The health crisis has paralyzed tourism activity, but not the commitment of the people, associations and companies that believe in sustainable tourism. We have found an opportunity to reflect and share ideas and proposals thanks to initiatives such as #TurismoReset, a community of professionals in the tourism sector committed to a new model of tourism development, more sensitive to the environmental challenges facing today’s society.
Olédays has adhered to this Manifesto for the regeneration of the tourism sector through a socially equitable, environmentally respectful and economically sustainable model:
#TurismoReset is a community made up of professionals from different profiles, origins and interests, which reflect the transversal nature of the tourism sector. A group that has come together under the common goal of thinking and working for a new model of tourism development, in accordance with the challenges presented by this new situation. A vision of work that is truly sustainable and responsible, capable of facing the great challenges faced not only by the sector, but also by society as a whole.
We are faced with a situation in which unity is essential. At the same time, a greater plurality of visions and opinions is lacking in the public debate in the sector, in relation to the best way out of the crisis. In this context of uncertainty, it is convenient not only to take into account the short term and actions in a conjunctural key, aimed at recovering the previous levels as soon as possible. It is also essential to have a broader view, a necessary long-term vision, in a structural key, that understands and corrects what was not being done well in many destinations. In this sense, #TurismoReset has become a space for collaboration and dialogue, strengthening relations between actors and working collectively in the search for regenerative solutions for the industry.
The current COVID-19 health crisis represents a turning point in our lives, which will affect some activities more than others. There seems to be a general consensus that tourism will be one of the last sectors to recover and, in a situation as difficult as this, it is more necessary than ever to identify opportunities. Despite the fact that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and sustainability in general are very present in the debate, it is necessary to go a step further and propose concrete ideas and actions, designed in terms of Public Administration, the socioeconomic fabric of destinations, resident population and visitors.
Tourism must take a proactive role in this crisis, becoming a leading agent of change. It is called to be a sector that:
- Catalyze socioeconomic development, taking into account not only economic aspects, but also social, educational or cultural indicators.
- Promote equality and decent working conditions, which serve as an example to other sectors of the economy.
- Generate improvements in people’s quality of life, based on respect for and conservation of environmental resources and biodiversity, reducing their contribution to climate change.
- Preserve and enhance the cultural identity of each territory.
- Embrace governance as the foundation of management with local communities at the center of planning.
Right now it is worth asking ourselves if we want the same exponential growth in which we were immersed, where the quantitative dimension has prevailed over the qualitative one. We must take advantage of this moment of pause to understand the implications of a continuous increase in the number of travelers, without paying attention to the effects that are produced in the environment and biodiversity, as well as in the communities and their ways of life. It is essential to introduce concepts such as carrying capacity and growth limits into the debate, so as to minimize environmental impacts while maximizing the social profitability of the model.
For all these reasons, in this period of urgency and crisis, this group of Tourism Professionals for the Regeneration of the Sector considers it necessary to raise their voices from serenity and conviction. We defend that it is necessary to give a new direction to the future of tourism, which is consolidated on the pillars of a new model around the needs of people and respect for the environment.
With this objective, and as a result of a process of collective reflection, we have drawn up the following list of priority actions. A starting point that we intend to serve as a roadmap for professionals and administrations and that, in turn, will be developed through multidisciplinary work groups:
1. SOCIOECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CATALYST
- Prioritize tourism models that take into account the well-being of people, residents and visitors, generating fair and equitable opportunities for socioeconomic development for local communities.
- Support the creation of employment and entrepreneurship based on local and proximity consumption, so that tourism truly becomes a catalyst for development and prosperity for communities.
- Promote a change in tourist consumption and mobility patterns to adapt them to a more local economy, where quality prevails over quantity, with special attention to avoiding overcrowding and overexploitation of resources.
- Reject and denounce those tourist practices that involve the exploitation of people and animals, promoting equality and respect for human rights, and in particular of the most vulnerable population groups.
- Emphasize the analysis of the evolution of the sector with qualitative parameters over quantitative ones, proposing social measurement indicators complementary to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
2. DECENT AND EQUAL LABOR CONDITIONS
- Incorporate the gender perspective in tourism planning and sectoral policies, with the aim of promoting effective equal opportunities in the sector.
- Carry out actions for the promotion of leadership, visibility and encouragement of entrepreneurship among women and the implementation of good practices of family and personal reconciliation, both for men and women, within human resources policies.
- Ensure inclusive, social and accessible tourism, guaranteeing the right of all people to enjoy tourism and decent employment that generates development opportunities for vulnerable groups.
- Promote employment policies that favor fair working conditions, facilitate the training of human resources and research into sustainability and innovation.
- Promote an ambitious Corporate Social Responsibility strategy within tourism institutions and companies, communicating to tourists the fulfillment of the commitments made.
3. PROTECTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND CLIMATE CHANGE
- Promote local production and consumption circuits in the supply of tourist destinations through “Km 0” products.
- Increase the awareness work of destinations by developing campaigns and education materials for sustainability specific to the local problems of each destination and for the different recipients (tour operators, local population and tourists).
- Reduce the use of plastic throughout the tourism value chain (hotels, restaurants, tour companies, transportation, guides, etc.).
- Extend the information on CO2 emissions generated to all services related to tourism.
- Promote actions to protect natural resources and conserve biodiversity.
4. CULTURAL IDENTITY OF THE TERRITORY
- Make tourism models visible that generate differential added value based on the cultural identity of destinations.
- Generate spaces for integration and coexistence between the visitor and the host in order to avoid processes of acculturation, loss of social identity and tourism-phobia.
- Betting on travel experiences based on relational factors, where the set of interactions with the destination communities forms part of the traveler’s vital experience.
- Educate, educate and sensitize tourists so that they are aware of the cultural footprint they leave on the destination, as important as the environmental one.
- Involve all tourist agents and the value chain of destinations in the conservation of tangible and intangible cultural heritage as a sign of identity, promoting its conservation and respectful diffusion.
5. GOVERNANCE OF TOURISM
- Placing strategic planning based on citizen participation as the central axis of territorial development so that local communities decide who they want to be and direct their own future.
- Establish permanent bodies, representative of the tourism sector and local society, for public consultation and decision-making.
- Encourage the creation of public-private collaboration institutions and projects.
- Enable permanent and formal information tools that include the exchange of information between professionals and that adjust, in formats and language, to different profiles related to tourism.
- Create open data spaces where administrations, companies, universities and independent professionals dump and share the data they generate anonymously.