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These tourism websites still have improvement to make in terms of featuring real-time social activity and reaching visitors on mobile. But their design sense is right on and should be an example to destinations still stuck in the era of online brochures.
Websites created by destination marketing organizations are some of the more underused resources in travel today.
Our recent analysis of the 50 most visited U.S. tourism websites found that no site had more than 570,000 visitors in October. And the most time spent on a site was five minutes, which was far longer than the average.
However, these sites are packed with logistical information like how to use public transit to get from an airport to city center, tourism resources like the opening hours to a city’s most famous museum, and beautiful imagery.
Tourism sites have matured over the past few years to add social data and offer mobile tools. They’ve also become more beautiful. We searched through hundreds of tourism websites for countries, states, and cities to produce this list of the 20 best designed sites.
Common Content Formats
Two content formats are used on the majority of the tourism websites that we examined. One is very content heavy with boxed units or text that allow users to discover new activities serendipitously.
The other content format is more visual and has visitors pick or search for what types of activities they are interested in before bringing them to a new page with related content related to that interest.
Two design trends emerged from the list of 20 sites.
One is a highly visual story that’s told in segments as a visitor scrolls down on the home page. The bottom is always a call to action in form of packages or booking links. Tourism Malaysia and Visit Brasil excel at this style.
The other design trend we’ve seen is the placement of strong visuals on the first section of the first page seen by a visitor. Almost all websites employ this technique, but Go To Hungary is the most extreme example. The home page does not scroll and features one woman as the permanent background image.
With the rise of mobile usage, especially among travelers, It’s very important for the websites, or a complimentary app, to be accessible on mobile devices. Eleven of these 20 featured sites have responsive websites.
Click through the slideshow above to see the 20 most visually stunning sites in tourism worldwide. The 20 featured tourism organizations are also listed below. The websites are not listed in any particular order.
- Visit Finland
- Visit Greenland
- Tourism Ireland
- Travel Belize
- Massachusetts Tourism
- Discover Los Angeles
- Visit Stockholm
- Visit Brasil
- LoveWall section of VisitBritain.com
- Visit Florida
- Visit Skane
- Visit Norway
- Travel Oregon
- Tourism Malaysia
- Philippines Tourism
- Tourism New Zealand
- Tennesee Vacation
- Visit DC