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WTTC Releases Guidelines for Tourism Destinations to Become More Sustainable

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

The “Enhancing Resilience to Create Sustainability in Destinations” report was released during the WTTC’s Sustainability and Investment Forum that took place in San Juan, Puerto Rico, earlier in June. The report was jointly created with ICF, WTTC’s industry partner and a renowned global consultancy and digital services provider.

The innovative analysis builds on real life case studies and presents a range of resilience actions for destinations before, during or aftershock events such as Covid-19.

It provides five elementsthat destinations should focus on to build both resilience and long-term sustainability:

  • environment resilience refers to the capacity of an environment to resist damage and recover quickly from disasters
  • infrastructure resilience relates to accommodation and transportation infrastructure and support facilities that enable the travel and tourism economy to work efficiently
  • energy resilience is about a destination’s ability to ensure a reliable, regular supply of energy
  • water resilience refers to a destination’s ability to ensure a reliable, regular and sustainably sourced supply of fresh-water for recreational use
  • societal resilience focuses on people and social entities’ ability to deal with environmental, economic and social threats.

The WTTC’s report offers four phases to analyse the shock and its aftermath:

1. understand the risks as far as possible
2. prepare appropriately for each type of shock
3. implement protocols to minimise the impact and duration of the threat
4. apply learnings to ensure growth and development addresses longer term goals and to embed resilience in sustainability planning.

The report also 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.

Source: “Enhancing Resilience to Create Sustainability in Destinations” report, WTTC

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.

“This report allows destinations to understand how to better prepare, act, and plan for future risks, strengthening their resilience and long-term sustainability,” WTTC President & CEO Julia Simpson said.

“The pandemic has taught us you can never be prepared enough… Puerto Rico is an example of a destination that learned through Covid and natural disasters to become more inherently resilient,” she added.

The full “Enhancing Resilience to Create Sustainability in Destinations” report can be found here.

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