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Seasonality is a major challenge faced by many tourism destinations worldwide and widely recognized as an issue to tackle in the tourism industry. It is caused by a combination of supply-side factors (climate, availability of facilities and transport) and demand-side factors (holiday periods, work cycles in originating countries) which result in high seasonal fluctuations in the number of visitors. Seasonality affects negatively the planning capacity of the destination, its ability to attract investments and employment stability in the region, which in turn weakens the overall ability of destinations to adapt to changes in demand.
In order to assist destinations in overcoming seasonality, UNWTO focused on providing a product-related solution to the issue. In 2014, the prototype methodology was applied to develop a strategy and design specialized products that could attract visitors year-round. These innovative products enhance the unique features of the destination by incorporating elements not traditionally associated to the destination such as culture, arts, gastronomy, wellness, sports and training. The new tourism products offer an interesting alternative to the traditional seasonal attractions, providing a solution to the challenge of seasonality while preserving the identity of the destination and further promoting it. The series of guidelines and recommendations derived from Prototype 365 are available to be applied in new destinations.
The pilot project, Punta del Este 365, was conducted in Punta del Este, a popular seaside resort town in Uruguay that has traditionally been facing the issue of seasonality outside of summertime. The initiative was developed in collaboration with Affiliate Member Destino Punta del Este, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports of Uruguay and the Regional Government of Maldonado. It brought together representatives from the public and private sector along the whole tourism value chain showing how innovative public-private partnerships can successfully develop a year-round tourism destination. The project focused on sports tourism, meetings and the link between gastronomy, agriculture and tourism. In addition, the common theme of energy linked the various elements, adding character to the project.
Within the scope of this initiative, an annual conference is held around the theme of seasonality; the host and date for the 2017 edition are not yet fixed.
- 1st UNWTO Affiliate Members Conference on innovative approaches to overcome seasonality: The Punta del Este Prototype, 1-3 May 2014, Punta del Este, Uruguay
- International Conference on Managing Seasonality in Tourism, 19-20 October 2016, Tirana, Albania, organized by UNWTO Regional Programme for Europe
- 3rd UNWTO Conference on Overcoming Seasonality, 3-4 June 2015, Torremolinos, Spain
For additional information on Punta del Este 365, please download the Prototype Punta del Este 365 booklet.
- Punta del Este 365 booklet (In English and Spanish)
- Punta del Este 365 video
- Press release: Punta del Este 365 – UNWTO launches first prototype to overcome seasonality
- UNWTO Prototypes