01/10/2020 Opinion

Manel Vallès Rasquera, director of the Chair for University and Knowledge Region

Tourism in times of pandemic: challenges and opportunities


Tourism has been and is one of the most important sectors in our region in terms of wealth creation and workplaces. The Costa Daurada and Terres de l’Ebre with their numerous and diverse assets have revitalized the economic, social and cultural activity of the region in recent decades.

The history of recent crises has shown that the tourism sector is one of the most resilient sectors. Nevertheless, the coronavirus pandemic has especially affected tourism. In fact, this is tourism’s most disruptive crisis in its history, not only because of economic indicators but also because of consumption and marketing.

The current statistics provide a horrifying scenario far from the successful figures of previous years. Now more than ever solutions and strategies are needed to revive the pleasure of travelling and to create economic wealth. It is necessary to define the tourism of the future and, by doing so, we should think about digitalization and sustainability as paradigms to take into account. Coordinated governance should be defined in order to ensure the correct application of new policies.

In this edition, you will find an article signed by Octavi Bono, general director of Tourism of the Generalitat of Catalonia, which reflects on the strategies and policies to be applied in this new scenario. In addition, Josep Francesc Valls, Professor of the Department of Marketing at ESADE, Itziar Labairu, MsC ESADE and Mara Franco, Assistant Professor Higher School of Technology and Management at the University of Madeira, propose a revision of the strategic planning of post-COVID destinations. In addition, the interview with Francesc Pintado, president of the Association of Hotel and Catering Businesses of Tarragona gives us the keys to the future of tourism in the post-pandemic era. In the section of tourism best practices, you will find a selection of examples of European regions and cities. To end, Marta Farrero, technical director of the Tourist Board of the Tarragona Provincial Council, presents in the section Discovering Southern Catalonia the situation of tourism marketing and, more specifically, the management of the brands of the Tourist Board of the Tarragona Provincial Council in times of COVID-19.

In a situation like the current one, we would like to invite you to participate with your opinions and comments so that we can continue working for the Southern Catalonia and to meet the challenges of the future.

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