The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has published a new report on practical guidelines and case studies to support destinations in becoming more resilient and sustainable.

The report, ‘Enhancing Resilience to Create Sustainability in Destinations’, jointly created with ICF, was released at the WTTC’s Sustainability and Investment Forum taking place in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Following the last two years of chaos brought on by the almost complete halt to international travel, no tourism destination has been untouched by the impact of COVID-19.

And, many destinations have also been affected by major shocks, such as extreme weather.

To support and guide destinations, this innovative analysis builds on real life case studies and presents a range of resilience actions for destinations before, during or aftershock events.

The report provides five elements destinations should focus on to build both resilience and long-term sustainability: environment, infrastructure, energy, economic, and societal resilience.

It offers four phases to analyze the shock and its aftermath: understand the risk, prepare for shocks, respond to shock and longer term strategies.

It presents case studies illustrating how destinations which rely heavily on tourism, whether they are cities or islands, deserts or tropics, apply resilience awareness.

Puerto Rico is one of the destinations featured as a case study, highlighting the string of environmental crises and economic challenges that have made resilience a cornerstone of their tourism strategy.

Key learnings underline the importance of small businesses, identifying risks and implementing initiatives to handle any potential crisis.

Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, said: “COVID has had a devastating impact, decimating the Travel & Tourism sector around the world. But it’s certainly not the first shock to bring chaos destinations and their citizens.”

Simpson continued: “This report allows destinations to understand how to better prepare, act, and plan for future risks, strengthening their resilience and long-term sustainability.”

WTTC’s boss noted that: “The pandemic has taught us you can never be prepared enough. Destinations have learnt not only from their own experiences, and those of other countries as they recover and build back.”

And she added: “Puerto Rico is an example of a destination that learned through COVID and natural disasters to become more inherently resilient.”

Lastly, the report offers recommendations identified as key for destinations in their journey to improve their resilience: developing successful governance models, ensuring ownership and shared value, and preparation and processes for the next shock.



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