The COVID 19 pandemic left an indelible imprint on the Southern Nevada tourism industry and the broader regional economy Compared to recent recessions, the COVID 19 recession’s magnitude was unprecedented in its depth and speed Applied Analysis was retained by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (the LVCVA) to review and analyze the economic impacts of the pandemic on Southern Nevada’s tourism industry in 2020.
This brief examines the effects on visitation, employment and other key metrics as well as the overall decline in the tourism industry’s economic impact due to the pandemic and related response While the economic losses in 2020 were material, it is worth noting that many of the economic conditions and shortfalls have persisted into early 2021.
Safety and financial security emerge as top considerations in pandemic-focused study from Expedia Group
New research from Expedia Group reveals shifting views on travel, including positive sentiment on vaccine passports, increased budgets, and an enduring demand for safety and financial security. The Traveler Value Index examines the views of 8,000 people in eight countries to understand their values and expectations as the pandemic becomes more controlled in many parts of the world.
“As vaccination rates rise and borders open across the globe, people are ready and eager to travel. However, the months of uncertainty are weighing on their travel decisions and shifting the conventional belief that price is the top driver of bookings,” said Ariane Gorin, president, Expedia for Business, Expedia Group. “These insights show people want to book with trusted travel providers that will deliver on their experiences, keep them safe, and protect their financial investments.”
Improved outlook for 2021 and beyond
Despite a period of uncertainty, the Traveler Value Index shows that people are making travel a financial priority. More than a third (34%) of travelers have larger travel budgets now compared to 2020. In fact, nearly one in five respondents globally (18%) expect travel to be the activity they spend most on in 2021, on par with major spending items such as home renovation (18%) and ahead of entertainment (12%), buying or taking care of a car (11%), or healthcare (11%). Additionally, more than third (36%) say they would trade a pay raise for more vacation days
Travelers are thinking differently about the frequency and length of travel. Many (60%) are opting for domestic travel in the short-term, however they are planning to get away more often, nearly half (41%) wanting more frequent, shorter, trips. The outlook for international travel is also improving, with more than a quarter (27%) of travelers considering a trip to another country in the next year. In fact, nearly three-quarters (71%) of travelers are comfortable showing a vaccine passport to travel internationally.
The research also shows an increased desire for new and different experiences over nostalgic destinations, with three-quarters (75%) of travelers likely to select a travel destination they’ve never been to before. Additionally, more than half (52%) are likely to use a new mode of transportation, and nearly a quarter (22%) are looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience on their next trip.
Decisions reflect personal values
The Traveler Value Index reveals that travelers continue to make value-based decisions that reflect their own personal views when booking travel. Travelers want to support sustainable practices, with nearly three in five (59%) willing to pay higher fees to make their trip more sustainable.
Additionally, a majority (65%) are more likely to book with travel providers that have inclusive policies. This includes properties that are owned by women and/or people of color, are welcoming to the LGBTQIA+ community, and those that are supportive of people with disabilities.
Financial security and safety are top priorities
The Traveler Value Index ranks the factors shaping booking decisions across multiple travel experiences, including:
The Traveler Value Index also shows differences in values by age group, indicating that younger groups are less focused on price and refunds. These include:
Expedia Group’s Traveler Value Index research was conducted by Wakefield Research between April 16 and May 7, 2021. Respondents included 8,000 nationally representative adults ages 18+ from eight countries: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
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21 JUL 2021 - UNWTO
The biggest crisis in the history of tourism continues into a second year. Between January and May, international tourist arrivals were 85% below 2019 levels (or a 65% drop on 2020), UNWTO data shows. Despite a small uptick in May, the emergence of COVID-19 variants and the continued imposition of restrictions are weighing on the recovery of international travel. Meanwhile, domestic tourism continues to rebound in many parts of the world.
The latest UNWTO data shows that over the first five months of the year, world destinations recorded 147 million fewer international arrivals (overnight visitors) compared to the same period of 2020, or 460 million less than pre-pandemic year of 2019. However, the data does point to a relatively small upturn in May, with arrivals declining by 82% (versus May 2019), after falling by 86% in April. This slight upward trend emerged as some destinations started to ease restrictions and consumer confidence rose slightly.
UNWTO Tourism Barometer July 2021
Rebuild trust to restart tourism
“Accelerating the pace of vaccination worldwide, working on effective coordination and communication on ever changing travel restrictions while advancing digital tools to facilitate mobility will be critical to rebuild trust in travel and restart tourism” says UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili.
By regions, Asia and the Pacific continued to suffer the largest decline with a 95% drop in international arrivals in the first five months of 2021 compared to the same period in 2019. Europe (-85%) recorded the second largest decline in arrivals, followed by the Middle East (-83%) and Africa (-81%). The Americas (-72%) saw a comparatively smaller decrease. In June, the number of destinations with complete closure of borders decreased to 63, from 69 in February. Of these, 33 were in Asia and the Pacific, while just seven in Europe, the region with the fewest restrictions on travel currently in place.
By sub-regions, the Caribbean (-60%) recorded the best relative performance through May 2021. Growing travel from the United States has benefitted destinations in the Caribbean and Central America, as well as Mexico. Western Europe, Southern and Mediterranean Europe, South America and Central America saw slightly better results in May than in April.
Mixed outlook for remainder of 2021
International tourism is slowly picking up, though recovery remains very fragile and uneven. Rising concerns over the Delta variant of the virus have led several countries to reimpose restrictive measures. In addition, the volatility and lack of clear information on entry requirements could continue to weigh on the resumption of international travel during the Northern Hemisphere’s summer season. However, vaccination programmes around the world, together with softer restrictions for vaccinated travellers and the use of digital tools such as the EU Digital COVID Certificate, are all contributing to the gradual normalization of travel.
In addition, domestic travel is driving the recovery in many destinations, especially those with large domestic markets. Domestic air seat capacity in China and Russia has already exceeded pre-crisis levels, while domestic travel in the United States is strengthening further.
UNCTAD report expects losses in global GDP of $1.7 trillion to $2.4 trillion in 2021 from the drop in international travel compared to 2019.
The coronavirus pandemic, which swept the world in early 2020, has been a real rollercoaster for the global economy. What began as a local Chinese threat had already by the end of March turned into a global market loss, the highest since 2008. Everyone from small businesses to huge corporations, from services to entertainment, from small to large, has been affected.
The tourism industry, together with the entertainment industry, is one of the main victims of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. However, if the entertainment industry has found a way out of the situation and went to the Internet platform, where it opened virtual institutions and allowed visitors to have fun, then the tourism industry cannot boast about this.
The Sharp Decline in International Tourism
The sharp decline in international tourism due to the pandemic could cost the world economy in 2020-2021, 4.8 trillion dollars. According to CNN, one of the reasons is the lack of vaccines for developing countries.
A report released June 30 by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) showed that this year alone will cost global GDP $1.7 to $2.4 trillion — more than what was expected in last year’s worst-case projections. According to the study, conducted with the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), about 60 percent of the losses will come from developing countries.
“A rebound in international tourism is expected in the second half of this year, but the UNCTAD report still expects losses of $1.7 trillion to $2.4 trillion in 2021 compared to 2019,” the experts stated.
The report presents possible scenarios for the development of the situation. According to the most pessimistic scenario, the number of international trips will decrease by 75% this year. In this case, the tourism sector will lose $ 948 billion, and the world’s GDP will suffer a loss of $2.4 trillion.
The second scenario is based on an assumed decline in international tourist arrivals by 63%. The third scenario is based on the fact that 75% fewer visits will be made to countries with low levels of vaccination against coronavirus, and in countries where a large part of the population has been vaccinated, the tourist flow will decrease by 37%. Under the second scenario, losses in global GDP are projected at $1.7 trillion, and under the third scenario – 1.8 trillion.
The authors of the report draw attention to the significant impact of mass vaccination on the tourism sector. In states with high vaccination coverage, economic losses will not be as high as in states where vaccination is slow or has barely begun. “The tourism sector is expected to recover faster in countries with high vaccination rates, such as France, Germany, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States,” the experts point out.
However, they believe the sector will not reach pre-pandemic coronavirus levels until 2023 or even later. The report cites “travel restrictions, slow containment of the virus, low traveler confidence and a meager economic environment” as the main obstacles to the industry’s development. “The world needs a global vaccination effort that protects workers, mitigates negative social impacts, and leads to strategic tourism decisions that take into account potential structural changes,” said UNCTAD Acting Secretary-General Isabelle Durand.
Developing Countries Hit Harder
In 2020, UNCTAD estimates that international tourism has suffered $2.4 trillion in direct and indirect global GDP losses due to the recession. Over 12 months, international tourist arrivals decreased by 1 billion, or 73%. Developing countries were particularly hard hit, where the flow of tourists was reduced by an estimated 60-80%.
The heaviest losses were in North-East and South-East Asia, as well as in Oceania, North Africa, and South Asia. At the same time, North America, Western Europe, and the Caribbean were less affected by the decline in tourism.
Turkey, Ecuador, South Africa, the Maldives, St. Lucia, and much of Asia and Oceania were hit hardest by the lack of tourists. While North America, Western Europe, and the Caribbean hardly felt it at all.
According to the UNWTO, 60 to 80 percent fewer tourists will visit poor countries in 2020. Between 100 million and 120 million jobs, held by youth, women, and informal workers, are at risk.
Low Vaccination Rates
The main obstacle to the recovery of the industry is considered to be the low rate of vaccination. According to UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili, vaccination is crucial for economic recovery in developing countries, as this is the only way to protect people and safely restart tourism.
However, as data from the online publication Our World in Data shows, only ten percent of the world’s population is now fully vaccinated. Even in countries with high vaccination rates, such as the United Kingdom, travel restrictions have not been lifted for fear of contracting the new “delta” variant of the virus.
Despite the easing of restrictions and the resumption of travel in some parts of the world, the crisis is far from over. Half of the experts surveyed by the UNWTO believe that international tourism will return to 2019 levels no sooner than in five years.
As a possible solution to the problem at this time, the organization suggests that countries better harmonize and ease the requirements for crossing borders. For example, develop common standards for inexpensive and reliable coronavirus testing.
U.S. arrivals are up, but so are coronavirus cases, especially in hot tourism spots like Los Cabos and Cancún. Experts urge caution, but visitors keep coming.
By Elaine Glusac New York Times July 16, 2021
Mexico’s reputation as an alluring travel destination both before and during the pandemic has met a sobering reality: Despite growing vaccine efforts, the coronavirus is surging, especially in tourist hot spots.
Though the U.S. land border with Mexico has been closed to nonessential travel since the start of the pandemic, vacationers can fly into the country with no quarantine or testing requirements, opening the door to unvaccinated travelers who might contract the virus in Mexico and bring it back home, or for any traveler to pass it on to a Mexican citizen.
But those risks didn’t deter the more than 2 million Americans who visited Mexico in the first four months of this year. According to Mexican government statistics, they represent 76 percent of all international visitors arriving by air. Forward Keys, a service that analyzes flight data, found that air ticketing for American arrivals to Mexico is up nearly 32 percent in the third quarter of 2021, compared to the same period in 2019.
But infections in Mexico are also up — by about 85 percent in the first two weeks of July, according to data from the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. In a recent news conference, Hugo López-Gatell, Mexico’s deputy health minister, confirmed a spike in infections that constitutes a third wave in the pandemic and the second in 2021.
Three of the five Mexican states with the highest rates of infection are popular with tourists, including Quintana Roo, home to Cancún and the Riviera Maya; neighboring Yucatán; and Baja California Sur, home to Los Cabos.
The latter leads all others in infection rates, with 47 cases per 100,000 people. The popular resort destination of Los Cabos, at the tip of the Baja Peninsula, accounts for 54 percent of the active cases in Baja California Sur.
“Covid is substantial down here,” said Jon Gabrielsen, an American living in Los Cabos. “It’s not like the U.S. where they have brought infection rates down to very low numbers with the vaccine. The vaccination rate is not very high here. Fellow Americans should understand they need to mask up.”
Higher infections, lower vaccinations
The recent rise in cases comes as Mexico races to acquire and distribute vaccines. About 16 percent of the population is fully vaccinated and 28 percent have received at least one dose. (This is much lower compared to the United States, where about 56 percent of those eligible for the vaccine are fully vaccinated, and 65 percent have received at least one dose.)
“Understandably, the health minister is talking about a new wave,” said Lin H. Chen, the immediate past president of the International Society of Travel Medicine and the director of the Mount Auburn Travel Medicine Center, noting that the variants, including the highly infectious Delta variant, have been found in Mexico.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention puts the threat level of the coronavirus in Mexico at Level 3 of 4, or High, and recommended travel only for those who are fully vaccinated. (It also recommends vaccinated travelers get tested three to five days after they have returned from Mexico.)
“I would feel more comfortable if a destination is in the 60 to 70 percent vaccination range,” before traveling there, Dr. Chen said, advising even fully vaccinated travelers to wear face masks indoors, maintain social distancing and dine outdoors.
‘Mexico has made it not very complicated’
Economic pressure prevailed when Mexico reopened last summer without testing or quarantine mandates, hurdles that might have crimped tourism more than it already has — international visitors are down about 45 percent in the first four months of 2021, according to the Mexican Ministry of Tourism, compared to 2019 — particularly in its tourist hot spots.
In Los Cabos, about 80 percent of the economy depends on tourism. For the first half of 2021, its tourism figures were off only about 20 percent compared to the same period in 2019, a relatively healthy figure in a time of scant international travel.
“Mexico has made it not very complicated for us to travel to their country, as far as testing,” said Christen Perry, the owner of Classic Travel Connection, a travel agency in Birmingham, Ala.
It also helps that Mexico is affordable (Americans get nearly 20 Mexican pesos to the dollar), a quick flight from many American airports (under three hours from Dallas to Cancún) and much of its appeal is outdoors.
Red light, green light
Travelers bound for Mexico will find coronavirus precautions dictated by a cautionary stoplight system applied state-by-state and ranging from red — with maximum restrictions — to green, or fully open. While most of the country is in green, five states — Tamaulipas and Tabasco as well as Baja California Sur, Quintana Roo and Yucatán — are orange, the second highest level.
Under the orange designation, restaurants and hotels are restricted to 50 percent capacity, markets to 75 percent capacity and theaters and museums to 25 percent capacity, according to the U.S. embassy in Mexico. Mask mandates are in effect in many places.
The three tourist-heavy states say they are strictly abiding by health and safety protocols, including mask mandates, social distancing, curfews and banning large groups. In Los Cabos, fireworks for the American Fourth of July holiday were prohibited to prevent people from congregating.
Amy Lytle, the owner of the travel agency House of Travel in Baton Rouge, La., is sending about 100 clients to Mexico this summer. She had one travel adviser in Los Cabos in June when the state went from yellow to orange on the stoplight system and said taxi drivers were rounding up diners at restaurants to get them back to their resorts before the 11 p.m. curfew.
“Most destinations are taking it probably even more seriously than they are here, but it’s also their livelihood and the last thing they want is for someone to get sick at a resort,” she said.
Still, reports on social media, including packed streets of revelers in Cancún, indicate some travelers are flouting the rules.
The tourism authority of Quintana Roo responded to an inquiry from The Times that the state government conducts random rapid testing in the nightclub area of downtown Cancún and has deployed workers to dispense hand sanitizer and masks.
“What impresses me here is how businesses, bars and restaurants have respected government protocols and, in some cases, exceeded them,” wrote David Saito-Chung, a financial writer based in Los Angeles who has vacationed in San José del Cabo several times since early 2020, in an email.
He estimated local compliance with the mask mandates in the area to be above 80 percent.
“Tourists here mostly go without a mask,” he added. “So, it makes me wonder if the chance of infection through close contact with other visitors is higher.”
Testing to come home
The United States, of course, has its own deterrent in the requirement that all travelers, even fully vaccinated ones, test negative before returning home. Anyone testing positive will be subject to a mandatory quarantine.
Tourism authorities said the positive rate has been low. “One of the first conversations we have with clients is you have to understand the risks and rewards,” said Ms. Perry, the travel adviser, who spells out the potential consequences of quarantines and flight cancellations; none of her clients have been denied re-entry. “There’s more risk associated with travel than ever before.”
Lori Speers, the owner of the Dallas-based travel agency Levarte Travel has sent hundreds of clients to Mexico since last summer, largely booking her groups in all-inclusive beach resorts where testing to date has been complimentary.
“During Covid, bookings never slowed down,” she said, noting that some resorts are planning to begin charging for the tests later this month, with rates running from $50 to $150.
Lynda Hower, a travel adviser based in Pittsburgh, was vacationing in the Cancún area with her family earlier this month. She said the airport customs lines were crowded with several flights landing at the same time, resulting in little social distancing. To reach the resort, she opted for a private transfer. A few days before returning home, the family was tested for free at the resort and able to receive their negative results via text at the pool.
“It was very professional,” she said, noting she got the results in 20 minutes.
No 4 a.m. tequila shots
The state of Jalisco, home to Puerto Vallarta, is green on the stoplight system, and it’s not hard to spot a tourist in town, especially as travel has picked up this year.
“The majority are still masked down here and if someone is not masked, you can assume they are probably a tourist,” said Robert Nelson, a California native who lives in Puerto Vallarta and runs the subscription website Expats in Mexico. “We are working hard to get more people vaccinated, but we need a little help from the folks visiting to abide by the local regulations.”
But even compliant travelers will find the experience changed, because of fewer visitors or safety protocols.
“Don’t expect bars to allow you to stay until 4 or 5 in the morning doing shots,” Mr. Nelson added.
In San Miguel de Allende, the popular colonial town in Guanajuato in central Mexico, public statues are dressed in masks and anyone entering the central plaza must pass through an arch that mists sanitizer. Local police admonish visitors to wear or pull up their masks and have been known to take scofflaws to jail for flouting the rules.
Ann Kuffner, an American retiree who has been living in San Miguel de Allende for the past three years, is telling friends who want to visit to wait until fall when vaccination rates will be higher and the events for which San Miguel is known, such as Day of the Dead festivities, may safely return.
“All Mexicans are wearing masks,” said Ms. Kuffner. “Some Americans aren’t because they’re vaccinated, but personally, I think it’s rude. Wearing one is a sign of respect, and respect is an important thing in the Mexican culture".
6th July 2021 Christopher Carey
Porto City Council has approved a plan to create a new administrative position to oversee the city’s short-term tourist rental market.
The ‘Local Accommodation Mediator’ will study and report on the interests, concerns and trends affecting all stakeholders in the sector, as well as help to settle conflicts.
In Portugal, the term ‘Local Accommodation’ (LA) refers to properties which are licenced for rental to tourists on platforms like Airbnb and Booking.com.
Ricardo Valente, Councillor for Economy and Tourism, City of Porto, said: “2020 marks the first year in which we had a reduction in the net stock of Local Accommodation licences in the city, a reduction of close to 400.”
However, he noted that many owners are simply waiting for tourism to fully reopen rather than shifting to the long-term residential sector, saying it makes “no sense” for the government to wait for the market to regulate itself.
Currently 7,646 LA establishments are registered in Porto, the equivalent of 12,428 rooms and 23,969 beds.
While Europe has seen a rise in the number of properties listed as long-term residential lets due to COVID-19, cities are now starting to assess whether things will revert to pre-pandemic trends, where local people were often pushed out of the rental market.
In July 2019, Porto City Council voted on new rules and regulations for a ‘containment area’ in the city, which suspended registrations of new LA licences in areas where demand was too high.
This included Porto’s historic centre and Bonfilm area as well as some of the most popular streets.
For years, European mayors have struggled to contain a proliferation of short-term property lets in city centres, lacking data to enforce limits on rental days or the number of properties in a building used for holiday lets.
But surging rents and a lack of availability in the private rental sector for local residents means cities are increasingly taking a more proactive approach.
Last week, a Paris court fined Airbnb €8.08 million (US$9.6 million) after the firm failed to comply with local regulations on listing apartments on the platform.
Commenting on the case, Ian Brossat, Deputy Mayor of Paris with responsibility for housing, said: “This is the first time in France that a community has condemned a digital giant.
“The responsibility of the platforms is finally recognised – a formidable victory for Parisians.”
The landmark ruling followed years of legal wrangling between the city and Airbnb.
In September 2020, a group of European cities including Paris, London, Helsinki and Barcelona called on the European Commission to impose stronger regulations on short-term holiday rental platforms, which could mean requiring companies to share more data with cities to aid oversight.
It followed a March 2020 agreement between Airbnb, Expedia, Tripadvisor and Booking.com to share data with the European Union’s statistics agency, Eurostat, on the number of nights and guests booked.
Initial data results from the agency are set to be published this month.
By Katie Anderson and Alli Bolger - Colle McVoy | PhocusWire June 28, 2021
As the world begins to return to travel, we can reflect on how COVID‐19 has opened our eyes to the tremendous impact of humans on the environment and on the delicate balance between economy and ecology when it comes to tourism.
For all of the positive ecological outcomes of decreased travel like Venice’s clear canals, deer roaming in East London or the decrease in global nitrogen dioxide concentrations, there have been negative impacts on the economies of destinations worldwide.
So, what happens now? Do we go back to our unchecked ways when travel resumes?
We believe COVID‐19 is allowing the travel industry to reevaluate, readjust and reimagine the definition of sustainable travel and, as a result, what that could mean for the future of destination marketing.
Marketers should now measure success not only by how many people it booked to a particular destination, but in what condition those visitors left that destination— both ecologically and economically - after the trip was over.
Many signs are telling us that the future of travel is sustainable, but also that the definition of sustainability is evolving from “do no harm” to “do better.”
Those that lead the way will create thriving destinations for travelers and local communities alike, benefitting both the economy and the environment.
Sustainability is a sincere aspiration of many travelers and viewed as a moral imperative in our globally connected world. Both consumers and thought leaders increasingly insist that brands be environmentally responsible.
For example, Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, has called on businesses to prioritize sustainability. BlackRock has placed 191 businesses on a watch list and voted against 64 directors and 69 companies for climate‐related reasons.
“The more your firms are seen to embrace the climate transition and the opportunities it brings, the more the market will reward your firms with higher valuations,” wrote Fink in a letter to CEOs.
As people start releasing their pent‐up travel desires in the coming months, how can travel destination marketers leverage this momentum?
According to The Harris Poll, travel is the #1 splurge purchase North Americans are saving up for post‐pandemic and half of Americans are starting to plan or have already booked a 2021 summer vacation. Marketers should be blending management and marketing to create a singular tourism experience.
Here are key steps to take.
Set your ambitions, act to achieve them and communicate what you’re doing.
Be clear with your ambitions in joining in and promoting sustainable tourism. You don’t need to have achieved your ambitions yet, but you do need to articulate your actions and determine what you need to do to get there.
Join a sanctioning organization like the Future of Tourism Coalition or the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, or take steps to achieve the UN’s Certification for Sustainable Tourism (CST) accreditation.
Proactively communicate with tourists, local residents and the local business community about what you’re doing, how they too can help and how they could benefit from your efforts. And consider doing something big to connect with your target audience and differentiate from competitors.
In 2017, Vail Resorts announced its intention to achieve zero net emissions by 2030 and supported this goal with an extensive public relations effort.
Transform travelers from the problem into the solution.
According to Booking.com’s 2020 Sustainable Travel Insights, 82% of travelers think sustainable travel is important and 72% believe that travel companies should offer customers more sustainable travel choices.
And while these statistics are encouraging both ecologically and economically, many travelers don’t know how to go green or where to start. According to a National Geographic survey, only 15% of adults are sufficiently familiar with what sustainable travel actually means.
And 37% of travelers in the Booking.com report admit they don’t know how to make their travel more sustainable. Travelers clearly want to do better when they travel, but they need help to be sustainable. It’s in bridging this “good intentions gap” where marketers can play a critical role.
Rather than launch a generic campaign that just asks people to “be responsible” — which everyone can agree with and what you’re probably doing already — focus on recommending small behavior changes that can have an outsized impact.
To address the problem of overtourism, the Icelandic Tour Board put a sustainable lens on its existing “Inspired By Iceland” campaign. One component of this refresh was The Icelandic Pledge, a unique oath for tourists whereby they agree to respect Iceland's nature and to travel responsibly during their stay.
Among the pledges: “I will take photos to die for without dying for them” and “I will follow the road into the unknown, but never venture off the road.”
As part of the “Stay Wild” campaign, Jackson Hole Travel and Tourism Board urge visitors to replace the actual geographic location of their Instagram posts with “Tag Responsibly, Keep Jackson Hole Wild” to discourage people from following social media geotags.
This action helped reduce harmful traffic and unintended environmental harm to fragile nature areas, and also helped travelers stay on designated trails. At last count, the campaign had resulted in more than 900 million earned media impressions and demonstrated Jackson Hole’s leadership in sustainable travel.
Because of stress on the islands’ natural resources as a result of tourism, the Faroe Islands were “closed for maintenance, open for voluntourism” for two days in 2020.
All sites and attractions were only open to voluntourists and the locals who helped them perform tasks like maintaining paths, removing garbage and constructing signage.
The 11 sites that received help were determined by local citizens and farmers. For their commitment, the voluntourists were given free food and accommodations for three nights. The goal is to repeat and expand on this idea every year.
Make it easier to travel and explore responsibly in your market, from the ground up.
Tourism impacts all areas of the community, so think beyond your own industry by involving transportation authorities, energy partners, local farmers and others to find opportunities and reduce impact.
Organize and incentivize the local tourism community and local businesses to build more sustainable offerings, such as tours, accommodations, activities, menus and the like.
Costa Rica is an exceptional example of how successful sustainable tourism blends caring for the planet with creating a healthy local economy and actively seeking input from the local community. The country was awarded the United Nations’ highest environmental honor in 2019: UN Champion of the Earth.
It uses a remarkable 99.2% renewable energy and has seen massive tourism gains since 2019 due to ecotourism leadership. Costa Rica’s Certification for Sustainable Tourism (CST) rates businesses from 0 to 5 on green efforts and is recognized by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, which establishes and manages global standards for sustainable travel and tourism.
This year will offer more opportunities for travelers to reignite their traveling spirit. With your help, they’ll be able to reimagine it, too. Determine your ambition, work toward it and talk about it. Influence customer behavior by making small changes easy.
Partner with like‐minded individuals and groups to achieve greater strength in numbers and incentivize them to drive sustainability efforts.
All of these seemingly modest actions can result in a significant positive impact to promote sustainability and keep your destination accessible and beautiful for many years to come while building a strong economic foundation for the future.
Jim Hepple is an Assistant Professor at the University of Aruba and is Managing Director of Tourism Analytics.