No industry faces more COVID-related challenges than travel and tourism. Specific sectors have been disproportionately impacted. For example, venues have canceled events, rescaled, and created innovative options such as hybrids; capacity limits have tested the ingenuity and management skills of restauranteurs; a rising tide of visitors “new to nature” are challenging rural destinations’ ability to manage crowds and environmental impacts. All sectors face staff shortages, compensation wars and desires for more flexible or remote work.
Amidst these challenges, there is good news. The UN World Travel Organization indicates rising vaccination rates and fewer travel restrictions are releasing pent up demand, and most UNWTO tourism professionals (61%) see better prospects for 2022.
However, the international tourism rebound has been only moderate. In the last half of 2021, international arrivals, while increasing, were still down 62% compared to pre-pandemic levels. International recovery is also uneven, with some areas faring better than others.
Domestic tourism continues to drive recovery. Travel close to home, open-air activities, nature-based products and rural tourism are among the trends shaping 2022.
At TEI we are advising our clients to:
- Continue supporting official safety procedures.
- Advocate for financial assistance to the primary, secondary and tertiary tourism-related businesses struggling to get back on their feet.
- Use research, trends and data to make informed decisions.
- Consider shifting from Destination Marketing to Destination Management – a more holistic approach to destination stewardship which engages residents, visitors and stakeholders in the current and future vision of the community’s tourism industry.
We strongly recommend tourism managers prepare now for a dramatically changed post-recovery landscape. Sustainable tourism, destination management, residential engagement, influencing visitor behavior, conscious travel, green travel, and “ed-ventures” are top of mind for leading destinations. Rising costs due to inflation, supply chain issues, labor crisis, fuel prices and climate change loom over the tourism industry and require action to ensure a responsible and timely recovery.
Reviewing your strategy, marketing and management are essential to success in the emerging new world. We stand ready to help with a deep, strategic in-market analysis that includes all stakeholder voices and data-based metrics to help you adapt as you succeed.
Contact us for a no cost preliminary consultation today.