By: Alyssa Poulin, Destinations International
Seasoned Destinations International members will be familiar with our four cornerstones which support the important work we do: Community, Advocacy, Research and Education.
Now, as we ring in the New Year (and as Destination International’s Senior Manager of Advocacy & Research Content) I am proud to present this year’s Significant Issues and Strategic Opportunities.
These eight themes, four industry-focused and four globally-focused, will weave a consistent thread throughout the content we craft for you this year. As we have learned all too well, there is a sweet spot of strategically planning and leaving enough wiggle room to adapt to new issues as they crest and fall. And, by presenting themes at the front end of 2022, we hope you will view them as a syllabus for what you can expect to gain from our team this year.
Industry Significant Issues and Strategic Opportunities
The four Industry Significant Issues and Strategic Opportunities will prompt us to determine how we will respond to the strategic opportunities each of these industry-specific concerns presents to us at our destination organizations.
Content and education in this area will center around the myriad ways destinations can increase their competitiveness by aligning government, community and industry priorities. We will cover the importance of destination organizations acting as the community brand manager to promote the community as a destination to live, work and visit. We will highlight methods and case studies for Becoming a Community Shared Value.
In three buckets, this theme is about Economic, Environmental and Societal Sustainability. Content in this area will offer your organization opportunities to curate more immersive destination experiences, manage sustainable visitor growth, promote equitable economic development, preserve and improve the environment, and elevate quality of life, leading to quality of place.
Value Based Action
To improve your destination’s overall visitor experience, you must familiarize yourself with what your local communities value and how your residents are striving to achieve their collective goals. How can your destination go beyond just being known to being known for something? Here, we’ll prioritize aligning the values of our industry with the values of your constituents so you can most effectively promote the creative, cultural, and community energy unique to your destination.
Content in this theme will help you build your organization’s resilience so it can withstand global disruptions like the COVID-19 pandemic and emerge stronger with an engaged workforce, increased community presence and a larger visitor market share.
Globally Significant Issues and Strategic Opportunities
Our next four Significant Issues and Strategic Opportunities take a global view of issues impacting our world and ask us to consider how we, at our destination organizations, might move the needle in answering four universal problems that affect the landscape beyond the confines of our industry.
If you have been following current events alongside the rest of us, these four themes have been seeping into your consciousness for some time now. This year as we all respond to these issues, our team offers the research and support you need to influence the likelihood of your organization’s success.
Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
To reach its full potential, your organization must develop its brand in a way that represents everyone and every aspect of your destination. This involves cultivating a unified community where everyone is welcome, and reshaping existing power structures, so that systemically marginalized voices are consistently valued. We will showcase ways to transform your destination through thought leadership, best practices and tools based on equity, diversity and inclusion principles through an anti-racist lens to empower your organization to be a true reflection of your community.
If destinations are to succeed in creating, sustaining, and retaining a viable workforce that can support the current and future needs of the travel industry and their local community, they will need to approach workforce development holistically. We will offer stories that inspire creativity, innovation, and collaboration to serve as the hallmarks of successful activities, policies, and programs in your destination.
We now know that the extent of the effects of climate change will vary over time and across regions, as will the ability of societal and environmental systems to mitigate or adapt to change. As destination stewards, we must be on the front line of working to slow the pace of change and help our communities adapt where possible. Content in this area will explore ways to equitably respond to climate change in the role of stewards of our destinations.
Destination organizations, with their global presence, focus on people meeting people, and access to data, are uniquely positioned to support their destinations in defining and navigating a post-pandemic future. This year, we will showcase destination case studies, new business practices and thought leadership on how destination organizations should take a leading role in ensuring the safety of both visitors and residents alike.
Stay tuned as we release loads of actionable and inspiring content in the months to come. And, if you have feedback or stories to share on any of these eight themes, please reach out to me at [email protected]. We would love to hear what you are ruminating on as we wade into this new year together.