Competitiveness Analysis of Sustainable Destination Management

Competitiveness Analysis of Sustainable Destination Management

A destination’s competitiveness in the national and global markets determines its success. Long-term success requires a destination to be resilient and sustain its competitive position in case of unexpected events. A complex combination of economic, environmental, socio-cultural, technological, and political factors creates and modifies destinations making it challenging to maintain competitiveness. The emergence of alternative tourism destinations necessitates a competitiveness analysis of New York City to support tourism management. This essay goes beyond the business approaches and considers thematic, special, and advocacy features to make New York City a sustainable urban tourism destination. New York City needs to consider the effects of tourism in its sustainability programs and long-term designs so that the city can maximize its sustainable destination management for residents and visitors alike.

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New York City’s Competitiveness Issues and Impacts

A tourist destination becomes competitive because of its cultural and natural resources, visibility in the national and global tourism industry, geographical position, and capacity to enhance the residents’ and visitors’ well-being. Sustainable destinations have resources management strategies that fulfill residents’ social and economic needs while upholding essential life support systems and maintaining unique identities (Paunović et al. 2). Competitive tourism destinations utilize market intelligence, develop products with intangible and tangible elements, and implement policies and destination management strategies supporting sustainability (UNWTO).

The number of visitors in New York doubled over the last 20 years, with a record high of more than 62 million just before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The tourism surge created economic boosts and modified the City’s social characteristics. While tourism portends an improved economic future, it has created new economic, social, and healthcare challenges that could negatively influence the sustainability and competitiveness of New York City (González-Rivera 3).

The challenges mentioned above could limit the City’s capacity to attract tourists and restrict growth potentials in a highly competitive environment.  New York City can enhance its competitiveness and maintain an improved tourism experience by ensuring reliable transportation, security, and affordable accommodation. The US government also needs to reconsider the high visa requirements that deter tourists who doubt the City’s international openness (World Economic Forum 23).

Economic Issues. Expenditures by business travelers and tourists continue to boost New York City’s economy. The City’s market share of incoming overseas travel accounts for about one-third of international visitors to the US. A larger percentage of visitors to New York City hail from countries with smaller economies than the US Visitors whose currencies are weaker than the US dollar are discouraged from visiting New York City because of the likelihood of a reduced purchasing power (González-Rivera 10).

The United World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) identifies other price competitiveness issues in the City include relatively higher accommodation costs, flight tickets, and fuel costs. New York City needs to create an economy that provides international visitors with improved experience. Implementing policies supporting the sustainable growth of the City’s economy to support visitors’ needs will ensure its competitiveness among destinations that offer cheaper alternatives.

Environmental Issues. Competitive destinations need to identify and operate within their tourism carrying capacity. According to the UNWTO, tourism carrying capacity is the upper limit of visitors permitted to access a tourism destination or ecosystem at a given time and cannot degrade the economic, physical, and socio-cultural environment and reduce others’ satisfaction (UNWTO 19). The existence of policies enhancing a destination’s sustainable environmental management is a critical competitive advantage that ensures its future attractiveness. Given the impacts of tourism on the environment, authorities need to implement stringent regulations for assessing and improving the status of natural resources in New York City to ensure sustainable tourism development. The increased concerns about conservation and climate change give countries and destinations that comply to international environmental treaties more competitive advantage.

Socio-cultural Issues. Tourism development has affected social and community well-being in New York City. The increasing number of visitors and the construction of condominium towers portend displacement threats and cultural issues instead of prosperity. Linking tourism development to social well-being and cultural engagement can enhance the residents’ quality of life and increase the City’s competitiveness in providing visitors better socio-cultural experience (University of Pennsylvania 5).

Technological Issues. Adopting technology for tourism development, marketing, and promotion increases a destination’s competitiveness. The UNWTO reports that technology has a critical position in tourism because of its capacity to support service selling and information sharing. Technology also supports sustainable destination management through reliable virtual tourism experiences that reduce pressure on sensitive tourism ecosystems. Virtual tourism technologies also create demand for tourism products among potential international visitors. New York City remains competitive by providing visitors with simplified navigation tools that improve their social interaction and experience in the city. The use of technology improves visitor engagement and compliance to environmental and public health protocols in the city (Office of the New York State Comptroller 16).

Politics. Politics has a direct influence on tourism. Authorities and policymakers influence the delivery of tourism products in hospitality environments through regulation, cultural and biodiversity preservation, taxation, and real estate development policies. Political decisions that affect a tourism destination’s social environment also affect its competitiveness. Increased public protests, increased racial inequity, and negative outbursts from leaders in the 2020 campaigns might have influenced tourists’ perceptions about the United States (González-Rivera 10).

Several opinion polls reported increased negative perceptions among potential foreign visitors during the same period. New York City’s administration needs to use market intelligence reports to promote available tourism products to attract visitors from all demographics and regions. Sustained support for tourism products promotion and marketing is crucial for the City to maintain a booming tourism economy (González-Rivera 10).


New York City has an opportunity to increase its market shares in the growing tourism market to meet the needs of the expanded global middle-class communities. New tourism destinations are rapidly emerging than before. Popular cities like Miami and Toronto and cost-effective destinations in Latin America are more focused on improving the visitor experience.

New York City needs to connect tourism with its long-term economic strategies to manage and sustain increasing annual visitors. The relevant authorities should implement sustained infrastructural investments, comprehensive strategic planning, and focus on the critical resources needed for tourism management. Sustainable tourism destinations need to address all political, environmental, economic, and socio-cultural issues that increase their competitors’ advantage in the highly competitive tourism markets.









Works Cited

González-Rivera, Christian. “Destination New York.” Center for an Urban Future (CUF), 2018, Accessed 14 Nov. 2021.

Office of the New York State Comptroller. The Tourism Industry in New York City: Reigniting the Return. 2021. Accessed 14 Nov. 2021.

Paunović, Ivan, Marc Dressler, Tatjana Mamula Nikolic, and Sanja Popovic Pantic. “Developing a Competitive and Sustainable Destination of the Future: Clusters and Predictors of Successful National-Level Destination Governance across Destination Life-Cycle.” Sustainability, vol. 12, no. 10, 2020, article 4066.

University of Pennsylvania Social Impact of the Arts Project (SIAP) and Reinvestment Fund, “Culture and Social Wellbeing in New York City: Highlights of a Two-Year Research Project”. Culture and Social Wellbeing in New York City—2014-2017. 2. 2017.

UNWTO. “Competitiveness.” The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), 2021, Accessed 14 Nov. 2021.

World Economic Forum. The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report. 2019. Accessed 14 Nov. 2021.

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