What’s the main draw for you to tour any place?
In my honest opinion, hospitality has been the central pillar of tourism even before the term was derived.
It is about helping people feel welcomed and relaxed. The place should be inviting enough for the tourists for confirming the plans.
You can simply call it the combination of four essential components, i.e., Accommodation, Transportation, Food and Beverages (F&B), and Recreational and Entertainment.
While I understand the distributed impact of these elements on tourism, F & B is having the ultimate effect as a global trend lately.
In a tweet by the World Tourism Organization, it was reported that 88.2% of survey respondents consider gastronomy as a defining element for fixing the destination.
If you don’t believe me, you can explore the importance of F&B tourism through one of the oldest chocolate making companies, i.e., The Hershey Company.
The Hershey Company in Smiths Falls (Canada) represents one of the use cases of innovative F&B techniques which can establish and boost up the economy of the place.
Apart from being the biggest employer of the town, it was the first company to arrange visitors event and gathering. It almost spanned for 50 years and right through its entirety, millions of people stepped in Smiths Falls to see their favorite chocolate bars getting made. The next level of tourism extremity was touched by painting the water tower of the town in the dark red paint which read “Smiths Falls— The Chocolate Capital of Ontario.”
The Key Takeaway: Chocolates were the phenomenon back then. While industrialists spent millions in establishing industries, The Hersheys made minor and necessary adjustments— made people visit its beautiful set up by organizing a variety of events and serving them chocolates in the various forms. It increased the sale, boosted the economy of the place, and lay down the tone for tourism.
Unfortunately, the company decided to shift its operation to Mexico in the year 2008. Long since then, the town has faced declination in its tourism industry and employment of course.
End of tourism in Smiths Falls?
After Hershey’s close up, the people of Smiths Falls had battled hard to regain the lost glory of tourism until the largest marijuana-producing company in the country held the baton— Tweed.
Now, in less than a decade, Smiths Falls has seen a smooth transition from de facto chocolate capital to cannabis capital. Coincidently, Tweed managed to operate its plant from the same grounds of Hershey’s.
Tweed along with the help of the local government is making Smiths Falls a must-stop destination for the tourists. It gives rise to the term marijuana tourism.
Over the years, people have heard about marijuana, but have little or no knowledge about the substance. Tweed is playing on people’s curiosity to drive traffic into the town.
Inspired by Hershey’s techniques, Tweed arranges the comprehensive tours on the same plot where tourists can check plants growing, processing environment, and packaging at the granular level, and end up getting informed about its impact on the human body, etc.
The fall in the economic fortune has made Smiths Falls a pot-centered economy, and its economy is expected to get back to the table by the next decade.
Colorado, the next-pot destination
Like Smiths Falls, the areas with pot-legalization have seen a significant hike in tourism. Colorado is another crucial state which is defining the pot tourism in the United States after the marijuana legalization.
We can dissect Colorado cannabis tourism into intense statics in favor of surging tourism.
It has been fours year since Colorado legalized marijuana (in 2014), and since then, tourism has racked up by 51%.
The report by the state’s department of revenue states that marijuana tourism has attracted 6.5 million pot-loving tourists in 2016 alone. The numbers are estimated to magnify by 6% in 2017 and will cross the previous year bar or at least match it.
Colorado has also seen a mammoth turnover of the marijuana industry which has almost crossed $5.6 bn marks in just four years (till Sept 2018).
Local adjustments for attracting tourists
While the restriction over the use of marijuana still holds in the majority of the United States, the legal localities are applying unique methods to attract more tourists.
They are giving reasons to stay in the town by organizing a lot of festivities and fun involving the cannabis.
The restaurants have special meal-courses with “not so ordinary pre-dinner chitchats with the customers.” These chitchats are about adding the total amount of marijuana in their meals.
Over the years, the private dinners infused with cannabis have surged, and people are getting access to the legal marijuana right through their foods. Cannabis infused Sushis have already appealed the gourmets and opened the door for many cannabis infusion chefs in the world. Cannabis infused beers are another exciting entry in the beverage sector of marijuana tourism.
As mentioned above (in the case of Tweed), the cannabis industry tour is another super way to educate people and deepen their breadth of knowledge about the cannabis. In the United States, California, Oregon, Colorado, Massachusetts, and Washington are just a few of the states currently managing cannabis tours.
As the competition quickly hits the chart, the pot-making companies are opening up the “green gateways” for the tourists.
Recreational activities revolving around the cannabis are also an all-time high. Social influencers are orchestrating concerts in a pro-stance to the cannabis tourism, official ads are getting displayed under the sobriquet “marijuana calling,” and the whole industry is trying unique ways to get tourists on board.
As people have started to consider cannabis in a holistic sense of living by adding them to their diets, lifestyle, and medication, the cannabis tourism industry gives them a reason and chance to discover how cannabis can better their lives.
Obstacles to overcome
Although the cannabis industry is rapidly expanding, nothing has happened overnight. It has faced centuries of stigmas, and the stain is dark.
Despite its legality, few of the state governments have stayed away from addressing the pot tourism. It automatically makes it a private affair, thus giving rise to private dinners and gathering.
Few states only allow private properties and/or residences (with exceptions) for marijuana dinners, while others choose entirely to opt out of it.
Unless the authorities promote the marijuana tourism upfront, the people (and the tourists) indulging in such affairs could feel threatened subconsciously, leading to half-hearted attachment with cannabis.
Also, not all tourists know about the private dinners and venues. It significantly affects the growth-scope. Provincial or Federal tourism agencies have little or no information about cannabis tourism, and have no preparation for the influx.
The government got to give the minute details like “permissible quantity” because that could affect someone’s life. The tourists should have the idea of legality from the point of departure to where they are reaching (Point A to Point B), the legal purchase sources, where they can enjoy it, etc.
There might be a change in the approach by the authorities because the economic impact of marijuana is gigantic, and is expected to rise by 223% in the year 2022 in comparison to 2017. A lot of political influencers have been vocal about the cannabis industry, and a little change in their strategies could mean a lot to the tourism niche.
With the budding cannabis entrepreneurs and their fantastic ideas, the industry is expected to blossom in most sweetly manner.
You may see a variety of cannabis niche tourism products in the future, and as the competition heats up, the public-private partnership between the government and entrepreneurs could mean the perfect fit for marijuana tourism.
How do you see cannabis tourism in your life? Do you think it has reached the threshold, and your support could do the rest of boosting? Also, let us know about the approach of your locality in building cannabis-tourism. We’d love featuring interesting entries and strategies so that our audience understands the vitality of pot-tourism.