Restart tourism: bounce back or bounce forward?

2021 might be the year where we see the first signs of travel and tourism’s recovery. Societies have become adapted to social distancing, measures are more tailored to local situations and large-scale vaccination programs are in progress. On the consumer side, various studies show that the intention to travel is remarkable strong. Moreover, consumers had little opportunity to consume resulting in a record high level of savings which they may possibility spend at large on tourism and travel as well.

Rebuilding tourism for the future

A question that keeps many of us in the tourism industry busy is: “How will the restart of tourism and travel look like?” Earlier we shared our scenarios on the future of tourism after COVID-19. When discussing our scenarios, we often ask people to reflect on the scenarios by asking two questions:

  1. What do you think is the most realistic option?
  2. What is the most desirable option?

Building Back Better in tourism: bounce forward

What people often see as a desirable option fits in with understanding of “Build Back Better”: sustainable, responsible and/or regenerative tourism. These understandings differ substantially from current models that revolve around tourism numbers, tourism spend, jobs and income. It sees tourism as a means for community development and placemaking, creating better places for people to live in, and better places to visit. It requires rethinking tourism and travel in order to bounce forward to this desirable option.

How can tourism bounce back?

What people often see as the realistic option includes the more traditional models of tourism and destination development. This is usually described by terms as growth, mass tourism, social impact, environmental impact and overtourism. People want to travel, businesses want to make up for their losses and the public sector is reluctant to impose additional rules and regulations to the industry to make up for economic losses, etc. 

Ready for the future with our unique strategic foresight method

All in all, strategic visions on tourism futures to achieve and tourism futures to avoid are critical in times of change. We can help amongst others by means of scenario planning and strategic foresight and our understandings of resilient destinations and destination governance. Do not hesitate to contact us.

Ask your question to Stefan

Stefan can help you determine a future-proof strategy.