Trade in services is growing around the world. Part of the growth is due to the Internet and e-Commerce, making it easier for buyers and sellers to find each other.
Probably the biggest area of growth is in tourism. Yes, tourism counts as an export.
When a visitor from another country rents your condo or garden apartment, the money counts as a service export. Same for airline tickets, meals, tours, rented cars, ride sharing and everything else related.
Asian tourists tend to spend the most per day, per traveler, and savvy marketers would be wise spending time targeting them.
If you want to cater to international visitors, then say so on your website. If you speak another language add that. If you can find a student at your local schools who speak different languages fluently, then consider hiring them. Many travelers these days eschew group tours, especially if this is not their first visit. They look for personalized service and a chance to get to know the locals. Non-English-speaking parents will sometimes bring their teenage children with them to help with translation. We observed this in Australia when a Chinese visitor had his daughter communicate with a car mechanic about needed repairs to a rental vehicle. People these days are traveling for all kinds of reasons and in all kinds of permutations.
There is a growing population of travelers with disposable incomes and they’re not all heading for Paris or New York. Plus, many international students are looking for things to do during breaks. Their parents don’t cut back on spending money. Make it easy for them by tooling your website and social media posts with inviting offers. In addition, solicit their feedback and post accordingly. Market directly to them on their campuses; most have message boards and a school newspaper. Spend hardly anything or spend a little more, you have many options available.
Consulting services also make sense of cross border. If you're successful in your home market, chances are you can find customers in other markets. International investors need help assessing business opportunities in your home market, and you may be in a good position to help them—with real estate acquisitions, finding specialized advisors like lawyers and accountants. Investors may need advice on the market itself, which will involve research on your part and presenting the findings.
The software is also a good service export. If you've developed an app or game you're proud of, chances are there are buyers waiting beyond your borders. If you don’t write the code yourself, but know people who do, you can represent them.
The good thing about software and other services is that there are no shipping costs or duties, though some countries, but not the US, may try to charge VAT on software purchases. In Europe try eBay or Amazon. Specialty marketplaces like WebPort Global are also good for connecting with buyers.
So, don’t think export-import is about just goods. Services are a big part of international trade, and they are growing.
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