The World Travel & Tourism Council’s special session on Destination Recovery was held virtually last week, moderated by Travel + Leisure Editor-in-Chief Jacqueline Gifford as well as special guests from Google, Brand USA, Visit California and more.
The session, titled “Restart, Adapt and Thrive: The Path to Destination Recovery,” analyzed key elements that the country’s destinations will need to focus on first, such as supporting safe domestic travel, before the country can once again welcome international travelers.
It also understood the main trends that the travel industry is currently seeing, as well as the role that technology will play in anticipating those trends.
The increase in domestic tourism has been the common trend in every country.
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Muzzammil Ahussain, Executive Vice President, Consumer Travel, Seera, commented on his country, Saudi Arabia: and we used our platforms to provide travel locations, and that’s when, in especially in Saudi Arabia, that the domestic market has really opened up.
This trend has also applied to the United States, but some travelers fear traveling within the country. Even some residents of destinations across the country fear restarting tourism in their cities.
Safety communication, once these destinations are deemed safe by the relevant authorities, will be the most important thing the travel industry can do now to develop domestic tourism.
“I think as we bring the pandemic under control as the vaccine rolls out in this country and around the world, we will have a great opportunity to really play to restore trust – trust between us, trust between visitors to come. … ”Said Christopher Thompson, President and CEO, Brand USA. “When the pandemic became a reality, it really hit our urban cores the hardest. “
It will take transparency, communication and time to rebuild trust. Vaccinations were cited by many panelists as the biggest impetus for reopening international travel, but the country must first recover to give the industry time to re-prepare for international travel, Thompson warned. .
Visit California President and CEO Caroline Beteta anticipates California’s reopening on June 15 by showing Californians that domestic travel is safe and possible: “We’re really looking at our Californians… that’s a well that we can harness to help shorten the upturn curve… ”By creating the Respect California campaign, Visit California was able to communicate restrictions and requirements that vary from county to county, so travelers can travel safely and with respect statewide.
Another important global travel trend is the importance of sustainable travel.
Throughout the pandemic, we have seen that what we do affects the world we live in, and travelers will certainly be looking more at sustainable travel, choosing more carbon neutral airlines, staying in resorts. and hotels that respect the environment, or by participating in tours or experiences that have a direct and positive impact on local communities.
This trend could impact the travel industry in a variety of ways, from inspiring executives to rethink the frequency of business air travel or tracking their carbon footprint, to hotels rethinking the way they interact with them. local communities.
Gilda Perez-Alvarado, Global Managing Director of JLL Hotels & Hospitality, said that before the pandemic, “we were all very focused on infrastructure,” but now that focus has changed: “Post-pandemic, we are looking at the sustainability of the business in the future … Our customers all want to talk about the sustainability of their business in the future, and that has so many ramifications, from social issues … to real investments in infrastructure, etc.
There is hope for the future, although the travel industry needs to take small steps to recover. For now, however, communication is the key. Rob Torres, general manager of travel at Google, cited some important statistics: “In our latest survey, 1 in 3 US consumers said they plan to take a pleasure trip in July, and I think that is. bodes well for all of us ”.