On November 22, Ricard Santomà, Dean of the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management Sant Ignasi (URL), explained that “in order to transform the image of a tourist destination, we need to generate new experiences that help us do away with negative perceptions.”
Santomà took part in the seminar “Un nuevo modelo turístico para Sant Antoni (Ibiza)”, (A new tourism model for Sant Antoni, Ibiza”, organized by the Town Council of Sant Antoni and Diario de Ibiza newspaper, which included a debate on how to change the town’s tourism model and its association with “drunken tourism”.
Along these lines, the academic expert emphasized the need to start with a responsible tourism model: “tourism should be either responsible or nothing at all. Global tourism demands responsible tourism.” This responsible tourism is based on three pillars: economic, environmental and social.
Some of the challenges to responsible tourism noted by Santomà are:
- Seeking formulas for marketing and growth where environmental and social impacts are reduced.
- Reducing our carbon footprint.
- Normalizing travellers’ behaviour so that they interact with locals.
- Reducing seasonality and redistributing tourism geographically to avoid overcrowding.
- Making up for the negative consequences of tourism with investment.
To make this a reality, the dean of HTSI proposed a model in which “the destination as a whole has the desire to change.” In other words, all agents involved in tourism must take part: “a tourist destination is not the property of the private sector, the public sector, neighbours or associations. It belongs to everyone, so everyone needs to work together to decide its future”, Santomà explained.
Once this shared vision is clear, a public-private body needs to be created. Some examples of positive public-private collaboration noted by the dean of HTSI are Turisme de la Garrotxa, Barcelona Turisme, Calella de la Costa and Salou.
Tourist Destinations: fleeing from poor practice by generating new experiences
How can we change our tourism model? According to the expert, “we don’t eliminate it, we minimize it, diluting poor practice by changing our way of doing things, generating new experiences.” The Sitges Film Festival or volcanic cuisine in La Garrotxa were some of the examples noted during the discussion.
Santomà emphasized that experiences cannot be scattered, they have to last; they should include the participation of both the public and private sector; they need to be in line with the vision we hope to achieve; someone needs to lead them; there must be an initial budget; and they need to achieve a triple final yield that is not only economic, but also environmental and social.
“The generation of new and lasting experiences allow destinations to take on a whole new value.” This is the time to create a tourism product, integrate it into a package and promote it, always keeping in mind its impact on the economy, the environment and society.
“By doing so, we can ensure that the destination is not defined by its former image, but by a new image. Its negative image will be diluted in this new experience”, Santomà concluded.
Other articles on Ricard Santomà:
Ricard Santomà: “Los mejores lugares para vivir son los mejores sitios para visitar” (ARA Balears 23/11/2018)
Toca ser positivos y echar mano de orgullo (El Periódico 26/02/2018)
¿Para qué queremos turismo? (El Periódico 26/06/2017)
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