The context of rebound that we are living today and that we managed to envision, with the return of Tourism and the gradual lifting of restrictions, leads me to address, once more, a topic that is dear to my heart (from the sentimental point of view), but also that we have been paying dearly (from the point of view of financial sustainability).
This is the binomial quantity VS sustainability.
I often have conversations with friends who think that all tourism is good. That we must let tourism loose. Grow local accommodation everywhere. Open another 50 3-star hotels on the same street. Attract professionals to tourism until other sectors dry up, something very frequent in the pre-pandemic years. These people, in the low cycles, are the first to say “Do you see? Tourists have disappeared. And now?”.
I have a problem with this thesis, which I consider to be fallible: the idea that we must make the most of economic cycles and put all the eggs in the same basket, to later complain about life when the cycle enters the “bear” phase. Closing our eyes to this, is, honestly, playing ostrich. Those ostriches that make the power grid go down…
I do not think that any country that lives from an unsustainable dependency can be healthy for a long time. And I sincerely would like that our country could, for once, think strategically, perhaps with some new faces and with less agendas of its own. Perhaps even more than thinking strategically, it is necessary to ACT strategically:
• With less recourse to debt. Banks are meant to help temporarily, not to replace the role of project promoters.
• With diversification. Portugal is not Lisbon, Porto and Algarve. Diversify more and quickly please.
• With more focus on Tourism that re-values and preserves our heritage and our land, the one we intend to leave intact for our children.
• With more focus on segments with higher added value, which better resist crises, capture more investment and often pay better wages.
One of these days, we may have to question the dogma that has always guided us. Quantity is critical. But that is not all, and if we bet all the chips in quantity, when bad luck knocks on the door, we will be the ephemeral lucky man in a vitiated casino.
ABC Sustainable Luxury Hospitality