Analyzing the main challenges for tourism destinations in the face of the global economic downturn was the main objective of the 5th International Conference on Destination Management (Hangzhou, China, September 21-22). The conference, “Weathering the Storm of Global Recession: The Challenges for Destination Management,” stressed the need for tourism destinations to adapt to current conditions in order to mitigate their negative impact.

The severe economic downturn and the resulting drop in consumer confidence have forced tourism destinations to reassess how they do business. The dynamics of the tourism industry are rapidly changing, creating new challenges for the sector and compelling an effective response.

The 5th International Conference on Destination Management organized by UNWTO, in partnership with the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA), the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), and the Municipal Government of Hangzhou was an opportunity to present practical, sensible, and cost-effective solutions to a complex challenge.

The conference brought together over 300 participants from 35 countries representing central governments, regional and local authorities, industry professionals, and academia who presented a comprehensive overview of specific measures and policy actions taken by tourism destinations in order to respond effectively. Cooperation and partnerships for effective management and marketing are crucial if tourist destinations are to avoid major impacts from the economic recession, while innovation becomes a key tool for maintaining competitiveness, increasing sustainability and attract new layers of consumers in the future.