The best way to celebrate tourism

Revenue 28/09/2021

Today, September 27, 2021, is World Tourism Day. But not just any day. This year, we prefer to refer to this date as World Tourism Recovery Day.

Yes, we know, the pandemic isn't over, and we mustn't let our guard down. But the data is promising. The vaccine, regardless of the possibility of new doses, is exceeding expectations in fulfilling its mission. And, to be honest, the summer hasn't been as bad as some predicted. At least in Andalusia, where our headquarters are located, the forecasts for our unique and warm autumn are optimistic.

Tourism in our country should always be a reason for celebration. We should be proud of the Spanish brand, each of the destinations that make it up, contributing to its international projection. We should value the efforts of each private company in the sector, and why not, also acknowledge the intentions of public institutions. While we can always expect more (anything less would be complacency), the path forward unquestionably involves direct collaboration between both entities, and the troublesome virus, to some extent, has strengthened these bonds.

Our dependency on tourism has always been criticized. But... what comes first, the chicken or the egg? The entire world is eager to visit us, to experience our beaches, savor our cuisine, stroll through our urban centers, immerse themselves in our heritage and present, absorb our art, get lost in our countryside, delight in our fauna, embrace our hospitality, be captivated by our character, learn from our people and their way of enjoying life. Should we reject our role as hosts? Absolutely not.

We need to further boost this industry. Provide each cog in the machine with all possible resources to continue improving, renewing, and innovating. The goal is excellence, not rejection. The attitude should be one of pride, not embarrassment in the face of this reality. If anything, it's everyone else who Covid-19 has caught off guard. Our presumed dependence on tourism was treated as a rare ailment, but it has revealed itself as the most common of them all. Tourism isn't just Spain's engine; it's the world's engine. And when it stops, everything crumbles.

There's significant room for improvement, that's undeniable. Quality over quantity, resident well-being, sustainability, destigmatization of seasons, and governance, for example, remain challenges in specific areas of our diverse map. But we're on it. We're studying the material extensively, and we'll pass this test with flying colors soon. In fact, many national destinations have already done so and are leading the way today. Others will follow; make no mistake.

The entire sector has shown undeniable signs of extraordinary adaptability, recovery, and resilience, adhering to rules, implementing protocols, enduring restrictions. One concept is always at the forefront: the return of the guest. Tourists, visitors, the moment they set foot on Spanish soil, they become our guests automatically. When they stay, of course, but also when they dine, visit a museum, rent a car, refresh themselves in our seas and rivers, complete a route, and more. We are all hosts. Spain is the host.

On a personal note, we can't hide our joy either. Almost two years later, all of us who were here are still here, and new additions continue to arrive. There was an inevitable sales hiatus, but no one said we couldn't seize the opportunity to capture, to build loyalty, to catch up. At Paraty World, 2020/2021 will always be remembered as a success story, despite the challenges.

Today, feeling more relaxed about how things are progressing, we celebrate tourism again, and we do so in the best way possible during a week when we have plenty of reasons to be satisfied with the work we've done and our contribution to the industry.

On the upcoming days of September 29 and 30, DestinaXtion – Connecting Tourism Players will take place, another contribution to recovery, this time in collaboration with our colleagues at Turobserver. An unprecedented event that has managed to bring together over 300 entities (those lagging behind still have time to register), both public and private, evenly distributed among destinations, tour operators, and technological providers. The event enjoys the unconditional support of two genuine ambassadors of Spanish tourism, Turismo Andaluz and Turismo y Planificación de la Costa del Sol, as well as two pioneering technological providers, Orange and ForwardKeys. We couldn't ask for more.

Happy (Tourism Recovery) World Tourism Day.