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From hurricanes to pandemics: community-based transformation and destination resilience in Utuado, Puerto Rico

By Patrick J. Holladay, Pablo Méndez-Lázaro, and Katja Brundiers

Abstract: Community-based tourism that is both sustainable and resilient lends strength to the community-based tourism system. Local mobilization of resources, cohesiveness, coordination, opportunities for change, healthy social and natural capital, economic diversification, strong leadership, and management that embraces creativity all build resilience. An example from Utuado, Puerto Rico is presented that illustrates these concepts with conceptual parallel of Hurricane Maria’s devastating impact to that of COVID-19. Post-coronavirus tourism should support local communities that could be resilient, creative, adaptive and transformative while it protects and provides long-term benefits to local communities and people.

Keywords: COVID-19, Community, Resilience, Tourism.

Sustainability and Resilience Institute New Zealand

Sustainability and Resilience Institute (SRI) is a New Zealand based research institute, boutique consultancy firm and social enterprise which provides research, business development, product development, and digital marketing services to the public and private sectors. We employ consultants who are specialists in tourism planning, destination management planning, tourism strategies, destination development, infrastructure development, regenerative tourism, culinary tourism, indigenous studies, community conservation, heritage research, economic strategies, feasibility studies, business planning and feasibility, and digital marketing. Our work is always based on science and on this basis, we design strategies for your business. VISION:We strive to make communities and businesses sustainable and resilient, in the face of evolving global trends and shocks.