Monday, May 05, 2014

#2 – Really?

I may not be fair that travel and tourism is compared with true industries in the Harris Poll’s annual reputational ratings.

Tourism is actually considered a sector or cluster of six or seven industries that have customers in common.  Since several of these are listed separately, there must be more to the story.

But it is truly impressive that it ranks #2 right behind technology with only a few businesses ranked in the top 20 or 30, if you don’t count secondary suppliers.

More than that, it is amazing the general public isn’t nailing travel and tourism overall for the logistical hassle it is to travel, billboard blight along highways, communities that have sold their sole to be “Anywhere USA” and the crushing experience of mega-hotels and mega-cruise ships not to mention public health concerns.

The poll ranks on the basis of perceptions related to social responsibility, emotional appeal, visionary leadership, financial performance, workplace environment and products and service.2014 Harris Reputational Poll

For anyone new to the “Triple Bottom Line,” it is clearly incorporated.

Significant for travel and tourism is that  positive ratings hovered just above 50% a couple of years ago.

More to the point that Harris must use a bifurcated notion of travel and tourism when it clusters the results by so-called “industry,” is that this year the positive ratings rest at 59% for retail (the activity with most tourist participation) and 34% for airlines.

Clearly travel and tourism taken as a whole would likely fall several places lower on the list.

Making every industry or sector feel good is that they aren’t government, which receives on 13% positive.  But of course that is more a reflection of the constant flood of pejoratives perpetuated by the Republican Party in general and special interest lobbies for these industries.

Lost now on the public is that without roads, bridges, airports, forests, parks, wildlife refuges, urban forest preservation, ordinances that reduce blight, litter cleanup including rivers and streams, water, curbs on air pollution, solid waste removal, consumer protection, community and destination marketing and dozens of other things facilitated by government…

Well, there would not only be little or no travel and tourism but very little reputation left for any of these industries to coattail.

In fact, blinded by hubris and egged on by partisan extremists, this is lost on much of corporate America as well, many who argue that government provides these benefits only through transfers called taxes.

My response is “and your point is?”  Clearly for all of its merits, the market is not capable or incentivized enough to provide these benefits on its own and “TBLers” understand that.

The poll also shows that this is also not lost on an increasingly discerning public.

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