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Hospitality Distancing and COVID-19 Recovery

INSTO Observatories meet for informal exchange

The UNWTO has been closely following the evolving COVID-19 pandemic and is deeply committed to contributing to the recovery of the tourism sector in a sustainable and resilient way. For this reason, the United Nations World Tourism Organization has invited the representatives of the Sustainable Tourism Observatories INSTO from all over the world to a virtual table. Topics of the meeting were the role of the INSTO Observatories during COVID-19 recovery and the importance of public health measures for destinations. The South Tyrolean Observatory under the direction of Harald Pechlaner and Anna Scuttari presented proposals for a sustainable restart of the tourism sector.

Hospitality has a very high value in the tourism region South Tyrol. The personal exchange between host and guest makes South Tyrol particularly attractive for tourists. Due to the COVID 19 pandemic, however, a new form of hospitality will have to be established. Pechlaner refers to this as Hospitality Distancing. In addition to the health and safety needs of guests, proximity and encounters must continue to be guaranteed, albeit in a different, more distanced form. Necessary measures concerning health must be clearly communicated to hotels, restaurants and guests.

In general, there are several special features of the South Tyrolean tourism sector that favour a quick recovery. Among them are the small-scale hotels and restaurants, which have always focused more on quality than quantity. This structural peculiarity makes it easier to keep your distance. The high number of returning guests that has been recorded so far can also have a positive effect on the development of tourism after the Corona crisis. The high number of guests over 60 years of age who belong to the risk group due to their age was mentioned as a possible risk factor. At the same time, precisely this group could be a target group to which special attention should be paid, since it is they who, due to secure pensions, have the payment power that South Tyrolean tourism now needs.

Next to Manuel Butler, Executive Director of UNWTO and Dirk Glaesser, Director of the INSTO Network, also Sebastian Crespi, Public Health Advisor of the Spanish Hotel and Restaurant Association, Michael Volgger (INSTO Observatory Southwest Australia) participated, Jigang Bao (Monitoring Centre for UNWTO Sustainable Tourism Observatories, China), Sérgio Guerreiro (Senior Director, Turismo Portugal) and the team of the South Tyrolean Observatory for Sustainable Tourism with Harald Pechlaner, Anna Scuttari, Andreas Dibiasi, Greta Erschbamer and Felix Windegger attended the meeting.

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