Product Development Guide for SME Tourism Businesses

A comprehensive study about the SAVE Tourism market was required to support SME’s in developing countries to prepare their travel product for the European market.

The Brief

Acorn was commissioned by the CBI, the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, to research and write a detailed study about SAVE Tourism (Scientific, Educational, Volunteering and Educational) and what factors local tour operators must observe when developing a SAVE travel product for the European market. 

Our Solution

This detailed report outlined a range of issues that are specific to the broader SAVE tourism segment.  It considered the mandatory and other requirements necessary to enter the sector, consideration for establishing SAVE projects and the end-market channels and consumer segments.  

The report highlighted how the SAVE market is dominated by young travellers who are keen on meaningful travel experiences.  Typically time-rich and cash poor, this group travels locally, stays locally and often make important economic and practical contributions to local communities.  Key issues were found to be:

  1. Projects aimed at the SAVE market should adhere to responsible tourism methods, and offer ethical volunteering.
  2. SAVE projects should meet a genuine social need and have a positive impact on protecting the environment.
  3. OTAs (online travel agents) are the most straightforward route to market for SAVE travel products and there are numerous operators working in the market. 

Working with children, wildlife conservation and marine conservation are some of the most popular SAVE travel experiences, while South Africa, Tanzania, Thailand, India, Nepal and Peru are some of the leading destinations.  


The report offered a range of useful information and tips for local tour operators either working in the sector or looking to enter the sector.  The report can be viewed and/or downloaded via the following link:


Entering the European market for SAVE travel products