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CoopCulture for CROSSDEV: Tourism will not be the same. Time to get ready.

Past, present and future of international tourism: data, emerging trends and new scenarios of one of the sector.

Because of the pandemic crisis, tourism has almost stopped everywhere. According to UNWTO, in 2020 world international touristic arrivals were reduced up to 72% compared to 2019.

We are living a sort of tourism revolution starting phase: old algorithms don’t work anymore. There is no valid data after Covid-19. External factors heavily impacted tourism world-wide: travel restrictions, slow virus containment, low consumer confidence, economic environment, and so on.


While proximity tourism could be an answer right at the beginning of the pandemic emergency, it’s agreed that this attitude cannot work in the long run. The industry as we know it cannot survive with that kind of limited income alone.

In tourism, everything is changing:

  • Who?  locals vs international tourists
  • Where?  outdoor experiences vs big, crowded cities
  • How?  auto organised travels with touchless systems
  • Why?  new values and priorities arose: safety, flexibility, work-ation (a mix of work and vacation)

It’s time to rethink and redesign tourism but, according to Destination Think, it’s still too soon. In an imaginary road map after Coronavirus, we are still in the mitigation phase. Hopefully, in a few months, we will be able to restart and reimagine.

In a recent webinar, Italian tourism expert Roberta Milano, underlined the importance of a new trend arising: the NEVERENDING TOURISM (watch here, in Italian). It’s the opposite of the pre-Covid “hit and run tourism” and basically it means to extend the touristic experience to before and after the real journey. How? Thanks to online contents: cooking courses, podcasts and tips are used to go beyond the traditional offer and to create a strong relationship with the destination.

We are living a new era, as stated by the brilliant Copenhagen’s campaign: The end of tourism as we know it. We need new strategies, new efforts for Destination Management Organisations, and new keywords.  Among these: localhood. Travellers look for experiences, no longer only for photo opportunities. New destinations will be human-centred.

What to do while waiting for the lift of travel restrictions?

As for CROSSDEV, we’re keeping all partners involved and connected via remote collaboration and we stay in touch with future tourists and local communities involved in our project through a number of activities such as workshops, webinars, awareness campaigns and social media. At the same time, we’re creating tourism experiences for (hopefully) soon-to-come visitors.

We’re living in strange, unpredictable times. But we’re looking at the future together.

This crisis is an opportunity to rethink the tourism sector and its contribution to the people and planet; an opportunity to build back better towards a more sustainable, inclusive and resilient tourism sector that ensure the benefits of tourism are enjoyed widely and fairly.


Zurab Pololikashvili,
UNWTO Secretary-General

The original contribution of the article, "Tourism will never be the same. Time to prepare". it is also available in the News section of the official Crossdev website.

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