As businesses and communities rebuild following the COVID-19 pandemic, it will be vital to ensure that this recovery takes place in a way that reduces the negative impacts of tourism on the environment and on local communities, and provides a more balanced, equitable contribution to economic growth. With this in mind, the strategic guidelines in this Handbook focus on sustainable tourism practices that will ultimately support the creation of a new tourism ecosystem in Europe.
National Tourism Organisations (NTOs) now have a crucial role to play in guiding their tourism sectors in preparing for recovery, and in building confidence among consumers to travel again. The COVID-19 pandemic has seen NTOs forging coalitions with public and private partners, setting up support programmes and engaging with tourism businesses on a scale never seen before. Looking ahead, there is an opportunity to capture this momentum in order to ensure that the brand promise of ‘diverse abundance of landscapes, communities, cultures and heritage’ can be enjoyed by visitors today, and for generations to come. At the same time, in preparing this Handbook, it is recognised that NTOs across Europe are at different stages in their journey towards developing a sustainable tourism ecosystem in their respective countries. Therefore, rather than set out a prescriptive action plan or ‘one-size-fits-all’ strategy for recovery, this Handbook sets out strategic guidelines, with guidance on which lines of action to prioritise most urgently.