Sustainable tourism: where is the next junk destination?

In the last decades, the main objective of tourism destinations has been to address and mitigate the negative effects of phenomena such as overtourism and short-term stays, which have contributed to the development of unsustainable forms of mass tourism.

In 2020, with the tourism sector in crisis due to the global pandemic, it is necessary to adopt a broader vision, which on the one hand aims at a rapid global recovery and on the other hand uses this moment to restart in a more sustainable way ensuring a resilient growth in the long term. The importance of sustainable tourism development is stressed also at the European level, with specific reference to the following areas:

  • transports,
  • diversification of the offer to distribute tourist flows and fight seasonality,
  • enhancement of the European landscape and cultural diversity,
  • promotion of brands that certify products and services compatible with the environment.

Moreover, with the current health emergency, sustainability is not only an objective, indeed, it has become a prerequisite for the recovery of the tourism sector. This is justified also by the correlation between viral infection and high levels of air pollution, whose particulates act as carriers spreading the virus at higher rate.
Therefore, the best tourism destination in the Post-Covid recovery is not only sustainable according to the traditional criteria, but also safe and clean. As a result, competitive products and beautiful destinations are no longer the only guarantee conditions to attract tourists, especially until problems related to the pandemic persist. After the lockdown, for instance, it has been observed that smaller destinations have managed to cope better with the crisis, on the one hand by implementing marketing strategies aimed at reaching a valuable target and on the other hand by promoting a digital transformation of the sector.

At Twissen, we have observed how the crisis caused by Coronavirus has increased the gap between destinations. On the one hand those with better development policies, capable of attracting targets of valuable tourists and on the other hand the next junk destinations that, due to the lack of coordinated and long-term oriented development strategies, will suffer the consequences of future trends and will be obliged to host tourists who, in order to save money, choose low quality services.