24 Jun 2020
Reactivation phase. Post-Covid Tourism.
The return to activity in the tourism sector. A change towards quality tourism and not mass tourism.
In Spain, during 2019, 82 million tourists arrived, which meant that the destination had still reached its peak. This high number of tourists and visitors, especially in the holiday season of so-called sun and beach tourism had a direct impact on #sustainability. Although the sector had already begun to take action by implementing strategies aimed at mitigating the environmental impact of this mass tourism, this stage of recession caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift towards a more sustainable tourist destination and a change in the model that will be noticed in the coming months. Different tourist destinations have already begun to issue advertising campaigns and tourist proposals that are very different from those that have been known up to now. The investment in reputation is higher and directly oriented towards a hygienic and safety perspective to show the benefits of a peaceful destination. These promotional campaigns have initially been aimed at the domestic and local market and will continue in a second stage to attract European tourists now that the borders in the countries of the area have been opened Schengen.
In this new phase of resumption, in which the various restrictions have already been lifted, tourist destinations are working to strengthen the sector as a whole and to develop more sustainable tourism. Although quality and quantity are not entirely incompatible, the debate on the strategy to be applied by the different territories has opened up an internal debate on how to apply them, since generalisations are not adapted to the particularities of certain areas. The post-Covid tourist will continue to be very demanding and will demand different experiences where the key aspect will be security. Contact with nature and open spaces are some of the first preferences in the demand. Encouraging this quality and sustainable tourism must also be economically accessible and we must use imagination, innovation and new technologies to create new products and services. It is a good time to work on these aspects that will end up being very positive for the sector.
It is a complicated year for tourism and marketing strategies are essential to boost the mood for travel. It will be an important year to adapt to the needs of the tourist. This season, the behavior of the tourist or visitor will be different. In the first reservations detected, a change in habits has already been noted. Although August remains the preferential month, this season the state of alarm has made leave a little aside July and the preferences of tourists are concentrated in the month of September. According to a study carried out by Ipsos, the objectives of tourists this season are oriented towards coastal destinations. 29% have chosen the coast, while 19% have chosen city tourism. Andalucia, Catalonia and Valencian Community were the first tourist destinations to make reservations. Once they arrive at the destination it will be essential to make them feel safe with the different measures and protocols that guarantee their protection.
The European Union is carrying out a policy of recovery of the tourism industry by promoting a coordinated reduction of restrictions, prioritizing the safety and confidence of travellers.
One of the main challenges of the sector will be the digital transformation of the proposals into a new tourist experience that can correspond to what the client is expecting. Some sectors have already begun to reactivate themselves in recent weeks, although they do so at a slower pace.
In the case of business tourism, professional fairs and congresses are beginning to return with a series of security measures. The Ministry of Health, social agents and the Institute for Tourism Quality (ICTE), among other bodies, already have the established protocol that has been agreed upon. A common aspect of all segments, regardless of the established regulations, is to guarantee hygiene and safety measures such as the use of face masks or the recommendation of frequent washing of the cloaks and the provision of hydro-alcoholic solutions at entry and exit points or at visitors’ crossing points. In this way, the aim is to speed up the economic recovery by getting the trade fair and congress activity up and running.
In a more domestic environment, the return to educational and leisure activities with the implementation of summer centres for children has also been a positive note this week. In spite of the restrictions that cover the development of these traditional summer activities just after the school year, many families have managed to find an outlet for the time of confinement during the spring to regain the social relationships that, although at a distance, are so necessary for child and adolescent development. The different entities that coordinate leisure activities have already set up different programmes that are mainly carried out in open spaces and that comply with the hygiene and safety standards set by the Ministry of Health or by the Regional Ministries of Health and Education in each community. Although the reality of the number of participants in these programmes is far from previous years, both for the leisure sector and for families it has been a positive step towards a return to “normality”. In this sense, programmes and activities have been adapted which, in spite of being restricted and not encouraging large excursions and group outings, serve to enable participants to begin to interact in groups and recover social contact and activity. Nothing is as expected anymore and the resilience of the different economic, social, cultural sectors … has been put to the test all these last months