The Magnetic Power of Animals

Emotion sells – this formula works very successfully in the tourism business, too

Снимка: Pixabay

There are different types of tourism: historical, cultural, medical, wine, festival, pilgrimage. Recently, the emergence of a new form in which animals are the attractive force for tourists is observed. They are not in a zoo and in most cases are part of the natural environment of the settlement. Everything is a matter of marketing, but most often before that, chance has intervened. And local people have taken advantage of this chance.

Cat’s Paradise

Cats are the real stars of the Taiwanese village of Houtong. They are the ones who provide living to the people since tourists from all over the world come here because of them. In this village, cats are everywhere and walk freely around the streets and public areas, they are the new symbol of the village. The story goes as follows: At the beginning of the last century, Houtong was known as one of the most developed places on the island because of its mining industry, which was the main activity there. The settlement had been prosperous and had had about 6,000 inhabitants, but that was before the mine ceased its activity in the 1990s. Then, the people of working age left to look for a means of living, while Houtong remained with only 100 inhabitants. In 2010, however, a blogger and photographer who was a fan of cats started publishing materials and photos of the village where there was a huge population of street cats. Houtong attracted the attention of tourists who loved cats, and so, the situation changed for the settlement. Local people did not lose this gift of fate. They made a special pedestrian bridge dedicated to cats. Metal tiles with cats’ paws as a main motif were embedded on the streets. In addition to the many shops and cafés where the lovely pets were the main character, local authorities also showed fragments of the history of Houtong. In 2010, a museum was opened that revived the former miners’ fame of the village, and in 2012 a Festival of Lanterns started being held, which was once again dedicated to cats. In 2014, an information centre with a focus on cats was also opened. Thus, the village ensured a flow of over 1 million tourists per year. In return, the animals receive not only food but also adequate medical care.

In Antalya, a village for cats with houses, hammocks and playgrounds was built. The initiators of the idea were people from the Association for the Protection of Street Animals. The settlement is already a hit among the local population and attracts a lot of visitors.

Dogs Are Also Honoured

Hotels in the UK’s overseas territories, the Turks and Caicos Islands, attract tourists by offering white sands, emerald waters and the company of little dogs. The formula is clearly profitable, as this destination has recently noted a record-breaking number of visits. Tourists are offered the company of puppies, which were recently rescued by local volunteers and friends of animals. Everyone can play freely with the four-legged pets, and even adopt them. An entrepreneurial woman has created a centre for stray dogs where about 500 new animals are received each year. Convinced of how strong a relationship can be established between the man and his best friend – the dog, she has prepared walking routes along the beaches. Tourists were immediately attracted by the opportunity to be in such a company. The people who want to take this opportunity are so many now that there are long queues in front of this centre every day. However, tourists are warned that the walk should be beneficial to both them and the dog.

Festivals

Animals are permanently present in the mythology and the fairy tales of every nation. They represent different human qualities. The worship of different animals was an important part of the spiritual life of many peoples. Today, in countries like India and Thailand, some animals are traditionally considered sacred. The images of animals are included as a key element in many kinds of religious ceremonies. The elephant is a sacred animal for the Indians and has always had an important place in their lives. Each year in India, in its honour, a festival is held that coincides with the Holi Festival. At that time, the whole country sings and dances. On this day, the elephants are decorated with silk and gilt, their bodies are painted with colourful paints and their tusks are decorated with jewels. The Camel Festival in Rajasthan, India, is another tourist attraction. Each year, a large three-day cattle market is organized there. At the end, there is a contest, on which camels walk before the viewers, decorated and dressed festively. Among them, the most beautiful one is chosen which brings many awards for its owner. The Thai city of Lopburi also hosts a Monkey Festival, during which, traditionally the monkeys are generously treated with fruits. Thus, people show their gratitude to them for attracting tourists to their city.

Buffalos near Elena

Foreigners arrive in Elena, attracted by the opportunity to take a picture with buffaloes on a farm located in the picturesque Kilazhevtsi neighbourhood. And the bravest ones even try to milk the huge animals on their own. Englishmen, Swedes, Germans, Frenchmen and Japanese travel thousands of miles to see a living buffalo. Tourists arrive in the farm with the purpose of tasting the dairy products it produces, and more and more requests are made for trying the bio delicacies. This buffalo farm is the only one in the region and is one of the few in Bulgaria.

These examples show that animals can be tourists’ best friends. As long as the right formula is found and people do everything in their power to develop an attractive tourist product. Did we miss the chance to attract tourists in Sofia with the stray dogs, which until recently we considered as a mass problem? And we are supposed to know that each problem hides opportunities...



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Етикети: tourism | Animals | Cats | Dogs | Elephants | Buffalos | Elena | Kilazhevtsi

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