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How Excellence and Happiness are coming together during COVID-19

The World Centre of Excellence for Destinations and Planet Happiness sign agreement

How Excellence and Happiness are coming together during COVID-19

Planet Happiness and the World Center for Excellence for Destinations (CED) have signed a partnership agreement focused on strengthening excellence in destination management and the necessity of the sector to deliver destination well-being.

In this extraordinary period of tourism collapse, marked by job- and income-loss and realignment to the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic, the partnership recognizes that measuring host well-being in tourism destinations has never been more important.

CED and Planet Happiness will work together to promote mutual understanding of each other’s work among their networks and partners. They will engage on a range of topics related to excellence in destination planning, host community well-being and the imperative of the sector to respect and preserve living culture and cultural heritage.

As destinations build resilience and move towards COVID-19 recovery, first through domestic tourism followed by international markets, they will be juggling complex, multiple challenges and demands that require a whole of government response. Among many priorities, attention will inevitably be drawn to profound changes in host well-being and ‘new normal’ pathways to rebuilding the quality-of-life.

The Happiness Index survey, promoted by Planet Happiness, measures individual and destination well-being. It is currently available in 24 languages and includes indicators for health, standard of living, satisfaction with life, community engagement, as well as access to nature, the arts and life-long learning and other important contributors to well-being.

The CED is a non-profit organization created in 2007 with the support of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). The CED’s mission is to guide destinations worldwide towards excellence by supporting them in their efforts to foster sustainable development and increase their abilities to generate economic, social and cultural benefits.

The two organisations signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) earlier this month. It provides a framework for Planet Happiness and CED to promote mutual understanding of each other’s approach to enabling and supporting destination well-being and sustainability.

“Destinations at the forefront of the Covid-19 recovery curve need to be seen to be making clear, inclusive and informed decisions,” said Paul Rogers PhD, the Co-Founder and Director of Planet Happiness, a project of the Happiness Alliance, a non-profit organisation with ten years’ experience in happiness and well-being measurements.


“Destinations need to promote their sites, ensure attractions and excursions are safe and responsible, and foster healthy and welcoming communities,” Rogers added. “This implies listening to the needs and concerns of industry employees and businesses, as well as the voices of the wider destination community. The Planet Happiness approach enables and facilitates dialogues that deliver win-wins and the strengthening of destination well-being.”

The Planet Happiness and CED partnership aims to deliver solutions for host communities, governments, businesses and tourists. On signing the MOU, Professor François Bédard, Director of CED, said: “Destination resilience depends on the industry’s ability to promote inclusivity, improve the quality of life of host communities and directly engage local residents in the tourism recovery effort.”

Sylvain St-Amand, President of CED, added: “The signing of the MOU with Planet Happiness will spread international awareness of the innovative and necessary approach of including destination well-being in tourism destination planning.”

“Planet Happiness looks forward to engaging with CED’s network and to providing more governments, destination management organisations and travel industry players around the world with the model and survey tools to measure, track and promote destination well-being,” said Paul Rogers, PhD.

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