A New Tourism Stigma After Corona?

Strategies for Sustainable Recovery
May 13, 2020

In a focused session, our ECM partners shared some of their newest insights and data to help face the reputation issue the tourism industry might face because of the Coronavirus crisis and provide us with some tools to work around it.
Feel free to (re)watch the webinar recording below!



Guest speakers:

Olivier Henry-Biabaud shared his insight on the impact of the crisis on destination reputation and discussed the key concerns on reestablishing as appealing to visitors whilst also balancing the sentiment of local residents during the rebound.

Key takeaways:
  • We can divide where people will travel next in three stages:
    • This summer: people will go where they can, mostly staying within their own country
    • At the end of 2020: people will go where they can afford and where they have to go for business
    • From 2021 onward: people will restart planning trips where they want to go
  • To evaluate sentiment, TCI uses a social listening technique that checks the e-reputation at large. It takes into account any conversation (all blogs, articles, social networks… in all markets and languages) that influences the image of a destination.
  • Since the beginning of the crisis, there was a lot of conversations, both good (people helping each other, hero stories, reminiscing of past travels…) and bad (destination bashing, complaints for refunds…)
  • Europe has been hit just like any other region in the world (though later than most) but since the beginning of April, we can see a shift in sentiment and destinations seem to regain some lost points.
  • We can also see that, within Europe, countries, and even cities in the same region, have not suffered the same impact on sentiment. For example, the United Kingdom has been more hit that the Netherlands or Germany or Milan, compared to Ljubljana or even Paris, suffered more bad advertisement.
  • No tourism segment has been spared: ski resorts, beaches, airlines, cruises, among others, have also been severely impacted. However, specific attractions in destinations are way less touched, which might be due to the fact that they rebounded very quickly and a lot of them offered virtual experiences instead.
  • It is important to make visitors want to go back to your city, but it is as equally important to make sure that locals are ok with that.


  • Portugal Promotes and Enables a Clean and Safe Tourism Industry, by Leonor Picão, Coordinating Director, Turismo de Portugal

In her presentation, Leonor Picão introduces a new initiative that adresses the concerns of travelers with regards to safety of travelling and cleanliness in this new sanitary world. This new initiative will also enable the industry to regain business and brand the destination as a safe place to travel.

Key takeaways:
  • The Clean & Safe label was created to recognized Portugal as a safe destination to travel to. The label was designed to be a simple and free tool to help companies in all sectors of tourism.
  • Different requirements are demanded to receive the label. They are divided into four categories: provide training to all employees, provide information to all clients, have the necessary equipment and follow the guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting.
  • There is also an urgent need to regain trust, as there are no tourists without it. The label was the answer for that because it proves that the company which received it is not a threat to visitors’ health.
  • As the label can be delivered to many organisations, some requirements are the same for everyone and some are specific to each sector.


In this discussion, Norbert Kettner discussed how he is adapting Vienna’s recently launched new strategy to the current times. He explained what is happening now, in terms of adapting his strategy but also what he is working on, both in front and behind the scene to reshape Vienna and rebuild the visitor’s economy.

Key takeaways:
  • The Vienna Tourist Board decided to start a conversation with their stakeholders and industry partners, a week after the outbreak. They were very present for them, kept the conversation and listened to them a lot. The current phase now is different, as the industry is asking for answers, for some plan. This is now the phase between response and recovery.
  • As Vienna Tourist Board and member of the Vienna Economy Council, Norbert shared with us that their main task has been to hold a filtering position, or intermediary, between tourism industry, stakeholders and the political sphere. However, in the light of the crisis, a change in responsibilities and a redefinition of roles might be in order. For example, in the last weeks, they were seen as facilitators, able to bring on some recommendations, including up to a political level.
  • Now is the response phase, opening up with the idea of economy, even if it is an on/off economy. In the coming months, the key challenges will be to convince people to regain faith and confidence into travel. To do that, the TIC will reopen to show that the city is working, opening again. They will also work on health and safety measures. However, no big events might be allowed until there is a medication so some sectors will still remain closed.
  • There will be no new normal, only a return to normality where people can travel, attend events, practice sports, consume culture… But Norbert doesn’t expect that before 2022-2023.
  • Regarding Vienna 2025 strategy, which was launched in a different time and world, they are wondering how to deal with key statements from this strategy and implement them (for example: low-cost carriers).
  • As it seems that people prefer cars and train transportation mode and are reluctant to travel by plane, this trend will probably be more important in the future. However, trains have also restricted capacities now so Vienna might adjust car park facilities and public transportation. Thanks to the strategy framework, a lot of contact and communication with stakeholders, which helped during lockdown, to quickly get in touch & have contact
  • There is also a hope of recovering quickly. Even though there will be a stretch in the period since we are loosing three years, objectives remain clear and on the long term: explaining the industry to local people without not forgetting the needs of local people, explore nature-oriented tourism and bring people back.



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