Revamping the Tourism Sector (Part 4)

A key challenge in the implementation of the measures outlined in the previous edition is the need to ensure that support reaches the real economy and is accessible to businesses and families in a simple and effective manner. Considering the high impact of the crisis, as well as the fact that tourism is a labour-intensive sector, policymakers should consider specific programmes to support tourism; namely, in restarting the sector (adaptation of new protocols) and recovery.
At this time, it is critical to invest in human capital and talent through special programmes, and capacity-building on digital skills, health protocols, etc; whole government approach (coordination among relevant ministries: such as Finance, Health, Labour, Foreign Affairs, Transport, Tourism; Culture, Youth and Sport etc).
Measures should ensure solidarity, and leave no one behind, with particular support to the vulnerable groups (informal workers, women and youth), but also developing countries, especially those who heavily rely on tourism. It is essential to pinpoint lessons learned and elaborate a roadmap to respond to future shocks as to build resilience in the sector. All measures and recovery plan should be fully aligned with the SDGs and 2030 agenda.
Governments and other stakeholders can assist destinations and the tourism industry in improving their competitiveness in the world tourism market through policies, practices and targeted programmes including:
1. Policies and an institutional framework that contribute to a business environment conducive to growth.
These policies should include stable macroeconomic and well-designed structural policies in areas that impinge on sustainable tourism. These include but are not limited to employment and education, SMEs and entrepreneurship, sustainable development, transport infrastructure, local development, culture and creative industries, trade and investment and safety and security. To take full advantage of the potential of tourism development, a strong public sector management and a multi-actor system of governance should support tourism, notably by:
* Establishing a comprehensive policy framework;
* Promoting a coherent policy framework through a “whole government” approach; and
* Implementing evaluation and performance assessment of government policies and programmes affecting tourism development.
2. Targeted programmes
Participants considered that in designing targeted programmes, governments in OECD member and non-member countries should consider market failure arguments and subsidiarity when formally evaluating government programmes. Appropriate programmes may include:
Stimulate innovation mechanisms, productivity-based growth and quality by:
* Promoting the sharing of innovative practices in terms of organization, entrepreneurship or process (e.g. new distribution channels) development for a better use of existing capacities, higher labour productivity and a rejuvenation of the tourism supply (e.g. new products);
* Encouraging SMEs to align their offer with the consumer’s expectation by promoting high quality standards in comfort and services through tourism accreditations; and
* Facilitating co-operation, the creation of networks and building of clusters in the field of tourism to achieve economies of scale and scope.
Improving and promoting the attractiveness of employment in tourism by:
* Influencing improvements in the tourism labour market to create attractive working places;
* Increasing the entrepreneurial / management capacity of tourism SMEs through appropriate support and training programmes;
* Promoting training and skills development through education and vocational training, on the-job-training and transfer of knowledge from research institutions to practitioners; and
* Encouraging partnership among enterprises of offer better career perspectives.
Enhancing and promoting the uniqueness of the destination by:
* Developing long-term programmes that promote the authenticity of tourism experiences, through the preservation and enhancement of natural and cultural resources and local cultures;
* Supporting destinations in the rejuvenation of the tourism offers through appropriate financial, regulatory, technical measures and by a positive business environment to attract investment in tourism; and
* Positioning the destination in international markets through new techniques and branding and well-targeted promotional efforts to create attention and attract visitors.
Making tourism development more energy efficient and sustainable through:
* Stimulating investments in energy efficient travel and tourism facilities and services in order to minimize costs and increase profitability of tourism-related resources such as climate, water, landscapes and biodiversity; and
* Mitigating the impacts of greenhouse gases by using technological progress and market driven mechanism in the field of tourism related infrastructure, facilities, operations and processes.
Reducing obstacles to the development of tourism by:
* Pursuing the reforms of air transport services as a way to improve efficiency and reducing costs, while maintaining quality of services and extending regional and international connections;
* Supporting, especially in less developed countries, investment in infrastructure (airports, harbours, electricity and water and sewage) and related services (communication, technology) to meet the needs of increasing tourist arrivals; and
* Suppressing unnecessary regulatory and administrative impediments to travel and tourism mobility and simplifying and harmonizing them.
Building up tourism knowledge by:
* Developing and promoting a system of information and statistical tools which cover the wide range of economic, social and environmental tourism-related questions, meet the demand of tourism stakeholders and support business and policy decision making; and
* Raising government and other stakeholder awareness of the nature of tourism’s contribution to economies and society and by ensuring an effective dissemination of research and information to governments and industry stakeholders, e.g. through ICT networks and regular publications.
About the Author: JC. Bhagwandin is an economic and financial analyst, lecturer and business & financial consultant. The views expressed are exclusively his own and do not necessarily represent those of this newspaper and the institutions he represents. For comments, send to [email protected]