Travel Tuesday: Who Exactly is the Cannabis Tourist?

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By Brian Applegarth

Travel Tuesday is a tourism column shedding light on the most cannabis friendly corners of the globe. Each Tuesday, we’ll share the travel tips and best kept secrets to exploring a city through its cannabis culture. Today, Brian Applegarth, founder and president of the California Cannabis Tourism Association and proprietor of Emerald Country Tours, kicks the column off by explaining just who exactly the cannabis tourist is.

Cannabis is the new kid on the block for the travel and tourism sector, and its raising the eyebrows of those with adventurous appetites faster than thought.

The California Cannabis Tourism Association was invited In May 2018 to participate at the annual CalTravel Summit in San Diego and the California Hotel and Lodging Association conferences in San Jose and Anaheim. This was a huge win for the cannabis industry as a whole, implying a new level of acceptance for cannabis tourism and a willingness for the tourism industry to collaborate with the cannabis industry.

So why the invites? Why the inclusion? And why now?  

Legalization is a powerhouse revenue generator.  The sales numbers are clearly showing that consumers are interested and primed to spend on marijuana products. From the doobie newbie to cannabis connoisseur, people are not only ready to part with their cash, but they also want to learn and experience all that cannabis has to offer. That includes tourists.

But who exactly is a cannabis tourist?  The answer is surprisingly wide-ranging — and not what you might expect. Let’s take a look at three of the primary tourist profiles.

1. The Therapeutic Seeker

This type of tourist is likely to ask themselves, “Can cannabis improve my quality of life?” “I hear it may be an alternative to some of my medication?” and “What is CBD?”

Baby boomers are the fastest growing demographic of cannabis consumers, and for good reason. Cannabis has a long history of medicinal applications and has been included in various medical pharmacopoeias the world over. As health-focused senior citizens reach their golden years, they may be  looking to improve their quality of life and enjoy themselves as much as possible – cannabis is a great option for both.

2. The Canna-Curious

With the spread of legalization, cannabis has been buzzed about for years, claiming headlines and gaining momentum by the day. Marijuana is growing into a pop culture trend that has integrated into the mainstream through media coverage. At this early stage of legalization, it is not surprising that the canna-curious tourist is the highest volume of traveler. This group includes yogis, young professionals, and the open minded adventure seeker willing to learn, laugh and relax for the day. These tourists live in the adult use, light-hearted side of the market.  

3. The Enthusiast

Just like craft beer and wine, cannabis has a growing niche of polished enthusiasts emerging as connoisseurs. These tourists have a familiarity with the plant. Not only have they smoked a joint or two in their day, but they also continue to regularly partake. They enjoy trying new award-winning strains and have integrated cannabis into their weekend or end-of-workday ritual. Like wine and craft beer experts, cannabis geeks are drawn to the inclusive nature of cannabis culture.

This certain cannabis tourism and travel is proving to be extremely flexible, offering a wide-spectrum of experiences for anyone with an open mind.

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