TourisThink, ReconfiguraDestino

On May 19 the talk was given by the ReconfiguraDestino team formed by Christian Arteaga (Founding Director of smart tourism & hospitality consulting) and at the same time host this conversation, where we talked about the results of the program that has been taking place in the different destinations of South America, among them for example we analyze, examine and share the very encouraging results of the destiny of Ecuador.

Among the guests who made up the team we have:

  • Jamel Gamra. Ex-Minister of Tourism of Tunisia
  • Francois Bedard. Director, Global Destinations Centre of Excellence
  • Christophe Le Chevallier. Co-Founder of Kunapak

While our other guest, Ricardo Zambrano. Deputy Minister of Tourism of Ecuador has been able to experience during all this time with us, the ReconfiguraDestino program in your country.

Below we will describe the highlights that each of them could share in this interesting TourisThink. ¡Join us to continue reading this important article please!  

On May 19, 2021, the first TourisThink session of the year was held, in which the results of the application of the tool were shared in the destination of Ecuador and in Latin America.

Christian Arteaga, introduced the operation of this methodology, developed by the World Destination Excellence Center in April 2020, located in Canada and recommended by the World Tourism Organization since July last year. Reconfigura Destino is a CED initiative run in conjunction with Smart THC and Kunapak. It has been carried out in more than 7 countries, involving more than 30 destinations and more than 700 stakeholders. The program seeks to formulate strategies for the recovery of tourist destinations in response to the UNWTO call for the reactivation of the sector and mitigate the impact of the pandemic on it. The process has 3 stages.

The first is a self-diagnosis of fate in terms of strengths and weaknesses to confirm compliance with CED good practices and UNWTO recommendations. The second part is about the development of a co-creative workshop whereby working together with stakeholders of the destination, the results of the self-diagnosis are analyzed, and the priorities of the destination are formulated based on the strengths identified in the first stage, accompanied by different recommendations of experts from the CED and Kunapak. The last phase comprises the digital transformation led by Kunapak where the diagnosis of both the destination and the stakeholders is worked, to then be able to determine the degree of maturity of the destination and the existing digital innovation gaps and finally the tools that can contribute to its improvement and reconfiguration are presented. For its part, the questionnaire of the first stage comprises three evaluation fields: Destination Management and Development; Attractiveness and Marketing of Destiny and Continuous Improvement of Destiny.

Some of the most important destinations with which they have worked in Latin America have been Bogota, Colombia; Tequila, Mexico and Ecuador. Following this, one of our guests, Ricardo Zambrano, Deputy Minister of Tourism of Ecuador, told us how the experience of Reconfigura Destino was lived in his country.

Ricardo Zambrano first highlighted the main problem of tourism in Ecuador and Latin America. This is the planning and territorial planning for tourist use. There are also many gaps, such as the digital divide and competitiveness and sustainability gaps. That is why the implementation of Reconfigura Destino has allowed to start a process of organization and planning of the destination considering key areas that handles the methodology, these being the governance, the value, the information, marketing and sustainability, which respond to the gaps and challenges mentioned above. The implementation of the program has been able to positively influence development to improve the pillars of territorial competitiveness and sustainability, but above all, it has managed to empower tourism actors and, working in collaborative networks for the management of the destination, considering the links that make up the value chain of the destination.

On the other hand, Ricardo Zambrano stressed that the methodology of Reconfigura Destino has also allowed an X-ray of the destination based on categories, such as emerging destinations, connected destinations, consolidated destinations and smart destinations, visibilizing a roadmap that has allowed projecting its consolidation, which in turn, has connected with the public policy of Destination Management implemented in Ecuador at the end of 2020, and contribute to the promotion of the development of planned and truly competitive destinations. In this way, Reconfigura Destino has provided them with a very useful toolbox to be able to work and consolidate the prioritized destinations within the country’s Destination Management policy.

Finally, Ricardo Zambrano released the results found in the Reconfigura Destino Ecuador, where he has been working in eleven destinations and more than 350 interviews have been conducted with stakeholders (stakeholders) obtaining about ten thousand responses. Where he stressed that the most important thing is that both sectors (public and private) are committed to the implementation of this type of tools to mark a differentiation, strengthening the key public – private alliance. The evaluation of the actors is very important for the governance of a destination, so that it feels strengthened. The private sector was undoubtedly the most involved in such management. In addition, the emergency and impact matrix was presented, showing the priority and impact that the strengths will have on the destination.

One of the most important strengths that has been found in this destination is sustainability and experience for the visitor, but one of the priorities that has greater emphasis is the experience for visitors and data and information.

Then, Mr. Jamel Gamra, former Minister of Tourism of Tunisia and designer of the conceptual model of Reconfigura Destino. Mr. Gamra told us that, given the current situation, we need to think about new ways of doing tourism, for which new business models must be considered in this sector.

When we talk about new business models, we talk about Dynamic Capabilities. These are defined as an organization’s ability to perceive, leverage, and reconfigure internal and external resources to create value and cope with rapidly changing environments. In this sense, we have 3 areas to develop:

  1. The ability to perceive. It means constantly scanning, searching, and exploring the environment to identify opportunities and threats as a basis for developing new products and services.
  2. Leverage: Once an opportunity has been identified, it must be addressed through new products, processes and procedures.
  3. Reconfiguration capability: integrate, recombine, release and use resources to maintain product value from opportunities.

During the covid crisis, the first two parts have been more complicated to carry out, since there was no previous experience or studies that could determine how to act in the face of a crisis similar to the one, we live now. Under these circumstances the Reconfigura Destiny model was created. Thus, dynamic capabilities are employed with the use of technology and innovation. To address the low willingness of operators to invest in these tools due to their high costs, collaborative innovation between public, private and society actors is required to share their resources and thus, develop further joint efforts to create value and strengthen local governance. From here, the reconfiguration of destiny is generated with the new decisions taken.

Christophe Le Chevallier, who is Co-Founder of Kunapak mentioned that they chose two points of reconfiguration or reactivation of destiny, one is governance and the other is to be able to define a goal, have a plan to achieve a better digital transformation and greater connectivity with the tourism industry. For Kunapak, their definition of digital transformation is based on two pillars, on the one hand technology and on the other innovation. If the destination management is given thanks to the digital transformation so you can have the entire ecosystem connected, also gaining access to all data and information indicators and especially monitor and then make decisions in real time. 

Finally, Francois Bedard who is the Director of the World Destination Centre of Excellence spoke about the definition of a tourist destination that is a physical space in which a visitor spends at least one night. It includes tourist products, such as support services, attractions and tourist resources in a radio that allows you to go back and forth in a day. It has physical and administrative limits that define its management, images and perceptions that determine its competitiveness in the market. Local destinations incorporate diverse groups, often including the host community, and can establish links and networks among themselves to form larger destinations”

The success factors of a destination are given by the familiarization among stakeholders, quality leadership, competitiveness of stakeholders and complementary roles and finally interdependence between actors.   

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