We’re helping places to ‘reset and recover’

Over the past few months we’ve been supporting European destinations as they seek to use COVID-19 as an opportunity to ‘reset and recover’.

The world of six months ago seems like a very different place indeed. Just a matter of weeks into the new decade, COVID-19 gripped the world, and since then the world has struggled to free itself. We know that COVID-19 will affect our lives long after a vaccine has been found, so it is natural that as places and businesses rebuild, many are asking what it is exactly we’re aiming for this time.

In early May, after carefully gathering the best international examples and insights from beyond the tourism sector, we published the post-COVID-19 DMMO Continuity Checklist, as part of our valued Industry Partnership with European Cities Marketing. As we observed in the opening pages, of the Checklist:

We expect this epidemic to accelerate many trends in consumer demand, the world of work and public policy that were already driving major changes in European DMMOs. Could this crisis offer us a chance to restart our approach, and help guide our cities towards a better, healthier and happier tomorrow?

The feedback we received in the weeks following the Checklist’s release confirmed that it had been an extremely useful tool, not just for European cities, but for regional and national tourism administrations too. One example was Seville, which as a result of our work invited us as the exclusive international partner to give strategic input on the city’s ‘Plan8’, a strategy that aims to boost the city’s recovery through eight areas of action.

The modern story of Seville goes way beyond the familiar traits of moorish heritage and flamenco. Together with other partners that included the city’s Coca Cola, Sevilla Football Club, and Airbus and the city’s Chamber of Commerce, we used other European city benchmarks to help the city government design its recovery communications strategy around this wider story, that would give investors, local people and business owners confidence about the city’s future. We were able to validate the city’s holistic, forward-looking approach and point out other areas of value that will be important to capitalise on in the coming months. Furthermore, thanks to our input, work is already underway to bring the city’s tourism board, convention bureau and local council under one roof to make decision making more streamlined, around a more holistic approach to place marketing and management in the city.

Much further north, we've also been guiding the Scottish Tourism Emergency Response Group on building connections between the country’s COVID-19 crisis recovery plans and Scotland Outlook 2030, the country’s national tourism strategy that was published in early March this year, just before the lockdown came into effect. We looked at the actions planned as part of the country’s emergency response to COVID-19, and identified the burning issues from now that are still likely to be important five years from now.


This is the big question and one to which there is no simple answer, as we seek to balance the need to restore jobs and livelihoods with the imperatives of reducing the environmental impact of tourism and the need to avoid mistakes made in the past. As places and their businesses community rebuild after a damaging five months, many have recognised that there is now a clear opportunity to ‘build back better’. While this sounds good, there is an urgent need to put good intentions into action, for example by making sustainable criteria a prerequisite for government stimulus packages, to reset KPIs around value rather than volume and in reducing the scope for overtourism to occur in specific places in the future.

With this in mind, we’re now working with the European Travel Commission to create a Guidebook on post-COVID-19 Recovery Strategies, due to be launched next month. We’ll keep you updated on that as soon as it’s launched.


We have been global thought leaders in destination development, management and marketing for the last 10 years. We transform places and destinations through the skills and international experience of 12 members of staff and a global network of 20+ experts. In total, we have undertaken projects and offered integrated solutions to trusted clients in 20+ countries across 4 continents. We’re ready to support you too.

  • Consumer sentiment research
  • Business support guidance
  • Internal assessments and organisational change management
  • Destination supply and demand analysis
  • Place branding strategies
  • Recovery marketing plans
  • Advocacy planning and communications
  • Rapid destination strategy refresh (using sprint methodology)

If you’d like to know more about what we’ve presented here, you’re always welcome to get in contact with us. Just drop us a line at info@toposophy.com or send us a note through our contact page.





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