ETC’s Recommendations for NTOs in the name of Sustainability and Digital Transformation

The European Travel Commission (ETC) published a report named “The changing tourism environment and its impact on the work of NTOs”, which on the one hand analyses the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on National Tourism Organisations (NTOs), on the other hand, it provides insights and recommendations for sustainable tourism development, to help ensure life improvement for local communities and respect for the environment while still providing great experiences to tourists.
The pandemic changed NTOs’ focus on different priorities, including domestic marketing, crisis management, providing support for SMEs and developing digital solutions.

Figure 1.  ETC’s Vision and Framework for Action for Europe’s NTOs, 2021-2030 

Figure 1 shows “The ETC Vision for Europe’s NTOs” , followed by a related set of strategic objectives which contribute to most of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
NTOs, whose role as leaders and coordinators of the tourism sector is strongly highlighted in the report, have to focus their vision for the 2020s on three key aspects

  • sustainability in the long-term
  • strong destination management processes and practices
  • digital transformation

This last point, reported also as “smart tourism”, involves the implementation of new digital applications to improve efficiency, sustainability, and integration within the whole sector. The benefits of technological improvements are multiple: improved intelligence for destination management’s policy and planning, more efficient use of resources, more efficient in-destination transports, better marketing and sales operations, enhanced visitor experience.
The first step to smart tourism, according to the ETC, should be the creation and implementation of a detailed plan for digital transformation, in collaboration with government departments and agencies and consistently with other sectors. Of course, the NTO itself has to go through the process of digital transformation to show its leadership and inspire other players of the tourism sector.
Tourism organisations at national, regional and local level should cooperate to establish a common platform for tourism applications, as well as a common data hub to collect data from multiple sources. 

At Twissen, we observed that the creation of new partnerships between public and private stakeholders as well as among destinations, together with data collection, are critical for those NTOs and DMOs who want to quickly recover and build a long-term sustainable strategy. Moreover, as we already reported, now more than ever, the digital transformation process in the tourism sector requires reskilling and upskilling programmes engaging education and training institutions. 

Download the full ETC report here.