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Across the globe, destination managers, markers and operators are asking the questions:

  • Are there KPIs to objectively measure the level of inclusivity in a tourism destination?
  • How can we ensure that the actions, facilities and services of a country, region or city are designed to embrace and respect ethnic, religious, gender and cultural diversity?

There’s no better time than Pride Month to address these questions.

Inclusivity: Why it’s an essential aspect of sustainable tourism

Data Appeal recently held a speech HIDDEN, an event organized by the media agency TWOW, dedicated entirely to the themes of diversity and inclusion. Mirko Lalli, Data Appeal’s CEO and Founder, was invited to discuss the topic from a tourism perspective.

“In recent years, we have witnessed the rise of new, cross-cultural megatrends exploding on both a social and cultural level. The pandemic has accelerated a paradigm shift relating to many themes: the way we shop, the way we take care of ourselves, the way we work and live in a workspace and the way we face and embrace new tools and strategies to maintain mental health.

We, as humans, have become extremely sensitive about inclusivity. There are dozens of new studies which testify that inclusive companies perform better in terms of turnover, revenue and talent acquisition.”

Inclusivity is strongly interconnected with another hot topic that has exploded in recent months: sustainability.

Have a look at the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals in the 2030 Agenda and you will quickly notice that “being sustainable” goes beyond green spaces and recycling. It also includes operating while respecting gender equality (SDG 5) and reducing inequality (SDG 10).

“To be sustainable, one must also be inclusive,” confirms Lalli, “and to be a sustainable destination, it’s necessary to be inclusive as well.”

How to assess the inclusivity and sustainability of tourism destinations

In order to build truly sustainable and inclusive destinations, it’s critical to objectively measure the data available.

“At Data Appeal, we aim to transform data into a concrete and effective tool to empower and support business growth. With this in mind, we asked ourselves if and how it was possible to measure the inclusivity of businesses and territories. By leveraging alternative data, we calculate how a business, brand or tourism destination promotes coexistence, diversity and inclusivity.  

For this reason, Data Appeal is currently building new KPIs (global and scale indicators) that tell complex stories in a simple way. This is the most effective method to evaluate, in real time, if a destination is operating in the best possible way to achieve its goals.”

Data Appeal has a history with developing KPIs to evaluate a business or territory. The Fair Index, created in partnership with Onde Alte in 2020, is an indicator which evaluates a company’s communication and brand reputation. This proprietary index collects and interprets data to understand the corporate social responsibility of a business and their initiatives from a social impact perspective.

For tourism destinations, measuring the level of sustainability and inclusiveness, in real time, will be fundamental in coming years as travelers are becoming  increasingly sensitive and influenced by this topic, as reflected by their purchasing decisions.

Building new objective, scalable and global KPIs

All international organizations, such as the WTO, ETC, and the United Nations World Tourism Organization, are focusing on supporting territories in their understanding and adherence to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of 2030 Agenda. However, to date, the vast majority of available certifications are issued by private entities, or are self-certification forms.For this reason, Data Appeal started building the Destination Sustainability Index, an indicator to measure and benchmark the effectiveness of your sustainability initiatives to make your destination more ecological, inclusive and sustainable.

This KPI is based on the framework of the 17 SDGs and the European Tourism Indicators System (ETIS). To develop the Destination Sustainability Index (DSI), we leveraged our immense data lake and a series of satellite imagery, third-party data sources, national education reports and official transportation statistics.

To date, the DSI measures the following fundamental aspects of tourism sustainability: environment, economy, society and governance

The index is available for destinations of any size – country, region, city, neighborhood – and can be accessed via API, data pack or report.

By integrating, communicating and measuring the effectiveness of sustainability initiatives, businesses and destinations can improve the quality of life, protect the environment and ecosystems and preserve natural resources for years to come.

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