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Challenge your digital self-learning skills: become a visual designer

Digital self-learning skills are very important in different tourism sub-sectors and go hand in hand with the different skill sets that the Next Tourism Generation (NTG) Alliance focuses on. Based on the NTG interview research outcomes, self-learning is ‘a must’ when it comes to being employed in the tourism industry. This also implies that life-long learning is high on the priority list of employers, as given our fast-changing society; employees need to develop continuously their knowledge on different levels. Especially when it comes to working with different online tools and programs, employees are often expected to learn how to work with and effectively implement them where necessary. In this blog, the importance of visualized marketing in travel and a self-learning tool called CANVA that can be implemented in all sub-sectors is highlighted.

Visual marketing


In order to communicate one’s brand online, visual marketing has been ‘the big thing’ for a few years now and will continue to grow in the future. Hubspot wrote an interesting blog, that including visual representation, on the importance of integrating visual content in your marketing campaigns.

In the fast-changing world, we are living in right now, the content that you produce and share has to be outstanding in order to be picked up by your audiences. Visual content seems to work best because it can be processed faster by the brain compared to text. Also, visuals enhance the understandability of the context and tend to generate more views because of their shareability and likability, albeit this is dependent on the quality of the visualized content.


Figure 1: Visualization of content (Kusinitz, 2017)


Visualization in travel: 1 photo is worth more than a 1000 words


Tourism and hospitality businesses are offering products and services in a highly competitive market. In order to stand out from the crowd, their marketing efforts should be on point and differentiated. According to Manoukian (2019), successful visualization of travel and hospitality can inspire the potential customer and have an influence on the length of stay in a specific destination. Furthermore, if done right, a whole story can be represented in a visual representation.


Learning by doing: CANVA


Often design skills are a requirement in marketing vacancies, for example, superior skills in Photoshop or InDesign. However, nowadays there are many online programs and tools to enable everyone to become a designer. Guy Kawaski, former chief evangelist of Apple, has joined CANVA in order to help it grow internationally. He wants to show the world that everyone can become an online content designer with an easy-to-use tool. CANVA is a typical ‘self-learning’ free tool, meaning that the program explains itself. First, the program offers many different templates for inspiration. The options are endless; designs range from product labels, coupons to Facebook event covers and Instagram stories. In this way, CANVA is the perfect tool to work with when creating different types of online content as it fits all kinds of purposes.

With the use of (a lot of) free elements such as stock photos, icons and graphs, anyone can easily create sharable content that is one of the main goals of the tool. No expensive designer has to be hired; instead, someone who is willing to learn by him or herself can play around with the tons of possibilities in the program and create something with the help of given templates and examples.

CANVA even offers ‘Travel Brochure Templates’:

Figure 2: Screenshot CANVA Travel Brochure Template (2019)

NTG project use of CANVA


The Next Tourism Generation (NTG) project uses the platform to create visually attractive content for its end users. The project has generated many big research papers (20+ pages) but the most important insights are filtered out by the NTG communications team and graphically represented in designs from CANVA.

One of the main NTG activities is to share research outputs with stakeholders. The outputs provide valuable tourism-related data collected by desk and field research with representatives of the European tourism industry. Large documents are being produced and shared on the NTG website but in order to add extra value to this research, visualized content is also being produced to promote dissemination. For the desk research, an extensive infographic with the most striking results has been created to present the main outcomes that apply to the European tourism industry.


“Businesses that publish infographics raise their website traffic an average of 12% more than those that don’t”

According to Siricharoen (2013).


The field research interviews and surveys have also been published in documents but the most insightful quotes from the interviews have been collected and presented in a visualized presentation for each European partner country.


Figure 2Green skills quote – NTG field research


Self-learning in Higher Education


Breda University of Applied Sciences stimulates the process of self-learning. As explained in the NTG blog “E-Lab, an experimental tourism lab for students, first-year students start developing their digital skills early on by working on tourism-related case studies. For example, researching the social media efforts of tourism businesses and processing this data in an infographic. In Breda, students start exploring the endless possibilities of different online tools that stimulate self-learning such as Google Analytics, CANVA, MailChimp and WordPress. The NTG project is defining and mapping the digital, green and social skillsets needed in tourism in the future based on extensive project research. This will assist Breda University of Applied Sciences to add needed skills to its E-Lab structure and other modules i.e. teach our future tourism employees how to respond to fast-changing and increasing digital, green and social skills sets and learn them effectively.


Are you already using some self-learning tools like CANVA? Let us know so we can all learn from eachother!


Follow the efforts of the Next Tourism Generation via our website, Facebook, Twitter | #NTGskillsalliance or via LinkedIn



Kusinitz, S. (2017). 12 Reasons to Integrate Visual Content Into Your Marketing Campaigns [infographic]. Retrieved from: https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/visual-content-marketing-infographic

Manoukian, J. (2019). Visual Marketing for Travel Brands: Definition, Types And Best Practices. Retrieved from: https://crowdriff.com/resources/blog/visual-marketing

Siricharoen, W. (2013). Infographics: The New Communication Tools in Digital Age.




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