The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and its partner, JLL, have worked in tandem to refresh and refine the original tourism readiness index to address new global issues in competitiveness and sustainability for tourism cities. The report, which is being unveiled at the WTTC Global Tourism Summit in Manila, Philippines this week to an audience of world leaders in tourism and private business.
The report includes new findings and recommendations for cities looking to sustain and grow the travel and tourism industry in a post-pandemic period.
Every year, between 2010 and 2019, travel and tourism grew faster than the global economy, thus enriching local communities and destinations at a faster rate than many other sectors. As one of the largest economic sectors globally, it accounted for 10.3% of global GDP and 1 in 10 jobs on the planet in 2019; and of the 1.5 billion international tourist arrivals recorded in 2019, 44% went to cities. As the world continues to urbanise, with 55% of the world’s population already living in cities, it is expected that cities will continue to be attractive places to live, do business and to discover as destinations.
Although COVID-19 has been devastating for Travel & Tourism, with GDP losses amounting to US$4.9 trillion and nearly 62 million jobs lost in 2020, people’s desire to travel and discover the world has remained unabated. In fact, travellers are increasingly seeking out secondary and tertiary destinations, showcasing the continued importance to prioritise destination readiness.
The index analysed 63 global cities across 75 different indicators and data points and eight different pillars including scale, concentration, safety & security, environmental readiness, leisure, business, urban readiness and policy prioritisation to determine key factors for tourism readiness. When indexed, those 75 data points, provided incredible insight into what truly makes a city ready for sustainable tourism growth. From the indexed outcomes five city typologies emerged:
The extensive number of indicators highlight the complexity of achieving tourism readiness, requiring cities to proactively address all data points included in the analysis. In effect, marketing and positioning are only one aspect to consider, with cities having to define and implement policies and strategies that will address issues from visitor flows and traveller safety to the diversification of segments and offerings, to successfully manage and sustainably grow their destinations.
1 Dawning Developers
These cities tend to have emerging tourism infrastructure, perhaps having placed less emphasis historically on their Travel and tourism sector. To date, these cities have experienced gradual tourism growth, but have lower levels of concentration. Such destinations often have a clean slate in planning long term tourism development with many opportunities ahead. Examples include Delhi and Riyadh.
2 Emerging Performers
These cities have experienced growing tourism momentum, enabled by emerging tourism infrastructure. This can provide tremendous opportunities for strategic development. However, some of these cities are characterised by a smaller scale, and should the speed of visitor arrivals outpace scale and capacity, destinations in this category may experience pressures and challenges such as overcrowding. Examples include Dubrovnik and Buenos Aires.
3 Balanced Dynamics
These cities have established tourism infrastructure and potential for further travel and tourism growth, across both leisure and business segments, whilst balancing scale and concentration. Examples include Auckland and Vancouver.
4 Mature Performers
These cities have strong leisure and/or business travel dynamics and an established tourism infrastructure. As these destinations look to further drive travel and tourism growth, they will need to proactively consider potential pressures as well as opportunities for diversification to avoid strains linked to visitor volumes. Examples include Berlin, Miami and Hong Kong.
5 Managing Momentum
These cities have historically had high growth momentum, supported by an established tourism infrastructure. Destinations within this typology are more likely than ‘Mature Performers’ to have already reached the stage of feeling the pressures of balancing scale and concentration as they continue to benefit from travel and tourism. Examples include Amsterdam, London and Las Vegas.