The Travel Foundation has launched pioneering research to understand the ‘true’ value of different tourist markets within a destination. Their findings will inform a new approach in sustainable destination management, which focusses not only on visitor numbers, but also on the costs and benefits of different types of tourism.
Starting in Tenerife, they will be looking at how the destination’s economy, environment and socio-cultural heritage are impacted by different tourism market segments. Tenerife provides a perfect context for the research, as it attracts a diverse range of tourists looking to enjoy very different holiday experiences. Therefore, it will provide opportunities to measure and compare the different impacts of different segments.
Salli Felton, CEO at the Travel Foundation said: “Part of growing tourism sustainably is ensuring the right mix of tourists – those who will bring the greatest value and have the least negative impacts to your destination. In most cases, there will be no single ‘ideal’ target market that can deliver all the benefits. Rather, some will contribute most to the local economy, others might have the smallest environmental footprint, etc. Until now, destination authorities have had to rely mostly on guesswork and assumption to get the balance right. A more robust approach is needed and by undertaking this research Tenerife is at the vanguard of destination management.”
This will be the first time that such comprehensive analysis of its kind has been conducted and has the potential to be replicated in destinations across the world. This research builds on the Travel Foundation’s ground-breaking pilot study with PwC, ‘Measuring the Impacts of Tourism,’ which demonstrated the social, economic and environmental effects of the tourism industry across eight hotels and their supply chains in Cyprus.
Alberto Bernabe, Tourism Minister for Tenerife, said: “Tourism is one of the most important economic sectors for Tenerife with a record five and a half million tourists visiting last year. While it brings so many positives to the island, we also need to be mindful of the pressures and to manage tourism development for the long term. This research will enable us to make informed planning decisions for an even better and more sustainable future for tourism.”
The Travel Foundation has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Tenerife Government and the findings of the research will be available in 2018. The Travel Foundation is looking to expand this research to other destinations and is open to expressions of interest.