On 20th April NECSTouR Director, Cristina Nuñez, gave an intervention in the "Supporting Tourism’s Recovery: Destination And Regional Perspectives" Webinar, moderated by Tim Fairhurst (Secretary General, ETOA) and alongside Petra Stušek (President, City Destinations Alliance) and Nico de Mol ( Account Manager Travel Trade, THE OTHER HOLLAND). The event aimed to explore the challenges and opportunities in public-private collaboration regarding strategic development of destinations and the visitor economy.
On behalf of NECSTouR, Cristina discussed public-private engagement for destinations as a mechanism for long term cooperation. She also underlined the opportunity to improve tourism governance for a better recovery at destination level through private-public-residents initiatives across the 7 Multiannual Financial Framework years.
- Why the European Multiannual Financial Framework could be our good starting point
There is a unique chance to break a tradition of visitor economy not much involved in European projects. We can improve this involvement if we manage to anchor our needs in the 1) National recovery plans – Next Generation EU 2) Regional strategies applying to European Structural and Investment Funds, specially the European Regional Development Fund Strategic priorities: “competitive and smarter, greener, connected, social, closer to citizens.”
We must ensure that tourism in the plan, in the budget and in the regional strategy to secure commitment and mechanism for participation, through projects which enable the greening and digital transition of our destinations.
In this context Cristina highlighted some of key points and the relevant NECSTouR initiatives:
- Better Places to Live Better Places to Visit
The Barcelona Declaration assumes the collective commitment of tourism and cultural heritage sectors towards the Sustainable Development Goals, showing what they can achieve by working closely together to benefit European citizens, cultural heritage, businesses, visitors and destinations.
Both Flora et Labora, an initiative of Visit Flanders, and Catalonia Deal for Responsible Tourism are examples of regions implementing the Better Places principles, which are now endorsed at the highest tourism political level. In these regions the marketing and management competencies are being merged, showing the evolution of Destination Marketing – and Management – Organisations.
Regarding the need to jointly define metrics to measure our performance and build policies based on such sound evidence, there is still room for improvement.
ToT Lab, a department of NECSTouR, delivers services based on data to Premium members. The goal is to solve specific and real problems hand in hand with DMOs´ technicians and share learnings between the members of the network. The approach is listen to what DMOs want to measure in order to deliver a policy solution to a challenge. This collaborative knowledge will define a useful indicators system going forward.
- NECSTouR Climate Action Plan
Concrete guidance is needed to build destinations’ resilience; we must prepare to respond to crises and mobilise the visitor economy ecosystem to take action for climate change and the journey to net zero as we see the emergency of switching to renewable energies.
Resilient destinations are those which are specially working for climate adaptation. This is why NECSTouR's Climate Action Plan is essential and will be launched with experts at our Annual General Meeting in May.
Another way to prepare is by attracting technological talent to the tourism sector in order to innovate, to see destinations as hubs for innovation and talent so that they better respond when a crisis arrives. Recent research delivered by ToT Lab for the Valencia Region is helping to create actionable methodologies in this area.
NECSTouR is proud of this continued cooperation with ETOA and looks forward to bringing the great efforts shown in the webinar into action, by building a sustainable tourism community, capitalising success, and facilitating access to finance projects for the benefit of the visitor economy.