1st UNWTO Affiliate Members Conference on innovative approaches to overcome seasonality: The Punta del Este Prototype
Seasonality is a major problem for most destinations in the world, which experience significant fluctuations in visitation during the year. Destination managers, marketers, tourism businesses and other stakeholders affected by it need to find innovative and creative ways of overcoming these oscillations, supporting the sustainable development of their destinations. Mitigation of the phenomenon is needed if the tourism industry is to operate in a more conventional and economically successful manner.
Given the global relevance of this issue, the UNWTO Affiliate Members Programme seeks to identify successful approaches to overcome this problem which would allow the tourism industry in various settings to operate on a more regular and consistent level. Seasonality suffers from often being viewed as a single common problem, whereas in reality it takes on a number of forms and levels of severity depending on the locations involved and the nature of tourism and tourism development in destinations. A single approach is rarely completely successful and sometimes even inappropriate for adaptation to other locations and settings.
The issue of seasonality has been viewed as an economic problem for many decades but in reality it has environmental and socio-cultural manifestations in addition to the well documented economic difficulties it poses to tourism destinations in general. Such a complex issue merits a careful review and the consideration of an extensive range of potential actions if successful resolutions are to be achieved which are capable of being applicable in a variety of destinations and types of tourism.
Topics to be covered
- Opening conference:
The opening session will cover the definition and common features of seasonality and explore the varying forms of seasonality that are found throughout the world. Seasonality is a regular and consistent phenomenon in many tourist destinations and potentially this makes it easier to predict and plan for than other negative occurrences such as security issues, climatic and other disasters and economic downturns. Despite this, seasonality has remained a long standing difficulty for many tourism enterprises and destination regions, partly because most efforts to overcome it have focused on modifying the supply (destination) elements and have tended to ignore the more difficult task of altering the pattern of demand. The fact that much seasonality is a function of human actions and policies rather than natural phenomena gives rise to the possibility of using different approaches to overcoming the problems inherent with the phenomenon. Consideration also will be given to issues posed by the mitigation of seasonality and the impacts that these may have on destinations.
- Presentation: Punta del Este Prototype
This presentation will be made by Ms. Yolanda Perdomo, Director of UNWTO’s Affiliate Members Programme, who will elaborate on the development of a prototype approach applicable in Punta del Este and the application and relevance of this to other destinations through UNWTO.
- Panel 1: Micro segmentation and brands strategies
The five panel members will review approaches from different locations which have considered this problem, drawing on their experiences with technology and innovation in tourism, destination branding, attracting meetings and conferences, environmentally-friendly and sustainable hotel management, and the gastronomic and regional culinary appeal of tourism.
- Panel 2: Success stories
This session will explore three successful attempts at overcoming seasonality, through the example of festival development in Brazil, destination adjustment in Spain and specific focused high-end tourist development in the United States and elaborate on the lessons which can be drawn from these examples.
- Round table discussion: Towards a practical application in a public-private partnerships framework
The round table discussion will expose the audience to the views of six speakers who will discuss the practicality of developing a successful integrated partnership in order to encourage and enable collaboration among partners in dealing with seasonality. The strategic keys of the model in Punta del Este will be presented along with discussion towards the establishment of a common framework and the practical application of the key steps of such a framework to support public- private collaboration.