Destination Monitoring

Annual look at the destinations

Destinations change – just like the demands placed on them. Destination Monitoring maps the status quo and the development prospects of destinations with regard to ecological, social and economic factors and thus supports both tour operators and self-operating travel agencies and associations in product and destination development.

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Demand for travel is changing. As part of how vacation is planned and realized, sustainable aspects will gain importance for German travelers in the future. In addition to ecological issues, travelers are also focusing on social and economic factors. In addition to changes in demand, current and future regional and global crises pose major challenges for tour operators and their association representatives. These are now increasingly required to consider aspects in their product configuration that go beyond purely economic factors.

This is where destination monitoring comes in: It aims to provide tour operators, self-operating travel agencies and associations with additional information on ecological, economic and social factors in selected destinations, thereby supporting both product and destination development.

The destination monitoring is being developed in cooperation with the German Travel Association and the Munich University of Applied Sciences and is being funded as part of the LIFT Wissen funding measure of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Action.

The monitoring was set up for the first time in 2021 in cooperation with tour operators and destination experts. The focus of the first destination monitoring is initially on the 13 destinations that account for 70% of the booking volume of German outbound tourism. In the future, the monitoring will be updated annually and expanded to include additional destinations.

The results of the destination monitoring are presented in the Tourism Destination Index.  The index shows the extent to which individual destinations cover relevant factors in order to remain an attractive destination for German tour operators and travelers in the future.

The index is calculated per destination and results from the interaction of ecological, economic and social factors.

  • Ecological factors include, in addition to ecological measures, the use of natural resources and ecological safety
  • Social factors include basic political and social conditions, tourism acceptance, as well as human rights & working conditions.
  • Economic factors include tourist infrastructure, relevance to tourism, as well as the degree of digitalization

For all factors, both the status quo and the development prospects are surveyed. A total of 36 parameters are included in the evaluation of the destinations, which are assessed as part of primary or secondary analyses.

The Tourism Destination Index serves as an information and decision-making basis for the destinations under consideration, for the product development of tour operators and self-operating travel agencies, and for the tourism policy work of travel associations and public institutions in the field of destination development.

The dimensions, factors and parameters were developed in cooperation with tour operators and taking into account secondary studies on future customer requirements. The monitoring system thus reflects the information needs of tour operators as well as the expected future customer requirements. The parameters describe aspects that are relevant for the German outbound tourism industry and the current and future German source market with regard to destinations.

A distinction is made between economic, social and ecological factors that are included in the TDI. In addition, the tourism development of the destinations is shown:

Economic factors include tourism infrastructure, tourism relevance, and the level of digitization:

The tourism infrastructure describes the accessibility from Germany, the availability of high-quality destination organizations in the country as well as framework conditions in the area of health & hygiene.

Tourism relevance and promotion highlights the (economic) importance of tourism in the country and the situation with regard to skilled labor and training.

The level of digitalization focuses on the availability and quality of the Internet/WLAN.

Social factors include political and social conditions, tourism acceptance, and consideration of human rights and working conditions in the destination:

Political and social conditions shed light on the extent of regulation of tourist entry from Germany, the stability of the political system, and perceived tourist safety.

Tourism acceptance deals with the extent of restrictions on the population and travelers due to overtourism, the authenticity and preservation of the country’s typical culture, and the perceived acceptance of tourists in the country.

Working conditions & human rights assesses the protection of children’s rights and personal rights as well as working conditions in tourism.

Ecological factors include ecological measures, natural resource management, and ecological security in a destination:

Ecological measures focus on a clean and intact environment, the issues of emissions and renewable energy, and the spread of ecologically sustainable mobility such as public transport, electric mobility and bicycles.

Natural resource management evaluates the country’s food, waste, and water management.

Ecological security focuses on a country’s exposure to and management of natural hazards.

In addition, the development perspective was surveyed for all dimensions.

In order to be able to tailor the information offered as part of the monitoring as precisely as possible to the needs of tour operators, self-operating travel agencies and destinations, the destination monitoring was developed in cooperation with well-known German tour operators and destinations.

The resulting Tourism Destination Index is determined by a combination of secondary and primary analyses:

The primary survey involves destination experts (e.g. tour guides) who are well acquainted with both the needs of German travelers and the respective countries and whose assessments are not influenced by political or marketing interests.

In the secondary analysis, reputable sources as well as selected current indices on the defined ecological, economic and social factors are integrated.

The destination indices are determined by combining the information from the analyses. Implications for the countries are derived on this basis.  

The methodology is explained in more detail in the section “Methodology and sources”.

The developments in the destinations form a relevant part of the destination monitoring, as they represent the tourism context in the country.

However, since the development can only be assigned to the factors presented to a limited extent, and is assessed differently depending on the orientation of the tour operator, the following factors are not included in the Tourism Destination Index, but are primarily used for information purposes.

In its first run, the TDI focuses on the currently most popular countries for organized travel in the German source market. And so the index values of the TDI also show a consistently good coverage of the surveyed destinations with regard to ecological, economic and social factors. Despite all this, however, there is still clear potential across all countries to meet the requirements of the German source market in the future. According to the TDI, there is still a need for action, particularly with regard to the ecological factors, but the social and economic factors also offer opportunities for further development.

With regard to the ecological factors, the TDI shows further potential for development in the following parameters in particular:

  • Spread of sustainable forms of mobility (e.g. availability of public transport, spread of electromobility, use of ecologically friendly means of transport such as bicycles).
  • Waste management (e.g. avoiding waste disposal in nature, promoting waste separation and recycling).
  • Water management, (e.g. water-conserving/conscious use of water in tourism operations, use of water purification and treatment).

In terms of social factors, the following areas in particular require action:

  • Overtourism (e.g., adverse effects on the population, the environment, and the visitor experience due to masses of tourists in tourist hotspots).
  • Working conditions in tourism

The focus in the economic factors should be on the following factors in particular:

  • Availability of skilled workers/ shortage of skilled workers
  • Availability and quality of the internet
  • Tourism relevance and promotion

The respective potential varies depending on the destination. Overall, however, the following implications can be derived for destinations:

  • Promotion of sustainable / ecological technologies, systems and means of transport.
  • (Forward-looking) tourism management and visitor guidance
  • Promotion of skilled workers and optimization of working conditions in tourism
  • Optimization of internet connection

With regard to tour operators and self-operating travel agencies, the TDI shows that they should place a stronger focus on an ecologically and socially compatible product portfolio and offering. Key to this are measures in their own operations (if existing) and close cooperation with the respective destinations. Thus, the following implications can be derived:

  • Development and focusing of measures to equalize the flow of tourists
  • Support for the promotion of sustainable forms of mobility in the destination
  • Optimization of water and waste management in own and partner companies (in the
  • Promotion of skilled workers and optimization of working conditions in own and partner companies (in the destinations)
  • Increased cooperation with destinations with regard to sustainable product development

In addition, both the DRV as a project partner and other interest groups can use the findings from the TDI survey in the context of destination cooperation/development. In particular, the awareness on the destination side for the topic of sustainability should be raised and the creation of the necessary framework conditions should be focused on.

At destination level, the TDI shows the extent to which individual destinations meet the current and future requirements of the German source market. This reveals both strengths and challenges. The aim is to continue the monitoring on this basis in the coming years and thus to show the development of the destinations in the individual dimensions.

More detailed insights into the results of the destinations can be found in this document:

The destination monitoring is funded within the framework of the funding measure “Performance Improvement and Innovation Promotion in Tourism – Studies and Concepts for the Future of a Restored Tourism” (LIFT Wissen) of the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWi). The funding measure pursues the goal of generating new tourism-related knowledge, which is to be usable both as policy advice and for associations and companies.

The following pdf document provides a detailed overview of the methodology as well as the sources of the destination monitoring.

Gefördert durch: Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Klimaschutz aufgrund eines Beschlusses des Deutschen Bundestages
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