27 Aug /13

Friendly and Attentive – In Any Language

tourism translationsA quarter century ago, hotels outside the most popular US travel destinations (New York, Las Vegas, and Orlando) didn’t have to worry about making an extra effort to attract and accommodate foreign travelers. The majority of their visitors came from the lower 48. But things have changed. Air travel is affordable and middle class families from around the globe are finally able to travel to and vacation in the United States. Traditionally, the American tourism industry has been geared towards travelers from Europe. Tourists from Canada, Great Britain, Germany, France, Spain, and Italy made up the majority of foreign visitors for decades. Nowadays, visitor numbers from Europe are declining and instead ever growing numbers of tourists from Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East are forcing the industry to reexamine its ability to service a diverse customer base.

In 2010, foreign travel to the United States increased by 9% year over year to approximately 60 million people, and the collective economic impact of all these travelers was $1.34 trillion. With the additional measures that are being taken and implemented to streamline the travel visa process, these numbers can only be expected to increase even further in the future. With immense financial benefits at stake, how can the tourism industry best position itself to capitalize on the ever-increasing wave of foreign visitors from every corner of the planet?

Regardless of how the issue is examined, the plain truth is that nobody wants to stay in a place where they feel that their needs aren’t being properly met. The tourism industry’s response to that desire seems to be to create a sense of familiarity for their clients. This mimetic approach sometimes takes on eccentric forms from time to time. Some resorts

  • set out bowls of oranges and tangerines, which, in the Chinese culture, symbolize wealth and good luck.
  • equip their rooms with a prayer mat, compass, and a copy of the Koran for Muslim travelers.
  • adjust their menu offerings to address religiously motivated dietary restrictions (Hindu/Kosher/Halal).
  • offer global satellite programming and provide daily newspapers from foreign sources, such as the China Daily.

Yes, these subtle changes can make a difference and have an impact on travelers. However, there are few things that can more actively impact visitors while simultaneously help them to explore their surroundings in an active fashion. Multi-lingual hotel staff and tour guides can provide the comfort of the visitors’ native language and the ability to experience a foreign country.

How then can U.S. resorts implement multi-lingual tourism? A first step might be to consult with a professional interpretation company that can offer a breadth of linguistic and cultural services that range from employee training to individualized tours for clients.

EVS Translations is an international translation company with offices around the world and an in-house team of over 100 employees. We are not only a provider of translations in more than 50 languages but also a top choice for tourism translations. Our team of travel and tourism expert translators and project managers will help you connect with and best meet the needs of your international guests and customers.