Creating Post COVID-19 Responsible, Socially Aware Venues That Attract Tourists

I don’t believe for a moment that social distancing is the new norm. That conferences are a thing of the past or we will do weddings and funerals fundamentally differently from now on. How we celebrate is so strong in our cultures, team work, strong bonds and physical affection so important to our humanity. So yes, I believe that tourism and events will return.

Having said that, I’m the first to admit that tourism climate has changed – from my perspective in 4 significant ways:

  1. Safe space. People are more aware of infection – from other people and surfaces. At least the first wave of tourists (domestic and then international – likely in a second wave) will be socially gun-shy. How you will manage numbers, distancing and hygiene in the coming months?
  2. Solid plans and manageable queues. People have had to cancel some pretty significant travel plans and then wait in line to buy essentials. All your visitors new plans will need to be solid and queues well managed – they wont go anywhere that might turn out to be closed or cancelled, or a long wait in line. How will you structure your experiences so visitors can be confident that they are booking something real?
  3. Spending. Some will be short on spending money, and others flush with their international travel savings. How will you capture the loyalty of the small budget groups and hold their interest for later, and captivate the big spenders to create short and long term loyal shoppers?
  4. Low impact. We have all observed the obvious impact of less people and movement on the environment and wild animals. What can you do to be lower impact choice?

While others are sitting and waiting, you have the opportunity to get ahead of the pack and create a really appealing, responsible and socially aware tourism experience package.

What can you do?

Hand sanitiser:

Add it to your entrance, benches, point of sale, bathrooms and mini-bars.

Make it an asset: Build it into a branded unit or package it so that it is permanent, intentional and tells part of your story.

Social distancing:

Measure your floor space and arrange your tables efficiently

Make it an asset: Consider what experience you want to offer and arrange the space to accommodate it better.

Social distancing is about people – nothing is stopping you using the empty spaces to display stock or information – get people browsing and in the mood to buy. Check out Penfolds at Magill as a fantastic example.

Offer more outdoor space

Make it an asset: Outdoor dining and tasting can be charming, weather permitting. Consider options for how you can set up the dining spaces to make the most of good weather days and accommodate people in pleasant surroundings during the heat, cold and rain as well.

Paved or decked areas with umbrellas and heaters or even a simple roof could be a long term asset to your business. Check out some ideas from really cold climate tourism businesses for some great ideas!

Clever screening

Make it an asset: If you’re short on space, maybe intimate booth seating or  is a possibility, even something removable and adjustable for a long term solution. Here’s an interesting example looking at aeroplane seating option for social distancing but maintaining sustainable numbers of people on board.


Advertise bookable time slots

Make it an asset: Take bookings so that you can predict numbers and staff efficiently. Spread the load across the day so you can accommodate as many people as possible but there is not a line outside or a frustrated crowd.

Bookable also helps people feel confident that it will not be cancelled.

Fill your queuing areas with product

Make it an asset: If you have no choice but to create queues, why not direct customers via the product isles. Have baskets at the ready and have them collect some impulse items as they move along. Hint: The display needs to be located before purchase, not after.


attract big spenders and foster brand loyalists

Make it an asset: Get people involved and educated about your brand, help them feel connected and proud to be part of it. Read about creating brand loyalists in our article at

Create displays that are in line with the quality of your product, but that also entice people to buy. You can read more about retail theory in our Retail Fact Sheet at

Low Impact

Sustainable tourism is about more than solar panels

Make it an asset: Eco Tourism Australia has a list of priorities when it comes to building design, tackling priorities for

  • Site Selection – where you are located and why that is efficient
  • Operational Energy – power and gas usage
  • Landscape, drainage, soil and water management
  • Embodied Energy – energy that it took to make the materials in the first place.

Each section is broken down into key ways to approach reducing the impact

  1. Reduce – firstly reduce the need for the resource
  2. Reuse/treatment – reuse existing resources or treat resources used
  3. Produce – produce your own resources
  4. Experience – express your approach to Eco design and operation in a tangible way so that the tourist can take away an experience that they can apply to their day to day lives and extend an environmentally conscious approach.

Want more information about how you can make it work for you? Download the Eco Design fact sheet at

reducing over tourism

Make it an asset: Bookable tourism experiences reduce overcrowding and allow you to staff your business appropriately. It’s a win-win.

we’re here to help

Like some help to put together a responsible, socially aware venue? Why not give us a call or send an email? We’re always happy to chat. Contact us at


For most tourism businesses, working on your buildings and grounds is a big deal. There is a lot of money and time at stake and can be difficult to know where to start. So let’s just start with a coffee.