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At the Intersection of Tourism, Sustainability and Labor

Issue 2: September 2021 (1,212 words/5 Minutes)


It’s great to have you here.

For every issue, I will be sharing my different perspectives on the tourism industry and what is happening. We will look at some of the trends and issues impacting the industry, the winners and losers. As well we will look at some of the emerging opportunities and critical issues impacting the industry.

I hope you enjoy it, and most importantly, it gives you some thoughts and ideas and a different perspective for your organization.

The world and within it the tourism industry have changed quickly and in unexpected ways. To adapt or be left behind, the concept of destination management is taking center stage. The subject had been raised in several worldwide destinations before the pandemic, mainly in the context of “overtourism,” such as crowding and traffic. Now with the COVID pandemic, discussions of destination management have been hastened and broadened to include natural resources, climate change, community quality of life, and now an emerging and persistent labor shortage. Relatedly, destination residents, many of whom are tourism workers, and local government are more visibly disgruntled with tourism as it had been before the pandemic.

The overarching theme of these issues is sustainability. Sustainable tourism is defined by the UN Environment Program and UN World Tourism Organization as "tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment, and host communities."

The tourism industry is expressing increased awareness and need for sustainability. Most tourism conferences will feature sessions on what sustainability is and how to address related issues. While many DMOs are considering sustainable approaches and programs.

Let’s start with the issue of labor and pay. A critical element of sustainability is a healthy labor force, supported by fair wages and benefits, opportunities for advancement and a s