Every year, between 2010 and 2019, Travel & Tourism grew faster than the global economy, thus enriching local communities and destinations at a faster rate than many other sectors. As one of the largest economic sectors globally, it accounted for 10.3% of global GDP and 1 in 10 jobs on the planet in 2019; and of the 1.5 billion international tourist arrivals recorded in 2019, 44% went to cities. As the world continues to urbanize, with 55% of the world’s population already living in cities, it is expected that cities will continue to be attractive places to live, do business and to discover as destinations. Although COVID-19 has been devastating for Travel & Tourism, with GDP losses amounting to US$4.9 trillion and nearly 62 million jobs lost in 2020, people’s desire to travel and discover the world has remained unabated. In fact, travellers are increasingly seeking out secondary and tertiary destinations, showcasing the continued importance to prioritize destination readiness.
The Index analyzed 63 global cities across 75 different indicators and data points and eight different pillars including scale, concentration, safety & security, environmental readiness, leisure, business, urban readiness, and policy prioritization to determine key factors for tourism readiness. When indexed, those 75 data points, provided incredible insight into what truly makes a city ready for sustainable tourism growth. From the indexed outcomes five city typologies emerged:
What do cities need to consider in order to be ready for sustainable global tourism? Everything. Now more than ever, with the impact of a global pandemic still deeply effecting our industry, our industry and our cities must align to plan for the future.
The findings of the WTTC & JLL Global Cities’ Readiness for Sustainable Tourism Growth report identify five key considerations and factors to enhance a destination’s readiness.
Partnerships and multistakeholder engagement have always been key to effective destination planning and management. However, in recent years, the concept of destination stewardship, an approach that balances and meets the needs of all stakeholders has gained increased traction. To thrive, destination stewardship must approach needs and goals holistically and requires public-private-community collaboration.
Sustainability at the core
As highlighted during COP26 in 2021, climate change and environmental degradation are worsening at an alarming pace, requiring urgent action to avoid a devastating impact on destinations, businesses, local communities, the global economy, and our way of life. With today’s decisions defining the world of tomorrow, there is a need to increase both ambitions and actions to protect people and planet.
Communication & outreach
A clear and compelling communications and outreach strategy is essential to support a city’s strategic plan for sustainable and resilient Tourism growth. Indeed, effective communication and outreach can significantly contribute to deeper engagement by all stakeholders, including city officials, business leaders and the local community, as well as building trust, in turn making the plan more impactful.
Successfully integrating tourism into the destination’s agenda requires careful planning and consideration. It is not only essential to have a comprehensive tourism plan, but to ensure that the Travel & Tourism goals and approach are aligned and integrated into the destination’s broader strategy to steward the destination’s future successfully
While the acceleration of digital technologies and the resulting innovations have been a prominent feature of the COVID-19 crisis, digitization has been a growing trend for decades. Although digitization should not be employed to replace human interaction given the high-touch nature of the Travel & Tourism sector, it should be leveraged as a means to enrich the travellers experience and enhance the livability of the city.
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By Kristina M. D'Amico
Director at HVS Miami
7 April 2022
Historical Demand to the Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is one of the fastest growing economies in the Caribbean and the most popular tourist destination in the Caribbean region. Its tropical climate, white-sand beaches, diverse mountainous landscape, and colonial history attracts visitors from around the world. The country has 28 provinces spread across six main regions, with the East & Southeast region, which encompasses the cities of Punta Cana and Bávaro, serving as the most popular tourist destination and offering nearly 50% of all hotel rooms in the country.
Over the last 20 years, the Dominican Republic has performed extremely well in terms of occupancy, with historical levels above 70%, other than in the period after September 11, 2001, in the period after the Great Recession in 2009, and during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Occupancy History for the Dominican Republic— Photo by Dominican Republic Central Bank, ASONAHORES, Ministerio de Turismo
The Dominican Republic closed its borders to international tourist arrivals on March 19, 2020, reopening on July 1, 2020. However, given the multitude of resort options and evolving entry protocols to aid in the rebound of tourism, the country had a strong recovery from the downturn caused by COVID-19. By the end of 2021, the number of stopover arrivals had increased 126% over 2020, reaching 63% of the stopovers that were recorded in 2019.
The success in visitation to the Dominican Republic is partly attributed to the proactive tourism efforts by the country, including the investment by the Ministry of Tourism in promoting the destination. In addition, the government of the Dominican Republic provides a variety of incentives for new development, which has greatly aided in the increase of room supply over the last 20 years; total available hotel rooms have nearly doubled during that period. Given this growth, the government continues to improve the infrastructure of the country with improvement or construction of roads and airports, ultimately providing better access to many parts of the country and enhancing tourism potential.
Jim Hepple is an Assistant Professor at the University of Aruba and is Managing Director of Tourism Analytics.