Tourism performance gets new yardsticks

The metrics by which tourism is measured “will be completely different” from pre-pandemic yardsticks, PATA CEO Liz Ortiguera said at the Southeast Asia Development Symposium 2022 organised by the Asian Development Bank earlier in March.

While in the past tourism metric was much more singular around physical arrivals, she said the focus will no longer be on heavy traffic. “We don’t want that. We have dispersion, we want longer stays, we want a new form of travel that will emerge,” she said.

Tourism performance will no longer be determined by large volumes, but by quality dispersion, longer stays, and tourist receipts that flow into the local community

She added that tourist dollars must “come to the community as well and stay with the local economy”.

Ortiguera pointed out that the metrics will evolve in many ways as a number of evolutions are happening in travel including longer and multi-purpose journeys, shifts in source markets and geopolitics, and the emergence of modern, responsible travellers.

“The metrics will reflect and encourage these changes,” she emphasised, and will help tourism leaders to steer towards the right direction in terms of what products and services to encourage when tourists come back to Asia.

Emerging is the modern, responsible traveller who looks more deeply into the destination, not just doing an Instagram tour and getting a very superficial introduction of the location, Ortiguera said.

The traveller now goes for “intelligent luxury”, which means a wholistic wellness not just for the self but also for the community and for the environment, and is much more inclusive and sustainable.

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