World Economic Forum: Positive Tech Solutions Will Forge the Recovery

World Economic Forum: Positive Tech Solutions Will Forge the Recovery

Tokyo, Japan, April 16, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / Global leaders back the need for more technology governance to tackle the most pressing global problems at the World Economic Forum’s inaugural Global Technology Governance Summit.

The summit, hosted by the Government of Japan, was opened by Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide with a welcome address in which he emphasized the timeliness of discussions among leaders on the implementation of digital technologies in the post-COVD era. Suga also reaffirmed his commitment to accelerating reforms to create the world’s most advanced digital society.

More than 2,000 leaders gathered virtually to address the adoption of technology to improve lives and respond to global challenges. The World Economic Forum Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (C4IR) Network will develop this work throughout 2021 and beyond.

An interactive experience was designed for the participants, embedding technology into the summit. Registered participants were invited to learn about non-fungible tokens (NFTs) by collecting fragments – called “shards” – of “Voice Gems” designed by artist Harry Yeff (Reeps 100). Over 250 shards were minted on the first day.

Among the summits, outcomes and commitments include:

  • Two new regional networks of cities were launched in Latin America and South Asia as part of the G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance. The city networks, modelled after the C4IR Japan’s successful Japan Smart City Alliance, aim to bolster small and medium-sized cities’ capacity to realize the Fourth Industrial Revolution’s benefits and safeguard against governance challenges.
  • The C4IR Network will support Agile Nations, a global initiative to enable government, business, and civil society to share evidence and insights into innovative governance. The Network re-committed its support for the Agile50 initiative at the summit, recognizing the role of experts and business leaders in driving agility in governments worldwide.
  • To address pressing challenges and opportunities relating to the rise of new digital currency, central bank digital currency, and so-called “stablecoins,” the Digital Currency Governance Consortium (DCGC) is convening more than 80 organizations representing numerous sectors and geographies.
  • The Forum established the Future of the Connected World initiative with five priority areas for collective action in 2021-2022. Building on the pilot project’s success for Accelerating the Impact of Industrial IoT for SMEs in São Paolo, Brazil, the C4IR Network will expand projects in Colombia, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and Turkey.
  • Executive leaders from the public and private sector, representing more than 12 countries on five continents, released a new roadmap for building a connected future that benefits all. The roadmap and global action plan seek to rally and mobilize the international community on a set of five actions and 37 initiatives to advance the governance of the internet of things and related technologies.
  • The Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) will adopt the framework and pilot it as part of its World Challenge for Self-Driving Transport, trialling autonomous delivery vehicles and using the framework to test a series of performance-based regulations. The impact of this is a framework developed by a Forum project sponsored by the Global Autonomous Vehicle Council (GAVC), which is being used as an incremental part of Dubai’s roadmap to make 25% of its travel driverless by 2030.

The following reports and white papers were published:

  • The Rebuilding Trust and Governance: Towards Data Free Flow with Trust (DFFT) white paper gives a bird’s-eye view of global data governance issues, including privacy, fair competition, cybersecurity and transparency to strengthen trust-governance mechanisms.
  • The Medicine from the Sky: Opportunities and Lessons from Drones in Africa report provides a framework for evaluating where these technologies can be best applied to improve healthcare.
  • A new resource, Global Governance Toolkit for Digital Mental Health, provides help for governments, regulators and independent assurance bodies to address growing ethical concerns over the use of technology in mental and behavioural health.
  • The Technology Futures report outlines new ways for leaders to predict future trends. It provides a framework for leaders to assign probability to trends and forecast risks and uses speculative fiction to bring these to life.
  • A new white paper, Co-designing Digital Interventions and Technology Projects with Civil Society outlines how policy-makers and business leaders can collaborate with civil society to address power imbalances. It explores how each sector can co-design tech and bring equitable access.
  • Transforming Rural Mobility with MaaS explores mobility as a service (MaaS), which will be at the forefront of a new generation of mobility services. It focuses on examples from Japan and examines the common challenges and success factors for MaaS to support local government and related enterprises to transform mobility.

The C4IR Network Affiliate Centres made the following commitments:

  • C4IR Brazil will launch a data governance prototype for noncommunicable disease (NCD) patients to facilitate remote monitoring and public-private sharing of patients’ data in the health system.
  • C4IR Colombia will publish a regulatory framework for data exchange with the Data for Common Purpose Initiative.
  • C4IR India initiated the Artificial intelligence for Agriculture Innovation (AI4AI) project to explore the use of Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies throughout the food chain, from seed to fork. The project, supported by more than 60 industry, government and start-up partners, is currently piloted in Telangana, India. C4IR India has also launched Fourth Industrial Revolution for Sustainable Transformation of Health (FIRST Health). The project explores the role of the Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies in 18 areas of health, including preventive, curative and governance.
  • C4IR Israel is committed to enabling the future of mobility by taking the existing pilot programmes and creating a scalable commercial business model that is safe, sustainable and ethical.
  • C4IR Japan has developed an approach called Authorized Public Purpose Access (APPA), which seeks to use data for the public good while balancing all stakeholders’ rights and interests.
  • The Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Ocean will lead the Action Coalition on Ocean Data together with Microsoft. The coalition strives to deliver open, transparent and easily accessible universal data to comprehensively understand “life below water” for better policies and decision-making. The coalition will be open and inclusive to all actors seeking to liberate ocean data; the Ocean Data Platform will be at the heart of solutions to unlock this data.
  • C4IR Rwanda’s most recent work on pending data protection legislation will serve as a foundation in helping to achieve Rwanda’s ambitions of becoming a proof-of-concept hub for technology innovation and regulation.
  • C4IR Saudi Arabia will hold its official launch event, along with projects designed to advance multistakeholder collaboration on agile governance frameworks and AI, IoT and blockchain. The centre will develop frameworks that usher in advanced autonomous mobility through heavy-lift drones and accelerate the advent of autonomous trucks and vessels, thereby expanding mobility opportunities for air, land, and sea.
  • C4IR South Africa will address the needs of small, medium and micro-enterprises (SMMEs) by launching a series of projects to develop policy protocols for accelerating the adoption of emerging technologies by SMMEs and mitigating associated risks.
  • C4IR Turkey will address the need for human-centric technology using governance models designed by the collective rationality that has emerged from the rapid spread of IoT, AI, and other Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies.
  • C4IR UAE is launching a report focused on developing a precision medicine programme locally, highlighting the critical process areas, including the infrastructure and regulatory environment. It aims to further the growth of the healthcare industry in the UAE and exchange healthcare data globally. C4IR UAE will also lead multiple tokenization pilots to test blockchain technology to modernize the financial system and improve access to capital and liquidity to further economic diversification and digital growth in the UAE.

About the Global Governance Summit 2021
The World Economic Forum’s inaugural Global Technology Governance Summit on 6-7 April 2021 convened leaders from more than 50 governments and 600 companies worldwide. The Summit enabled participants to share perspectives on our ability to harness and disseminate the Fourth Industrial Revolution’s (4IR) new technologies. These technologies will play a key role in ensuring our recovery from the pandemic and avoiding future crises. The Government of Japan hosted the Summit and leveraged the Forum’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Network.

ITB India with Over 400 Buyers and 150 International Exhibitors

ITB India with Over 400 Buyers and 150 International Exhibitors

Mumbai, India, April 16, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / The virtual edition of the inaugural ITB India was successfully held, with three days of networking, travel news and business opportunities. The annual B2B trade show and conference will build the bridge to the Indian and South Asian travel markets. ITB India 2021 Virtual welcomes over 400 Indian and South Asian buyers from MICE, Corporate Leisure and Travel Technology sectors, as well as 150 international sponsors and exhibitors presenting their innovative products and services.

ITB India 2021 is an entirely virtual event hosted on ITB Community in Asia (ITB Community). “Staying in touch, sharing best practice ideas and negotiating business – in these difficult times the travel industry needs exchange more than ever” says Katrina Leung, Managing Director of Messe Berlin (Singapore), the organiser of ITB India. “The virtual inaugural ITB India provides the ideal platform, giving key travel industry leaders and international exhibitors the opportunity to connect.” The online platform concentrates business, networking, content and news in one place. With its virtual show floor, video streaming and intelligent matchmaking tools, the platform offers the best opportunities for successful trade show results.

Saudi as the Official Partner Country of ITB India

The Official Partner Country of ITB India, Saudi Tourism Authority, will showcase an array of current tourism offerings and destination highlights. Tourism is a strategic industry for the future of Saudi Arabia. The country is the world’s largest investor in sustainable tourism infrastructure and offerings. Projects such as the Red Sea and Amaala are setting new global standards in the development and management of tourism in harmony with the natural world.

Virtual show floor for international exhibitors

Apart from the extensive conference programme, 150 international sponsors and exhibitors present their products and services on the virtual show floor. This includes National Tourism Organisations such as Belarus National Tourism Agency, Business Events Perth, German National Tourism Organisation, Israel Ministry of Tourism, Italian National Tourist Board, Korea Tourism Organization, Sarawak Tourism Board, Visit Finland, Visit Levi, Visit Portugal and Zagreb Tourist Board. Hospitality & Travel groups such as Avis India, NH Hotel Group, Royal Cliff Hotel Group and more are also exhibiting.

In addition to digital exhibition booths, ITB India’s online platform also offers business matchmaking including chat and call functions for 1-to-1 business meetings. A supplier directory provides a comprehensive view of all suppliers, such as company profiles, product resources and downloadable articles.

“Rebuilding Travel” – theme of conference programme

The theme of this year’s ITB India Conference is “Rebuilding Travel”. The over 60-session themed agenda of the conference programme has been specially curated to help the travel industry reboot the Indian and South Asian travel industry through effective strategies for business sustainability. Industry experts will cover topics ranging from Travel Recovery across MICE, Corporate, Leisure and Travel Technology.

At a time when the travel industry is searching for up-to-the-minute market insights, ITB India gathers some of the most influential leaders across the globe to hear their views and action plans for recovery. The conference kicks off with two C-Suite Talks, delivered by two industry heavy weights: Rohit Kapoor, CEO, India & South-East Asia (INSEA), OYO and Indiver Rastogi, President & Group Head – Global Business Travel at Thomas Cook India.

National Tourism Organisations (NTOs) and Convention & Visitors Bureaus (CVBs) across South Asia and worldwide will offer thoughts and insights on how the travel industry in their destinations and South Asia will change and grow in the wake of the pandemic. Participating destinations for NTOs’ and CVBs’ Talks include Abu Dhabi, AlUla, Italy, Japan, Maldives, Oman, Portugal, Ras Al Khaimah, Saudi Arabia, Sharjah, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

Top speakers from the private sector include hotels like BWH Hotel Group, Hilton, Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL), India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC), IntelliStay Hotels, Lemon Tree Hotels, The Ashok, and Wyndham Hotels & Resorts as well as airlines like Air India Express.

What’s the big idea that can kickstart business travel in a post-pandemic world – where regulations, procedures and attitudes to travel – all have changed? Corporate travel experts from Amadeus, CWT, SAP Concur, SOTC Travel and Thomas Cook India share their insights and innovative ideas to get corporate people ready to travel again.

In order to rebuild travellers’ confidence, tech innovation will play a crucial role. ITB India 2021 Virtual will explore what innovations we will see next to bring even more changes and transformation to the Indian and South Asian markets including enhanced online experiences, seamless trip planning and more. Speakers from companies like Airbnb, GRNconnect.com and Yatra.com will share their insights.

About ITB India
The inaugural ITB India is an annual 3-day business-to-business trade show and convention curated to connect you to the Indian Travel Market. ITB India brings together key travel industry leaders and international exhibitors from various segments of MICE, Leisure, Corporate and Travel & Technology. Leverage on ITB India to capture the fast-growing Indian and South Asian Markets, to forge new partnerships and strengthen existing business relations with the most important players in India.

Singapore Airlines Migrates to Sabre Advanced Crew Manager Solution

Singapore Airlines Migrates to Sabre Advanced Crew Manager Solution

Singapore, April 15, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / Sabre Corporation, a leading software and technology provider that powers the global travel industry, today announced that Singapore Airlines has successfully migrated to Sabre’s new generation Crew Manager solution.

This latest implementation builds on Sabre’s longstanding and valued relationship with Singapore Airlines and means that Singapore’s national flag carrier can now take full advantage of Sabre’s advanced crew planning, tracking, management and recovery ecosystem at a time when crew management is more complex than ever before.

For a global coverage of the latest airline and aviation news, including verified airlines traveler reviews and ratings, go AirlineHub.com

Singapore Airlines, together with its subsidiary SilkAir, is now able to quickly and efficiently manage and track all crew operations from one holistic, real-time crew management system, enabling more effective communication and decision-making.

“We’re delighted that Singapore Airlines has successfully implemented Crew Manager, joining a growing number of innovative, forward-thinking carriers in Southeast Asia and beyond who recognize the importance of utilizing advanced technological tools in order to improve efficiency and to help minimize disruption for themselves, their crew and, ultimately, the traveller,” said Rakesh Narayanan, Vice President, Regional General Manager, Asia Pacific, Travel Solutions Airline Sales.

“Crew management is one of the most complicated areas of airline operations, and that complexity is only growing as the Covid-19 pandemic means airlines are operating in an environment of constant change, new government and authority regulations, changing business needs and dynamic crew expectations,” added Mr Narayanan. “Singapore Airlines’ confidence in Sabre to support these needs amid challenging times is an unequivocal endorsement of the advanced capabilities of Crew Manager.”

For a global coverage of the latest airline and aviation news, including verified airlines traveler reviews and ratings, go AirlineHub.com

About Sabre Corporation
Sabre Corporation is a leading software and technology company that powers the global travel industry, serving a wide range of travel companies including airlines, hoteliers, travel agencies and other suppliers. The company provides retailing, distribution and fulfilment solutions that help its customers operate more efficiently, drive revenue and offer personalized traveller experiences. Through its leading travel marketplace, Sabre connects travel suppliers with buyers from around the globe. Sabre’s technology platform manages more than $260B worth of global travel spend annually. Headquartered in Southlake, Texas, USA, Sabre serves customers in more than 160 countries around the world. For more information visit www.sabre.com.

About Singapore Airlines
The SIA Group’s history dates back to 1947 with the maiden flight of MalayanAirways Limited. The airline was later renamed Malaysian Airways Limited and thenMalaysia-Singapore Airlines (MSA). In 1972, MSA split into Singapore Airlines (SIA)and Malaysian Airline System. Initially operating a modest fleet of 10 aircraft to 22cities in 18 countries, SIA has since grown to be a world-class international airlinegroup that is committed to the constant enhancement of the three main pillars ofits brand promise: Service Excellence, Product Leadership and NetworkConnectivity.

UNWTO, ONCE and ENAT Joint Efforts to Deliver Accessible Tourism for All

UNWTO, ONCE and ENAT Joint Efforts to Deliver Accessible Tourism for All

Madrid, Spain, April 15, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) will continue to build on its successful partnership with the Spanish ONCE Foundation and the European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT). The three parties have agreed to extend their partnership agreement for a further four years to ensure that their work to improve accessibility, in every part of the tourism value chain, continues during and beyond the pandemic.

Read all the latest UNWTO News and Updates here.

The joint work will continue to focus on the promotion of good practices during the current crisis, the application of standards, the measurement of accessible tourism, as well as labour inclusion and institutional disability inclusive policies. The three partners are currently collecting success stories of destinations and companies which have adopted new sanitary protocols to facilitate access to travel and tourism for all, including both residents and visitors. In line with the key UNWTO Recommendations released early on during the pandemic, the Accessibility Champions initiative is still open for submissions illustrating how the guidelines to restart tourism without imposing new obstacles are being successfully implemented. The most outstanding cases will be promoted by the partners through an e-publication and webinars.

The three partners are also committed to raising awareness of the forthcoming ISO Standard on Tourism for All. All three have worked with the International Standardization Organization (ISO) on the new requirements and recommendations. The ISO standard will represent a milestone, being the first global standard aimed at implementing and improving accessibility throughout the tourism value chain.

The awareness-raising work will sensitize institutions, governments and service providers  o the importance of accessibility for all and inclusion. It will make clear that this is not only a question of human rights and equal opportunities, but also a major competitive advantage for destinations and the private sector.

Read all the latest UNWTO News and Updates here.

UNWTO, the ONCE Foundation and ENAT jointly state: “Accessibility for all is about service quality, innovation and comfort for all tourists, new sources of revenue and new clients with disabilities, seniors and families with young children, among many other individuals, with specific access requirements. By adopting Universal Design principles in the development of environments and services, the tourism sector can fulfil its moral responsibility and, in many countries, legal obligations to cater to those with specific requirements, making tourism for all a reality.”

Escape to the Best of Maldives at Anantara Kihavah Villas

Escape to the Best of Maldives at Anantara Kihavah Villas

Huravalhi Island, Maldives, April 14, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / Lending itself naturally to social distancing where one can truly unwind in spacious outdoor environments in a ‘one island, one resort’ setup, the Maldives has always been a dream vacation choice for most travellers. If you have been visualising a tropical luxury scene of embracing pure white shores lined with swaying palms, Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas has presented yet even more reasons why a Maldives escape is balm for the soul.

Will Anantara Kihavah Villas make it into the World’s Best Luxury Hotels by Hotel Rating Index at Top25Hotels.com?.

A promise of great adventures awaits with the resort’s ‘Best of Maldives’ stay package. Discover a trio of experiences designed to awaken wanderlust; snorkelling with majestic manta rays, stargazing at the only over water observatory in the Maldives, and fine dining underwater at SEA, the world’s first oceanic restaurant and wine cellar.

Macao Welcomed 100,000 Visitors during Easter and Ching Ming Festival Holidays

Macao Welcomed 100,000 Visitors during Easter and Ching Ming Festival Holidays

Macao, Macao SAR, April 14, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / The three-day (3 5 April) Ching Ming Festival Holidays of the Mainland fell between the Easter Holidays (2 6 April) this year. During the five-day holidays, Macao welcomed nearly 100,000 (99,568) visitor arrivals, with an average daily volume of almost 20,000 visitors (19,914). The average hotel occupancy rate was 53.1%. 

Mainland visitor arrivals top 90,000
Provisional figures revealed that Macao registered 99,568 visitor arrivals during the five-day holidays of Easter and Ching Ming Festival together this year, including a total of 90,491 Mainland visitors. The volumes of visitors from Hong Kong and Taiwan region (without international visitors) were 7,678 and 1,399 respectively. Mainland visitors constitute over 90% of all visitors to Macao.

Hotels report 53% average occupancy rate
Figures provided by industry operators revealed that local hotel establishments (hotels and guest houses) saw an average occupancy rate of 53.1% between 2 6 April. The occupancy rates of 3-Star to 5-Star hotels were 59.0%, 53.4% and 53.2% respectively.

The average room rate of hotel establishments (hotels and guest houses) in Macao was about 953.2 patacas between 2 6 April. The average room rates of 5-Star and 4-Star hotels were around 1,142.2 patacas and 654.1 patacas respectively. The average room rates of 3-Star and 2-Star hotels were around 557.4 patacas and 206.4 patacas respectively. The average room rate of guest houses was around 160.8 patacas. The average room rate of all hotel establishments dropped by 23.3% compared with that during Spring Festival Golden Week.

Continuous promotion to spotlight Macao as a healthy, safe and destination
Following the reinstatement of travel permit issuance for Mainland residents to Macao since 23 September 2020, Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) has been strenuously promoting Macao as a healthy, safe and quality destination to attract Mainland visitors for travel and spending in Macao. The Beijing Macao Week and the Macao Week in Hangzhou were organized last September and this March respectively to showcase the citys diverse offer of fascinating travel experiences as well as commercial opportunities to locals and visitors in the respective Mainland cities. Furthermore, the Office has been exploring and leveraging different channels including various media, KOLs, social media and online travel platforms in the Mainland to raise Macaos profile as a safe and quality destination. More promotional efforts will be rolled out to seize the timing of the upcoming 1st May Labor Day holiday, with the hope to draw more Mainland visitors to Macao for vacation and spending, in turn expanding visitor source and spurring economic revival. 

WTTC: Germany’s Tourism Sector Contribution to GDP Dropped €161 Billion

WTTC: Germany’s Tourism Sector Contribution to GDP Dropped €161 Billion

Berlin, Germany, April 13, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / The World Travel & Tourism Council’s annual Economic Impact Report (EIR) today reveals that the dramatic collapse of Germany’s Travel & Tourism sector has wiped out €161 billion from the nation’s economy.

COVID-19 sparks a dramatic 46.9% collapse in the sector’s contribution to GDP. More than 440,000 jobs lost, while many more remain protected by the Kurzarbeit scheme. However, the return of international travel this year could see GDP contribution rise sharply and jobs return

Read all the latest WTTC News and Updates here.

The annual EIR from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), which represents the global Travel & Tourism private sector, shows the sector’s contribution to GDP dropped 46.9%.

The sector’s impact on Germany’s GDP fell from €344 billion (9.8%) in 2019 before the pandemic struck, to €183 billion (5.5%), just 12 months later, in 2020.

The year of damaging travel restrictions which brought much of international travel to a grinding halt, resulted in the loss of 441,000 Travel & Tourism jobs across the country.

However, WTTC believes the true picture could be significantly worse, if not for government’s job-saving Kurzarbeit, a scheme which offered a short-term lifeline to businesses and workers, however hiding the real extent of the losses and the devastating social impact they could bring.

These job losses were felt across the entire Travel & Tourism ecosystem in the country, with SMEs, which make up eight out of 10 of all global businesses in the sector, particularly affected.

Furthermore, as one of the world’s most diverse sectors, the impact on women, youth and minorities was significant.

The number of those employed in the German Travel & Tourism sector fell from 5.87 million in 2019, to 5.43 million in 2020 – a drop of 7.5%.

The report also revealed domestic visitor spending declined by 47.3%, while international spending fared even worse, due to more stringent travel restrictions, causing a fall of 57.9%.

Gloria Guevara, President & CEO WTTC, said: “The loss of more than 440,000 Travel & Tourism jobs across Germany has had a devastating socio-economic impact, leaving huge numbers of people fearing for their future.

“However, the situation could have been far worse if it were not for the government’s prompt action, reintroducing its incredible Kurzarbeit scheme to save millions of jobs under threat and helped to halt the total collapse of the Travel & Tourism sector.

“After a slow and frustrating start, there are now grounds for optimism if Germany’s vaccine rollout continues at pace, with family doctors across the country now beginning to administer jabs to the general public.

“With more people vaccinated, a clear roadmap for increased mobility and, the likelihood of relaxed restrictions for travel from countries outside of the EU with comprehensive testing on departure in place just before the busy summer season, we predict the 441,000 jobs lost in Germany could return by the end of this year.

“However, the government’s bold and courageous move to protect jobs is not sustainable in the long-term. We know tens of thousands of SMEs, which make up the bulk of the ailing Travel & Tourism sector, are still fighting for their survival, putting at risk the capacity of the country to recover from the crushing impact of COVID-19.

“WTTC believes that another year of terrible losses can be avoided if the government supports the swift resumption of international travel, which will be vital to powering the turnaround of the Germany economy.

“Our research shows that if mobility and international travel resumes by June this year, the sector’s contribution to the nation’s GDP, could reach the same levels of 2019 by 2022.”

WTTC says the key to unlocking safe international travel can be achieved through a clear and science-based framework to reopen international travel.

All non-vaccinated travellers should face a comprehensive testing regime before departure, as well as enhanced health and hygiene protocols, including mandatory mask wearing.

Read all the latest WTTC News and Updates here.

Whilst the German government has previously expressed concerns surrounding the European Commission’s Digital Green Certificate, which would display a traveller’s COVID-19 status, WTTC believes such a pass would further enable safe international travel.

These measures would be the foundation to build the recovery of the many millions of jobs lost due to the pandemic.

It would also reduce the terrible social implications these losses have had on communities dedicated to Travel & Tourism and upon ordinary people who have been isolated by COVID-19 restrictions.

Advancing Harmonized Travel Protocols and Financing Tourism’s Survival

Advancing Harmonized Travel Protocols and Financing Tourism’s Survival

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, April 12, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has again convened its Global Tourism Crisis Committee to lead the sector in harmonizing travel and health protocols and securing vital financing for businesses struggling to survive an historic crisis.

The ninth meeting of the Crisis Committee advanced solutions to the biggest challenges standing in the way of international travel returning.

Committee members, drawn from political leadership, international organizations, including UNWTO’s sister UN agencies, finance and the private sector, discussed the Crisis Committee’s Recommendations, which focus on four core areas: the resumption of safe, cross-border travel; promoting safe travel at all points of the tourist journey; providing liquidity to tourism businesses and protecting jobs, and restoring confidence in travel.

The virtual meeting was co-hosted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Opening the proceedings, the Minister for Tourism, His Excellency Ahmad bin Aqil Al Kateeb, said: “Saudi Arabia has been collaborating with partners across the public and private sectors both regionally and globally to accelerate the resumption of international travel. The facilitation of safe and seamless travel is the only way to restore confidence among travelers and tourism businesses, which will ultimately be the drivers of the sector’s recovery.”

Harmonized protocols and building confidence

The Committee backed the proposed EU Digital Green Pass as an example of joined-up protocols for other regions to follow. Addressing the meeting, EU Vice President Margaritis Schinas said that “we can make summer 2021 the beginning of the post-pandemic era, one that is safer, more sustainable, more resilient and more prosperous”. He stressed that “the tourism sector can – and should – be at the forefront of this effort, leading the recovery of the European and the global economy”.

Mr. Schinas also outlined the work being done to raise consumer confidence in tourism, already devastated by issues surrounding cancelling and refunding travel services and noted: “UNWTO’s efforts to develop an International Code for the Protection of Tourists are most welcome”. The landmark legal code is one of several key UNWTO initiatives aimed at restoring confidence in international travel.

Also at the Committee, UNWTO and IATA (the International Air Transport Association) announced the forthcoming launch of a new Destination Tracker. This tool will be available on the websites of both organizations and provide comprehensive and up-to-date information on the restrictions and requirements of airlines and destinations, allowing tourists to make informed choices.

Recommendations for Recovery

The Recommendations of the UNWTO Global Tourism Crisis Committee highlight the importance of basing policies on current international health and aviation regulations, including but not limited to provisions from the World Health Organization (WHO) and those the International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO), most notably its ‘Take Off’ guidance and the work of its Civil Aviation Recovery Taskforce (CART). The Recommendations also call for the creation of Public Health Corridors, the implementation of digital health solutions and the development of a common “traffic-light” system as a recognizable risk management framework. In presenting the Recommendations,  the Minister of Tourism of Greece and Chair of the UNWTO Crisis Committee’s Technical Group, Harry Theoharis, said that ”this year we have more tools in our arsenal, including vaccinations, to address all concerns of travellers and people employed in the tourism sector.”

Financing tourism’s survival

Through the Global Tourism Crisis Committee, UNWTO also advanced on its work addressing one of the other key challenges facing global tourism, namely the sudden halt of tourism cash flow and the need to support businesses and protect jobs. Along with ICAO and the WHO, UNWTO is one of the only UN agencies working with the OECD on its International Mobility Initiative. UNWTO is also working closely with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

OECD and EBRD again contributed to the latest meeting of the Crisis Committee, advancing coordinated efforts to both support tourism businesses through the current crisis and also to build future resilience and achieve greater sustainability, including through promoting green investments in the sector. Also updating the Committee were the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), with their representatives focusing in particular on the potential role of innovation, green investments in tourism and on supporting businesses, now and during the recovery phase.

WTTC Research Reveals Tourism Sector Contribution to UK GDP Slumped Shocking £148 Billion

WTTC Research Reveals Tourism Sector Contribution to UK GDP Slumped Shocking £148 Billion

London, United Kingdom, April 12, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / The World Travel & Tourism Council’s annual Economic Impact Report (EIR) today reveals that the dramatic collapse of the UK’s Travel & Tourism sector has wiped out a staggering £148 billion from the UK economy.

Impact of COVID-19 sparks a 62.3% collapse in the sectors GDP. More than 300,000 jobs lost, while many more remain sustained by furlough schemes. However, the return of international travel this year could see GDP contribution rise sharply and jobs return.

Read all the latest WTTC News and Press Releases here.

The annual EIR from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), which represents the global Travel & Tourism private sector, shows the sector’s contribution to GDP, dropped by a precipitous 62.3%.

Travel & Tourism GDP fell from £238 billion (10.1%) in 2019 before the pandemic struck, to just £90 billion (4.2%), a mere 12 months later, in 2020.

The year of crippling travel restrictions, and ineffective quarantines, which have  brought international travel to a grinding halt, has resulted in the loss of 307,000 Travel & Tourism jobs across the country.

However, WTTC believes the true picture could be significantly worse, if not for government fiscal and liquidity incentives, as well as furlough and job protection schemes which across all sectors is currently protecting more than 11 million jobs, hiding the true extent of the losses and the devastating social impact they could bring.

According to latest figures*, the UK government is estimated to have spent more than £46 billion on job retention schemes, with that figure expected to rise to £80 billion by the time the programs end in October 2021.

These job losses were felt across the entire UK Travel & Tourism ecosystem, with SMEs, which make up eight out of 10 of all businesses in the sector, particularly affected. Furthermore, as one of the world’s most diverse sectors, the impact on women, youth and minorities was significant.

The number of those employed in the UK Travel & Tourism sector tumbled from 4.27 million in 2019, to 3.96 million in 2020 –  a fall of 7.2%.

The report also revealed domestic visitor spending declined by 63.2% due to nationwide lockdowns, while international spending fared even worse, because of stringent travel restrictions, ineffective quarantines and constantly changing government policies, causing a fall of 71.6%.

Gloria Guevara, President & CEO WTTC, said: “The loss of more than 300,000 Travel & Tourism jobs across the UK has had a devastating socio-economic impact, leaving huge numbers of people fearing for their future.

“But the situation could have been far worse if it were not for the government’s prompt action, which introduced job retention schemes to save millions of jobs under threat and helped to halt the total collapse of the Travel & Tourism sector.

“There are grounds for optimism if the UK’s world-leading vaccine rollout continues at pace and travel restrictions are relaxed just before the busy summer season – alongside a clear roadmap for increased mobility. With all these factors in place, WTTC predicts the 300,000 Travel & Tourism jobs lost in the UK could return this year.

“Our concern is that the government’s courageous move to protect jobs is not sustainable in the long-term. We know tens of thousands of SMEs, which make up the bulk of the embattled Travel & Tourism sector, are still fighting for their survival, putting at risk the capacity of the country to recover from the crushing impact of COVID-19.

“WTTC believes that another year of terrible losses can be avoided if the government supports the swift resumption of international travel, which will be vital to powering the turnaround of the UK economy.

“Our research shows that if  mobility and international travel resumes by June this year, the sector’s contribution to global GDP could rise sharply in 2021, by 48.5%, year-on-year.”

WTTC says the key to unlocking safe international travel can be achieved through a clear and science-based framework to reopen international travel.

Read all the latest WTTC News and Press Releases here.

All non-vaccinated travellers should face a comprehensive testing regime before departure, as well as enhanced health and hygiene protocols, including mandatory mask wearing. Digital health passes, such as the European Commission’s Digital Green Certificate, would display a traveller’s COVID-19 status, which would further enable safe international travel.

These measures would be the foundation to build the recovery of the many millions of jobs lost due to the pandemic and reduce the terrible social implications these losses have had on communities dedicated to Travel & Tourism and upon ordinary people who have been isolated by COVID-19 restrictions.

Skål International Celebrating 89th Anniversary

Skål International Celebrating 89th Anniversary

Malaga, Spain, April 12, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / World’s largest global network of Tourism Professionals dedicating the entire month of April 2021 for Skål Celebrations and Doing Business Among Friends in the Travel and Tourism Industry.

First Skål club was established in 1932 in Paris, France. After its foundation, the club was promoted by the friendship between a group of Parisian Travel Agents who several transport companies invited to present a new aircraft destined for the Amsterdam-Copenhagen-Malmo flight.

The idea of international friendship between Tourism Professionals grew, and by early 1934 there were already 12 clubs formed in five countries. It was then that the idea arose to create a partnership that brings together all the clubs, to foster goodwill and friendship in the Travel and Transport sectors around the World.

The ‘Association Internationale des Skål Clubs’ (AISC) was established on April 28th, 1934, at the Hotel Scribe in Paris, in a General Assembly composed of 21 delegates, representatives of 11 clubs, plus two observers from London, who together elected Executive Committee, under the chairmanship of Florimond Volckaert.

Since then, April 28th has been celebrated around the globe as World Skål Day. Today, Skål International is present in over 100 countries with over 335 clubs and almost 13,000 members.

“Our founding fathers had a vision of a strong, connected tourism industry built on friendship to promote travel amongst member countries. This was the basic value of Skål, the ties that bind us together, and they are as important today as they were in our infancy.” Said Bill Rheaume, Skål International World President, 2021.

At its 89th Anniversary, Skål International World President Bill Rheaume and the Executive Board have decided to dedicate the entire month of April for Skål, ‘Doing Business Among Friends’ celebrations. As traveling and person meeting restrictions continue, the clubs are invited to celebrate and showcase their club and their city via online Zoom meetings.

Over 25 clubs from 25 different cities worldwide will be showcasing their destination during 60-minute presentations booked throughout April. The online meeting schedule is posted on Skål International website and social media platforms. All meetings dedicated to Skål International celebrations will be open to public participation in April 2021.

“I am thrilled to see clubs accept the challenge of celebrating Skal Month celebrations,” added Bill Rheaume, Skål International World President, 2021.

The initial kick-off meeting for the Skål Month Celebrations will take place on April 6th at 15.00 pm CET where the Executive Board will host the global membership on a special Zoom meeting led by Skål International World President Bill Rheaume and Skål International CEO Daniela Otero to conduct the famous Skål toast in three official languages.

“To address the current challenges facing the tourism sector, we must nurture our rich history as an organization. Skal International, with its nine decades of experience in the sector, with partners who possess valuable expertise, and use our global Skål network, continues to address today’s challenges and forge a better future,” said Daniela Otero, CEO, Skål International.

Skål International is the world’s largest global network of Tourism Professionals promoting Tourism, Business, and Friendship worldwide since 1934. Its members are Directors and Executives of the Tourism sector who relate to each other to address common interest issues, improving a business network, and promoting destinations.