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Is Your City or Destination Ready for Sustainable Tourism? JLL and the WTTC Made a List

Is your city or destination ready for sustainable tourism? JLL along with WTTC released a new report last week, ‘Destination 2030: Global cities’ readiness for sustainable tourism growth’, which measured 63 global cities, which were then categorized into one of five levels of “readiness.” The readiness categories were determined by analyzing data on 75 indicators within eight pillars: scale, concentration, leisure, business, urban readiness, policy prioritization, environmental readiness, and safety and security. Right, so that sounds like a lot of data and information, which is why we've reached out to Bethanie DeRose, Senior Vice President within JLL's Hotels and Hospitality Tourism Practice for the lowdown and to learn what she thinks are the key takeaways for hoteliers.

Bethanie DeRose, Senior Vice President, JLL Hotels & Hospitality
Bethanie DeRose, Senior Vice President, JLL Hotels & Hospitality

Hi Bethanie, thanks for taking the time to chat about Destination 2030. First, give us a bit of background on why it is important to gather this data.

As one of the largest economic sectors globally, Travel and Tourism accounted for 10.3% of global GDP and 1 in 10 jobs on the planet, pre-pandemic. Our industry is proving to be incredibly resilient through global recovery. This report aims to answer what is next for tourism growth and what policymakers, destination leaders, and stakeholders can do to enhance the sector’s readiness with actionable ideas.

Great idea to gather the data and think through how destinations can prepare on a global scale, as we've learned from the pandemic, everything is so interconnected. When you looked at the data, five typologies emerged? Yes, as we looked at destinations ranging from emerging to established-market tourism hubs with varying levels of infrastructure, we then put them into five typologies and offered recommendations for building and maintaining tourism activity based on their current situation. Although the five typologies will require different approaches to development, no one typology is better than another. Here are the five with example destinations:

  • Dawning Developers, such as New Delhi and Riyadh, are cities with emerging tourism infrastructure, slower tourism growth, and lower visitor concentration. Such destinations often have a clean slate in planning long-term tourism development with many opportunities ahead.

  • Emerging Performers, such as Dubrovnik and Buenos Aires, are cities that are experiencing growing tourism momentum, enabled by emerging tourism infrastructure, and providing tremendous opportunities for strategic development. However, destinations in this category may experience pressures and challenges such as overcrowding.

  • Balanced Dynamics, such as Auckland and Vancouver, are cities that have established tourism infrastructure and potential for further travel and tourism growth, across both leisure and business segments, whilst balancing scale and concentration.

  • Mature Performers, such as Miami, Berlin, and Hong Kong, are cities with strong leisure and/or business travel dynamics and 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.

  • Managing Momentum, such as Amsterdam, London, and Las Vegas, are cities with historically 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.

How useful for hoteliers to understand where their hotels sit within the larger context of their destinations and the world. What would be your top three takeaways for hoteliers?

  • Hotels need to be connected to the destination experience. Connected takes on a few meanings:

    • to the destination brand – leaning into culture and experience

    • to destination policymakers and leaders – hotels are a crucial component of a destination’s competitiveness and should be a big voice when it comes to advocating for policy or product development that would benefit the destination. Hotels that have invested in a place should be heard when city leaders are planning the future and considering tourism as a major aspect of the city’s economy.

    • in a literal sense – mobility and connectivity as well as safety and security were indicators included in the index that have become increasingly important to visitors. Cities are trying to become more pedestrian-friendly with transportation solutions, but it is costly and takes time. Wherever the hotels can offer transportation and mobility solutions is a value add to the destination. It could be bike share, scooters, regular shuttle service, etc. the need for visitors to get around is important and their ability to do that easily and safely is important.

  • Hotels as a destination within the destination. The index included 75 data points important to cities planning for tourism, but you could apply those 75 data points to hotels themselves. Is the hotel a destination worthy of visiting and not just staying in? What does it offer to attract visitors and what is its strategy to improve the overall visitor experience?

  • Hotel sustainability practices. Sustainability has become a huge topic and was obviously included in the index. Travelers are making decisions with sustainability in mind at the destination level and the hotel level. WTTC just launched the Hotel Sustainability Basics in tandem with our report. As hotels get more ingrained into those practices, it is important to communicate that to add value to the destination brand. Then destination marketers can leverage sustainability to travelers who are demanding action and transparency.

Thank you, Bethanie! To access the full JLL x WTTC report, click here.


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