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According to the WTTC, it is necessary to develop more resilient and sustainable destinations

Through the report “Enhancing Resilience to Create Sustainability in Destinations”, created jointly with ICF, the world body designed five lines of action in favor of the industry and society 

The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) recognized the importance of the joint work that countries require to achieve more resilient and sustainable destinations, achieving better and greater global tourism development.

In the face of new global challenges, such as the COVID-19 pandemic or phenomena such as global warming, which cause extreme temperatures, no tourist destination has been exempt from having to make changes that guarantee their well-being to a greater extent.

Julia Simpson, President and CEO of the WTTC, said: “The health crisis has had a devastating impact, affecting the Travel & Tourism sector around the world. But it is certainly not the first challenge for destinations and their citizens. The pandemic it has taught us that you can never be sufficiently prepared.”

To this end, and through the report ‘Enhancing Resilience to Create Sustainability in Destinations’, created jointly with ICF, the WTTC designed five axes of action on which resilience is fundamental for the correct performance of the global tourism sector.The guidelines indicated in said report are:

1. Environmental Resilience: focuses on the capacity of a destination to resist and adequately recover from natural damage. This type of resilience is particularly necessary as beaches, mountains, rivers and forests are a key destination for tourists.

2. Resilience of the infrastructure: it is directly related to the accommodation and transport sectors, as well as support facilities that allow the tourism economy to function efficiently; which means that destinations must ensure that their infrastructure is safe and effective for travellers. At this point, the processes to face infrastructural crises, such as evacuation drills, are contemplated.

3. Energy resilience: refers to the capacity of a destination to guarantee an efficient energy supply. This type of resilience is primarily intended to allow the destination to function smoothly, and to provide a consistent level of service to travelers while ensuring that local populations are not disadvantaged by the sharing of resources.

4. Economic resilience: it is divided into two definitions, one of them refers to the capacity of a destination to survive a crisis in this matter, while the other focuses on the operating environment of the companies.

At this point, the need for reactive policies stands out, which have arisen due to the impact caused by the recent health pandemic. It is also recommended to implement proactive policies aimed at training in order to improve economic resilience.
5. Social resilience: focuses on people and entities developing the ability to know how to face environmental, economic and social problems (threats). This is directly related to ensuring that those outside of the travel and tourism industry are not affected by the industry. In the event of a crisis, the needs of the local society must be a priority and thus avoid “resistance” to tourism.

Lastly, the report offers recommendations identified as key for destinations on your journey to improve their resilience: develop successful governance models, ensure ownership and shared value, and prepare for the next shock.

In 2019, the travel and tourism sector’s contribution to GDP was 10.3% ($9.6 trillion), falling to 5.3% ($4.8 trillion) in 2020 when the pandemic was at its height, and it suffered a staggering loss of 50%.

WTTC’s latest EIR report also revealed that 2021 saw the beginning of the recovery for the global travel and tourism sector. Its contribution to GDP increased by 21.7% year-on-year, reaching more than 5.8 trillion dollars.

Source: WTTC

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