Quality management indicators and processes are key tools for the competitiveness of tourism destinations concluded the UNWTO Conference on Quality Management held last week in Bucharest, Romania.
In that regard, participants to the conference called for an integrated approach to quality management as a priority in long-term strategic planning of Destination Management Organizations (DMOs) at national and sub-national levels.
An integrated quality management approach to destination management contributes to improving the image of the destination, enhances the legislative framework and minimizes operational challenges.
“We live in an increasingly competitive sector. Quality standards provide a framework to guide stakeholders to improve their operations and services along the whole tourism value chain so as to create a complete and positive tourism experience” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.
Costin Grigore Borc, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy, Commerce and Relations with the Business Environment of Romania said “the dynamic changes in the global tourism market require qualitative transformation of nearly every tourism segment within a destination. For tourism destinations to survive, trends that relate to a continuous improvement of the tourism supply quality need to be intensely tracked.”
“Tourism, multi-sectorial by nature, was and still is vulnerable to market turbulence and economic crises. However, it was able to withstand the global economic crisis more than most other sectors, to relaunch as few sectors have been able to, and to quickly recover from periods of temporary weakness” remarked Anca Pavel-Nedea, President of the National Tourism Authority of Romania at the opening of the conference.
The Conference focused on ‘destination quality’ as a step beyond ‘product/service quality’, and provided a showcase for sharing initiatives and good practices in quality management in coastal destinations, protected areas, spa/wellness destinations, urban destinations and cultural heritage destinations.
The 103rd UNWTO Executive Council Meeting held in Málaga last May approved the following definition of Quality of a Tourism Destination, as proposed by UNWTO’s Committee on Tourism and Competitiveness: "Quality of a Tourism Destination is the result of a process which implies the satisfaction of all tourism product and service needs, requirements and expectations of the consumer at an acceptable price, in conformity with mutually accepted contractual conditions and the implicit underlying factors such as safety and security, hygiene, accessibility, communication, infrastructure and public amenities and services. It also involves aspects of ethics, transparency and respect towards the human, natural and cultural environment”.