Grumpy Group Organiser has his say on negative word association, more silly trends and the impact of a superstar.

Couple relax outside the Louvre in Paris

Sleep tourism is supposedly the next big trend.

Sleep tourism

Sleep tourism is a thing. No, really. A travel expert by the name of Laura Busby, who is also the commercial director of Good Travel Management, has added her ‘two-penneth’ by discussing why sleep tourism is not just a thing, it could be the next trend in business tourism. Well, why stop at business tourism? I love a good sleep. My wife has taken me for dead on dozens of occasions, only for me to start snoring (again) or to mutter something nonsensical while horizontal.

But clever expert, Laura reckons that “sleep tourism has taken the leisure tourism industry by storm with a predicted market value of $400 billion in the next four years”. She goes on to say: “In an environment where employee burnout is on the rise and the two most common mental health implications of business travel are exhaustion and stress, this wellness-backed trend seeks to prioritise self-care and sleep through advanced tech, AI and other traditional therapies.” So, to alleviate stress you should go on a business trip? No, Laura… to rid yourself of the strains of life you go on holiday.

Time for a ‘Swift’ one?

You may have read about The Black Dog pub in Vauxhall, London which has experienced a sensational surge in visits and been splashed across the national press and social media. At one point in April people around the world were searching for ‘The Black Dog’ on Google 909% more than the iconic Big Ben. They were also 1,250% more interested in finding out about this particular drinking establishment than about the London Eye.

Houses of Parliament and London Eye at dusk

The Black Dog pub has been searched for on Google more than the London Eye or Big Ben, thanks to a certain Taylor Swift.

The pub’s popularity is even more striking when compared to Tower Bridge or even Buckingham Palace. The Black Dog saw 1,429% more Google searches on 19th April than either of those two iconic UK attractions. The reason? The Taylor Swift effect. The Black Dog was mentioned in a song on the pop superstar’s latest album and ‘Swifties’, as her fans are called (I only know this as my granddaughter is one), were desperate for selfies outside the pub and to go in and sample its menu. Overnight success can happen it seems. Maybe one day Taylor will write a song about me.

Travel PR can be a tough gig

Let’s play a word association game. I’ll start with… Rwanda. Now admit it; you’re thinking boats and/or Rishi Sunak. I recently saw a promotion from Visit Rwanda, the country’s tourism association. There’s a tough gig if ever there was one.

Rwanda, Africa

Source: Visit Rwanda

Visit Rwanda argues that it’s ‘the land of a thousand hills.’

Here we have a country that hasn’t had the smoothest of histories, and the ongoing headlines about deporting migrants and asylum seekers there from the UK is the worst kind of publicity. Plus, the tourism body promotes it as ‘the land of a thousand hills’. What if you don’t like hills? I enjoy walking holidays but try to avoid steep inclines! I see the Visit Rwanda logo on the sleeves of the Arsenal football shirt; there’s a good enough reason not to visit right there.

So what did the recent Rwanda promotion I referenced tell me? It argues that the country is now a global leader in responsible tourism and community empowerment through dedicated conservation work and a range of ongoing initiatives. It says the creation of the responsible tourism industry has not only supported the environment, including Rwanda becoming the only country in the world with a growing mountain gorilla population, but it has also generated local jobs for the community. So, word association… Rwanda. Still thinking boats crossing the Channel? Me too. I guess some working in travel PR have a harder job than others.

The views expressed in this column are not necessarily the views of the publisher.