Web Design & Development

8 Best Travel and Tourism Websites (December 2019)

When preparing to travel, most of us like doing a little research on where we’re going to get a sense of what’s available in the area. A strong travel website makes you feel enticed with the best of what’s local, usually with vivid images and exciting descriptions.

Web design’s role toward recruiting new visitors cannot be understated. Effective design produces a sense of trustworthiness in your site’s visitors, and, in fact, the vast majority of people judge the credibility of a given website based on its design. Since many people prefer to plan their vacations, that sense of trust is fundamental to engaging your audience.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the visual styles, types of travel information, and audience-targeting techniques that the best tourism websites use to get people committed to a visit.

  1. Pure New Zealand

    Pure New Zealand’s site takes a very welcoming approach with their slogan, “Good Morning World,” and a short description acknowledging something geographically unique about the country: their comparatively early access to morning sunlight. From their homepage, the “Start Your Journey” grid lets visitors explore a variety of information about the country, including climate, travel offers, the technical aspects of using your visa, and some must-do experiences they recommend for first-timers. They include a very helpful flight booking feature right on the site that shows average commute times between different parts of the United States and Auckland. Their central video depicts not only the coastal aspects of living there, but their native cultural values and desires to continue as a welcoming, open country.

  2. My Switzerland

    My Switzerland’s design doesn’t pull any punches, and its homepage video does some amazing informative and emotionally gripping work all at once. It quickly loads a beautiful video loop of different areas in the country, including rural waterfalls and downtown urban cheer. The video is even slightly zoomed in by default so that when your mouse scrolls over, you can automatically move the center of the video around, mimicking that feeling of craning your neck to take in the scale of something marvelous. Each location comes with short text definitions of what’s being observed so you can search for any of the names that entice you later. You can easily book a hotel, car, train, or flight in their aggregate booking system, and their “our stories” section takes readers through contemporary cultural moments of Swedish culture for greater immersion.

  3. Chile Travel

    The site for Chile Travel has one of the best homepage images of our list, showing white water rapids, snowy mountains, and grassy knolls all in the same area. They’re quick to include the country’s adventure tourism win from the 2019 World Travel Awards, and their simple “A Place to Follow,” slogan is even more believable as a result. Since the country has incredibly diverse landscapes, including southern glaciers, downtown metropolises, and the world’s driest desert, they describe how other countries and institutions, like NASA, are using their natural resources for cultural and technological leaps. Their unique business tourism tab presents extensive information about the stability of the Chile economy and the high quality of life for natives and visitors alike.

  4. Visit Manchester

    This site focuses on presenting a specifically urban area in the UK, and their widescreen image of Manchester from the homepage shows a bustling city of skyscrapers and multiple cranes doing construction to show how much the city is expanding. Scrolling down takes you to a concise description of Manchester’s history as the birthplace of the industrial revolution and its current standing as youthful and culturally diverse. They include culturally-specific events too, like afternoon tea locations and city-specific conventions, like local farmer’s markets and the main shopping areas everyone uses. There’s an excellent content balance of traditional English attractions and contemporary values, like ghost tours of the older parts of the city next to their city-wide support of LGBTQ rights.

  5. Visit Norway

    It’s hard to get more culturally distinct than putting a video loop of sheep joyously galloping across the beach. It’s incredibly effective at grabbing visitor attention, and makes a playful motif; sheep show up all over different destinations on the site, including a boat! The lightheartedness of the main video and the site’s tagline, “Hot in a Cool Country” acknowledges the type of country-wide climate to expect while describing that, culturally, their more wholistic cold brings people together instead of acting as a hindrance. The site leans even more into the outdoors-driven uniqueness, including descriptions of seeing the northern lights and their main slogan, “Powered by Nature.”

  6. Visit Seattle

    With a simple-looking structure, Visit Seattle cleverly uses small animations for each of their clickable sections to make the site feel engaging and fun. Their homepage image slider shows a lot of different views of the city, both of the skyline, walking around downtown, and of historical monuments. One of the most striking features, their VisitSeattle.tv section lets visitors immerse themselves in different parts of the city with bite-sized episodic content from many different people. Moving the mouse cursor over a given thumbnail shows a term that summarizes the sense of the video so visitors can better anticipate which will most interest them.

  7. Visit California

    On Visit California’s site, you’ll find a very sleek design with a lot of effective white space that lets the distinct sections stand stand out for easy navigation. With tons of compelling videos about the state’s uniquely diverse topography and related events, visitors always feel like they’re in touch with what parts of California offer different outdoor activities. They include both interviews with Hollywood stars and descriptions of the more rural treasures in the area, like the abundance of vineyards. Their California Dream Eater series bases its content on aggregating social media recommendations so readers always know what people are most interested in about the area.

  8. Zurich Tourism

    The official site for visiting the Swiss city Zurich is somewhat minimalist with a lot of efficient ways to make separate sections stand out. Each header bar section’s text is bold and in large font, and the main sections all have their own bright font colors to make the site’s overall white space and black text contrast in a visually appealing way. They use tourism bureaus that employ natives in the city to help share the personal stories of people who know the culture of the area well. The site uses geotag markers for photos and high-concept content like postmodern art exhibits to specify part of what makes them culturally unique.

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