Innovations & Creativity Shaping New Opportunities 

Sharing innovations in the visitor economy.

Tourism, hospitality and events have been hit hard and the recovery is going to be long. Recently I recently at an industry forum where we shared how some of the challenges were being overcome.

There is no doubt the competition to attract the domestic visitor will be the most competitive we have ever experienced and some clever planning, deeper expression of the product and considered messaging will be required to restore traveller confidence. 

There are some great examples of forward thinking, both locally and further afield. In regional Victoria the Daylesford community was encouraged to pre-purchase Erlicheer daffodil bulbs to plant outside homes, and 15,000 daffodils are expected to flower this spring as a reminder of community unity and strength throughout the pandemic. "The idea is come this spring, if things are better, everyone can enjoy the flowers. "If not, then the next year they will be flowering again at the same time and we can look back and say 'we have come through it'.1

Inspiration from Melbourne chef Ben Shewry 

A recent article described the staff room of Attica 2.0, which has evolved from hosting the world’s most devoted foodies to delivering lasagnas, selling elaborate cakes, making emergency soup for unemployed overseas workers, hosting Instagram demonstrations, new merchandise range and more.

In April Ben Shewry launched the Attica Soup Project with food journalist (and Good Weekend contributor) Dani Valent, using funds raised from the sale of a $25 chicken broth on the delivery menu to provide free meals for overseas hospitality workers on temporary visas. “It’s about connecting people to get a good result for somebody who needs a leg-up,” Shewry says.2 

Ben and many other restaurateurs have shown incredible resilience and the ability to deliver their offering in new and innovative ways during COVID, supporting their loyal staff and keeping their brands alive.

New York

Across the city, 76 streets and nine pedestrian plazas have shut down for weekend outdoor dining, and over 9,500 restaurants have applied and been approved for expedited outdoor dining permits this summer. Restaurateurs say the program has helped generate sales, although for many it only brings in a fraction of normal revenue. Outdoor dining in the city is currently slated to end October 31 — although it will be back next summer — and the city has not indicated yet whether restaurants will be allowed to open for indoor dining over the winter. 3 


Central London will also be transformed into a continental-style outdoor dining area under plans to keep bars and restaurants in business. The British government recently announced that it would foot 50% of the bill for diners and pub-goers during August as part of an effort to boost the economy after months of coronavirus lockdown. 4

San Francisco 

An innovation in San Francisco that has gone viral is simply painted circles at San Francisco's Dolores Park to encourage social distance gatherings. They were installed ahead of Memorial Day weekend, a busy time for public parks. The images were soon shared all over the country and internationally, even inspiring a New York Times Opinion piece. Many others have used this as an example for best practice when it comes to managing the outdoor crowds that come with summer weather.

World’s Best Restaurant Noma Reopens as a Cheeseburger Joint

Chef Rene Redzepi launched a new business model for the coronavirus pandemic, albeit temporarily. Post restrictions, Copenhagen’s Noma opened as an outdoor bar and burger place. While normally you would need to book months in advance, this gave locals an opportunity to participate in an internationally acclaimed restaurant 

The prices are accessible, too. A burger starts at 125 Danish kroner ($18.40) to take away, which might sound a lot outside Denmark but is in line with local costs and compares with 2,650 kroner for the usual menu of about 18 courses. (The burger is 150 kroner at the table.)

Bicycle Parking ‘Boxes’ meet increased use post lockdown 

Cities have been promoting the use of bicycles, with some even installing temporary bicycle lanes to create safer travel conditions. In response to the increased need for bicycle parking, Polish company Bike2Box have launched a modular bicycle parking box that transforms a standard car parking slot into a locker accommodating twelve bicycles.

On our own doorstep

Car parks will make way for footpaths and 12 kilometres of pop-up cycling lanes will be built to allow people to socially distance in Melbourne's city centre as COVID-19 restrictions start to ease. The move by Melbourne City Council follows the lead of cities such as Berlin and Milan, which are redrawing road markings to create more room for cyclists and pedestrians during the pandemic.

Bento-style, reusable takeaway containers made from bioplastic derived from by-products of the cacao industry

The global delivery and takeaway market was estimated to be worth around €46 billion a year, even before COVID-19. Now, as restaurants increasingly turn to takeaway models, there is new concern about single-use plastics. Instead, customers could pay a small fee for the use of the Zero containers, which could then be returned to the restaurant, washed, and reused, creating a circular model.

The airline industry plans their return and embrace data-driven decisions and new digital opportunities 

While the future of passenger demand remains uncertain, the airlines that take this time to plan their return and embrace data-driven decisions and new digital opportunities, will set themselves up to emerge stronger as we come out of the pandemic.

Customer experience is the sum of each micro-experience that consumers have with a company. Airlines are planning to work more closely with others in the travel industry to deliver a seamless experience, while ensuring customer safety. These partnerships – whether marketing or operations – can enable airlines, hotels, tour operators, and others to redefine the new normal for travel together and build stronger customer relationships.

Airline seats designed to protect from Coronavirus 

Italian aircraft design firm, Avio Interiors, has released two new seat concepts that are designed to reduce the spread of germs and could act as a permanent solution with flying after COVID-19.

The first separates passengers in the same row by reversing the middle seat to face the back of the plane, with a transparent guard wrapping around the sides and back of each seat. The second, adapts the existing seat design by installing transparent shield guards to each seat, isolating each passenger from the shoulders up.

A Virtual Tour of The Faroe Islands with remote controlled guides

A Danish territory has come up with a way to allow people around the world to take a self-guided tour of the archipelago. Camera-wearing locals will respond to sight-seeing commands from people at home, allowing virtual tourists to control their own route. The tours are available for an hour twice daily, at 2 pm and 5 pm (BST). Guides may be in kayaks, on horseback or hiking around the mountain villages.

Hotel turns rooms into a unique dining experience 

A Swedish hotel has opened their rooms as private dining spaces, allowing people to go out to eat while still maintaining social distancing. Instead of reserving a table in a restaurant, a group of diners is given an entire room with a table. Orders can be placed by phone, so they never have to leave the comfort of their room.

Tourism campaign evokes feelings of a long-distance romance 

To keep the city top of mind of those who will – eventually – be able to travel again, and using the theme of a long-distance romance, Cape Town Tourism has launched their “We Are Worth Waiting For!” campaign. “Postcards from Cape Town” will be posted all over Love Cape Town’s digital platforms, showing off the city’s natural beauty. People will be able to find inspiration for future travel through “pinnable” images on the official website that they can save on Pinterest. Lastly, a campaign video has been shared across all digital platforms to evoke the emotions of visiting Cape Town.5

Whether it is love letters or virtual tours with locals or dragging tables and chairs into the streets there are some promising signs of recovery and the launch of new products and experiences to be explored.  

It is going to be a long road and is also going to need new thinking, but I already see these green shoots and innovators showing us the way. 

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