Are We Brave Enough to Act?

Nagore delivered an interactive session on the topic of destination development and management. The has pandemic significantly affected tourism.

The industry has always maintained a vision to come back and this time greener. However, doubts remain in how successful the industry has been, which led the discussion to "Are we brave enough to act?".

Nagore delivered an interactive session on the topic of destination development and management. The has pandemic significantly affected tourism. The industry has always maintained a vision to come back and this time greener. However, doubts remain in how successful the industry has been, which led the discussion to "Are we brave enough to act?".

Many destinations worldwide have embraced sustainability. However, as Nagore discussed, a surgical management approach is required for measurement inducting towards making improvements in terms of action. During her talk, Nagore provided examples of destination management across several European cities.

Over-tourism is a concern in particular regions globally. Nagore exemplified beach destinations where during the pandemic, occupancy rates decreased, and thus limited number of visitors were allowed in the area. After two summers, a new strategy is planned to manage the visitor numbers in the harbour. Larger destinations may require more time to adapt to the changes and introduce new management strategies.

Nagore reflected on Dubrovnik, Croatia as a successful model for measuring and addressing issues since 2015. They have particularly worked with cruise liners to negotiate the maximum number of visitors who can disembark in the city. The flow of people and crowd management is at the centre of the destination management strategy. On a different note, Venice has always suffered from over-tourism. In 2021 considering the pandemic effects, Venice yet had to hire armed guards to control crowds.

In Catalonia, part of the beach line is listed as a protected area. In 2021, the Mayor of the destination introduced a sustainable strategy to identify car plates and allow access to residents, hospitality, tourism and emergency services. Other visitors were asked to pay if they wanted to drive to the destination. By doing so, crowd management became easier, and polluting behaviours were reduced. Florence is another example that has incorporated crowd management in its strategy. With the use of a green light system, they inform visitors about crowd levels at different locations and can guide visitors to less busy places. This vision not only helps the destination also offers a more enjoyable experience to the visitors.

Following examples of surgical management, Nagore reflected on cases with surgical marketing strategies, using the budget to ensure that your target audience receives better experiences. Malta, for example, had undertaken a research project which demonstrated that visitors staying in Malta are motivated by the sand and the beach and also by adventure. The importance of these findings lies in understanding what the visitors are looking for and how destinations can respond to visitors' demands in their strategies.

Nagore iterated that besides surgical management and marketing, the community has its importance. Business models require reconfigurations to allow giving back to the communities travellers visit. Hence, destination surgical management and marketing should include activities offered by the locals. In other words, giving back to the destination means investing in the destination offerings. Host communities deserve to give back. Many countries in the northern hemisphere have an ageing population. Seniors are expressing loneliness in many cases. In such cases giving back to the host communities can relate to involving seniors in the destination's offerings and activities. Opening hidden villages in El Maestrazgo and Cuisine experience in Hard, Germany are examples designed for seniors where the older generation can feel the value they bring to the destination by being part of the activities.

As Nagore explained, the tourism sector has most of the knowledge it needs. However, there are gaps in surgical management. Thus, it is necessary to work hybrid across different sectors and bring knowledge and expertise to the table from different perspectives—Know-it-alls is not enough. Actions are required.

Key Takeaways

1. Improved efficiency in the tourism and travel industry requires surgical management and marketing.

2. Destinations can tackle and overcome challenges in travel and tourism such as crowd management and flow with surgical management and sustainable strategies.

3. Strategies should expand beyond management and marketing and include communities to create authentic travel experiences for visitors and also give back to the host communities.

Published on:
November 2021
About the contributor

Nagore Espinosa

Dr. Nagore Espinosa is CEO of in2destination research and consulting firm, expert consultant for UNWTO, UN ITC, IADB, EBRD and numerous MED projects, INRouTe Network Vice President, Lecturer at the University of Deusto, and at Basque Culinary center.