs becoming the new rock stars and people raising concern for the nutritious value of food, many travel decisions are based on culinary hubs. Baja California has gone from a virtual dead zone to one of the globe’s top food and drink destinations. Less known for their diversity than other regions in Mexico, Baja’s burgeoning wine country, craft beers, fresh sea-products and locally grown foods are attracting more entrepreneurs to jump in gastronomic landscape. In the meantime, South Africa is getting popular for a new type of safaris: gastronomic ones. Franschhoek, just outside Cape Town, is a preferred getaway for gourmands. Thousands of tourists are heading to this destination eager to discover South African delicious proposals in 5 star restaurants, farm visits, olive groves and wine tasting areas.

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Author: Ana Sofía Acuña - EHL Bachelor Student 

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