PREIT-TOUR members participated in the Webinar "Sustainability, Resilience and Territory".
On Wednesday 30 September 2020, Dr. Santiago Rodríguez, PhD and Mgst. Freddy Espinoza, PhD (Cand) were part of the discussion panels in the Webinar "Sustainability, Resilience and Territory" organized by the Accessible Tourism Organization-Cuenca, Ecuador, modelled by Ing. Paul Andrade. The objective of this conversation was to discuss sustainability issues focused on territorial development and the challenges faced by these territories to adapt to the new social and economic contexts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, through the resilience factor.
For Santiago, sustainability is a challenge that allows for long-term solutions that will benefit the inhabitants. It is not only a question of knowing the theoretical approaches that sustainability proposes but of putting them into practice to generate an efficient management model in which the public and private sectors work in coordination. Resilience is defined as a concept related to the processes of adaptability of territory in the face of unexpected events, where the population is capable of facing the challenges posed by the social and economic environment.
For his part, Freddy said that the challenge of sustainability implies having clear management objectives and focusing on qualitative and quantitative indicators that apply to the territories of Latin America. "It is not enough to adopt European indicators, as the reality of Latin America is different". A key element in achieving sustainability through the implementation of tourism activities is to assume that tourism can be a means and not an end to development.
In terms of resilience, the importance of being realistic with the territory and its needs was stressed, seeking to escape from the theoretical approaches proposed by governments, since on many occasions they are not applied. In this context, Freddy argued that resilience has been used to justify shortcomings in government management and that it is essential to establish long-term aspirations and management strategies.
One of the many aspects on which the speakers agreed was the role of residents in development processes, as they have a key role in the actions carried out by the territories to face up to crisis processes and achieve sustainability.
The session ended with the speakers proposing some strategies that can help to initiate sustainability processes in the territories. The first one is based on adopting the concepts of the commonwealth, as of today more than ever it is essential that the actors work in coordination. The second one focuses on supporting governments through policies to protect residents and entrepreneurs; a clear example of this is the creation of soft loans to stimulate the entrepreneurship of the population. Even though Ecuador has the highest rate of entrepreneurship (36.9% in 2019), the majority of these businesses have a very short operating time of no more than three years.
You can see the complete conversation in the following Facebook link: