With many countries around the world beginning to turn the tide in the war against Covid-19, the conversation has now turned towards how they plan to restore their battered tourism industries and lure travelers back to their countries. Yesterday was the opening day of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) Global Summit, an occasion that marked the first major meeting of global tourism leaders since the start of the pandemic. Here’s a closer look at the things they discussed on day one of the conference.
Consistency Is Key
The cruise industry has been struggling for well over a year now, leading to states exploring legal avenues to get ships back on the seas, and Arnold Donald – chief executive of Carnival Corporation – has called for a blanket approach to reopening the tourism sector.
Speaking about the matter, he said:
“We need uniformity and consistency around the world; we have health ministries, tourism ministries and travel ministries in governments and none of them are on the same page. We need a science-based, uniform approach so that people can travel safely again.”
Donald did however stress that the future for the industry was bright, with cruises still in high demand for travelers, which could lead to a bumper season of cruises once the CDC give the industry the nod.
The call for cooperation and consistency was echoed by Hilton’s chief executive Christopher Nassetta. He called for the industry to lead the way in advocating for the reopening of borders around the world, achievable via a mixture of testing, and health credentials such as vaccine passports. Nassetta said that Covid-19 “has not done permanent damaged to the travel sector,” adding that “people want to travel, they want to see the world, and we just have to give them the means to do that.”
New York Predicts A Summer Of Travel
Those looking to visit New York this summer – and those with businesses in the state – will be thrilled to hear that New York is preparing to re-open to the masses this summer. Fred Dixon, chief executive of New York City’s marketing destination marketing organization NYC & Company, announced that travel demand is growing, with hotel occupancy now above 50%.
Dixon also added that the company is predicting that 36.4 million people will visit New York this year – around half of 2019’s total but a significant amount given the global situation. In preparation for swathes of travelers, he revealed the city had pedestrianized several streets, bringing about a café culture to the city of New York. “Travel is going to be a coiled spring; it is going to rebound quickly,” Dixon declared, adding that people are willing a ready to visit.
Vaccine Passports Still A Controversial Subject
Whilst many government ministers and industry bigwigs offered solutions that included the use of vaccine passports, they were not a universally endorsed solution. Colombia’s vice minister of tourism, Julián Guerrero Orozco, warned against the use of such documents, arguing that they ran the risk of creating first and second-class citizens.
Turn Crisis Into Opportunity
Despite the current situation, the travel industry finds, the summit was far from a doom-and-gloom affair. Gloria Guevara, the chief executive of the WTTC, said that the current situation offered a chance for change. “We can turn the crisis into an opportunity – we can become more inclusive and more sustainable. The beginning of the recovery is the beginning of a new chapter – if we are united, we can make it happen,” she declared in her opening speech. It is thought that many countries will be evaluating their blueprints for tourism in the coming months.
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