WTTC: Destinations must build resilience

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO: The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) published a new report Wednesday identifying guidelines and case studies to support destinations becoming more resilient and sustainable at its Sustainability and Investment Forum convened in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The report, ‘Enhancing Resilience to Create Sustainability in Destinations’, jointly created with ICF, WTTC’s industry partner and a renowned global consultancy and digital services provider, provides practical, structured insights for destinations as they consider their resilience and sustainability.

Following the last two years of chaos brought on by the almost complete halt to international travel, no tourism destination has been untouched by the impact of Covid-19. And many destinations have also been affected by major shocks, such as extreme weather.

In supporting and guiding destinations, the analysis builds on real-life case studies and presents a range of resilience actions for destinations to adapt to meet future disasters.

The report provides five elements destinations should focus on to build resilience and long-term sustainability: environment, infrastructure, energy, economic, and societal resilience.

It offers four phases to analyse the shock and its aftermath: ‘understand the risk’, ‘prepare for shocks’, ‘respond to shock’, and ‘longer-term strategies’. Case studies illustrate how destinations that rely heavily on tourism, whether cities or islands, deserts or tropics, apply resilience awareness.

Puerto Rico is one of the destinations featured as a case study, highlighting the string of environmental crises and economic challenges that have made resilience a cornerstone of their tourism strategy.

Key learnings underline the importance of small businesses, identifying risks and implementing initiatives to handle any potential crisis.

WTTC President & CEO Julia Simpson said: “Covid has had a devastating impact, decimating the Travel & Tourism sector worldwide. But it’s certainly not the first shock to bring chaos to destinations and their citizens.

“This report allows destinations to understand how to prepare better, act, and plan for future risks, strengthening their resilience and long-term sustainability.

“The pandemic has taught us you can never be prepared enough. Destinations have learnt not only from their own experiences and those of other countries as they recover and build back.

“Puerto Rico is an example of a destination that learned through COVID and natural disasters to become more inherently resilient.”

Lastly, the report offers recommendations for destinations to improve their resilience: developing successful governance models, ensuring ownership and shared value, and preparing for the next shock.

In 2019, the Travel & Tourism sector’s contribution to GDP was 10.3% (USD9.6 trillion), falling to 5.3% (nearly USD4.8 trillion) in 2020 when the pandemic was at its height and suffered a staggering 50% loss.

WTTC’s latest EIR report also revealed that 2021 saw the beginning of the recovery for the global Travel & Tourism sector.

Its contribution to GDP climbed an impressive 21.7% year on year to reach more than USD5.8 trillion. The sector saw a recovery of more than 18 million global Travel & Tourism jobs, representing a positive 6.7% rise in 2021.

To read the report in full, please click here

(Source: WTTC)

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