Davos vs Nat Geo on Tourism Quality

On Nat Geo News Watch, Jonathan Tourtellot looks at the way the Davos Economic Forum ranks tourism competitiveness, arguing that their approach can rely at times on trying to quantify the unquantifiable.

A higher score in some Forum categories may actually hurt destination quality. Ease of business and competitive pricing, for instance, may mask lax environmental protection and free-fire zones for slapdash developers. Heavy cruise ship traffic and sprawling vacation subdivisions dampen stewardship scores, but economic metrics like infrastructure may encourage that very overdevelopment. Tourism is known for fouling its own nest.

Nat Geo destination stewardship surveys, on the other hand, relied solely on quantifying expert opinions—a “wisdom of crowds” approach.

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