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In Week 7 of our Tourism Impact Call series, we have seen a shift in industry reaction from impact to innovation. Destinations are now fully focused on recovery. This week we discussed how tourism going digital is a key part of recovery. The strategy for many DMOs going digital, is to offer more virtual experiences and online resources, which keep their destinations top of mind and support local people and businesses.

Every Tuesday at 14:00 GMT / 15:00 CET, we will hold a weekly 30 minute 'Tourism Impact Call' to give the lay of the land in terms of what's happening, how the industry is responding and we will provide a weekly summary. The call is open to all, every perspective welcome.  Join Call and Subscribe to Podcasts.

Week 7 - 28/04/2020

This week we welcomed contributions from #DTTT Advisory expert Matteo Landi and many more. The strategy for many destinations now is focused solely on recovery. There is an increased offering in virtual experiences for potential visitors and also more online resources to support local people and businesses.  

Key takeaways from the Industry 

 

The industry has evolved from impact to innovation 

The early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic were focused very much on the shock and impact of the crisis, however seven weeks on, the focus is now shifting. It has been a very difficult time for the industry, who have had to stay agile, adapt and completely transform in terms of strategy and product. Destinations have now implemented their crisis management plans and are looking inwards instead of outwards. Moving from destination promotion to focusing on the real people behind tourism, allowing them to tell their stories. We have also seen many more virtual experiences being offered, with many new innovative initiatives. There is now less panic and more purpose for destinations to demonstrate how they can be relevant and enhance people’s lives, either locally or remotely.

Digital as the “new normal”

With a world now online, destinations around the world have gone in a digital direction. Digital has become the most effective way for DMOs to reach their audiences at home. It is the “new normal” in terms of destination promotion. However, destinations are now also sharing the space with local businesses. In order to stimulate recovery, many destinations are integrating local businesses and blogs onto their platforms. DMOs are reshaping their existing websites to support businesses, with the creation of webshops and local online resources. It is likely that we will see a shift of more businesses going onto e-commerce platforms in order to guarantee their survival.

Global yet local, destination strategy has shifted focus

Global destinations are now very focused on providing support at a local level. The priority is recovery and particularly providing financial support for local businesses. DMOs have created essential lifelines for local businesses by providing services such as online resources and financial support guidance. DMO strategies are now centred around local tourism and ensuring local businesses are supported and ready for when visitors return.

Giving back is the new business model

It is clear that we have become a more caring and sharing society, helping each other through the most difficult times. Priorities have shifted from profit to people and purpose. Many businesses are now giving back to the people, particularly the key workers. As Matteo Landi confirms, there is a change in the narrative to helping and supporting people as a social enterprise. New initiatives have been created to give back, such as restaurants giving free meals to disadvantaged people. Supporting people in need is key at this time and the actions of these businesses will not be forgotten when the pandemic is over.

Tourism as a global force for good

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed us, as people and as travellers. DMOs must now rethink their strategy and their message, in order to make tourism a better industry. Despite the challenges that social distancing (amongst other things) has placed on the industry, DMOs must see the positives and demonstrate that tourism is a global force for good. For destinations and businesses, their impact and engagement will be greater, if their messages and their actions are genuine, honest and address something important. Social impact is so valuable, and the industry must demonstrate the good things that it's doing. It is time to rebalance the tourism economy, grow together and give back. 

At the #DTTT, we believe that tourism is a force for good. As we emerge from COVID-19, DMOs need to demonstrate through their actions that they are putting people first. The industry has a huge opportunity to improve, develop and reveal all the good things that it’s doing to make the world a better place.

 

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