Tourism, On The Road To Recovery

In the light of recent events with countries and states implementing entry rules to flatten the curve, people are not planning where to travel but how to. The virus has taken its toll on a good deal of industries but a huge scoop from travel and trade. On the brighter side, according to experts and leaders, tourism will likely see a gradual revival by the end of 2021 and forecasts upturns in the coming 5-6 years. 

A cautious comeback of domestic and international trade and tourism has already kick-started and travelers around the globe  are remaining optimistic. With outbound travels already happening under air bubbles, International travel and tourism normalcy isn’t far behind as countries are taking baby steps to make the comeback. 

The outbreak has called attention to the global importance of tourism and travel industry economically. As reported earlier this year by the International Labour Organization (ILO), around 25 million jobs could be lost worldwide due to Covid19. This estimation could go higher as new figures from World Trade and Tourism Council (WTTC) shows, with restrictions in the international travel continues, it could surge up to 174 million job loss by the end of 2020. 

Though, unemployment rates are high due to economic impact, countries are prioritizing domestic travel and tourism which could curb unemployment in the tourism sector and bring travel back to its feet in the coming years. 

Road to Recovery

The world is on the road to recovery with strategies, Summits, Events, Conventions, Intergovernmental agreements etc, we have a good start to turn things around. Though path may seem long but the light at the end is certain. 

WTM virtual (World Travel Market) 2020 which was held last month has been the platform for global travel leaders, ministers and entrepreneurs representing countries to connect, exhibit their businesses and also discuss and share strategies to overcome the covid19’s impact on tourism sector. 

Canada is one of those countries working hard to beat the economic challenges. Since March, the international visitation has gone down by 98.5% according to the International travel data of Canada. 

This may stay intact for the time being until its borders are reopened. However, the hardest hit private sectors are looking forward to collaborate with the federal government to recover the economic loss and jobs, says Charlotte Bell, president of Tourism Industry Association of Canada during a panel in WTM. “We have been working really hard with our industry, with our stake holders and other partners through variety of associations who all want to see the travel economy start again” she added.

The government of Canada acknowledged the importance of Travel and tourism and it’s significance in the economy during the Speech from the Throne 2020. The government also plans to make badly affected businesses it’s top priority. 

On the other side, Greece’s partnership with the private tourism sector and the government has paved way to an early revival of tourism in the country. Airports in Greece are open for domestic and international flights with strict health protocols for non-essential travel, especially for selected nations. The government-built app called ‘Visit Greece’ helps travelers by offering complete tourist and health information that provides personalized customer service irrespective of his/her location in country. It also incorporates tourism companies working in the industry. 

Talking about the future of tourism on a panel at WTM, H. Theoharis, Minister of tourism of Greece has strategic plans for the coming years, “We have high expectations for 2021, we have already started working on one of our strategic goals which is the extension of the tourist season. We work systematically with local communities and tourism professionals to achieve in 2021 and 2022 with an annual season with direct international arrivals.” 

It is inspiring to know that tourism can end tension between nations in spite of the given situation we are in right now. With the Abraham Accords signed, The kingdom of Bahrain, United Arab Emirates and Israel join hands towards a peaceful correlation underlining enhanced tourism opportunities.

On the WTM session ‘Tourism: The Path to Peace in the Middle East’, Dr Ahmed bin Abdullah Belhoul Al Falasi, the UAE minister of state for entrepreneurship and SEMs remarked that, despite the economic impact, travel would make countries more tolerant and accepting of other cultures. 

Dr Falasi also added “there is a lot of economic prosperity coming out of it, is not just to avoid war”. The Israel’s Minister of Tourism, Orit Farkash-Hacohen believes this could be historical, “Tourism industry is known to put things in a fast motion. I feel like we are witnessing history unfolding”, as reported in WTM. 

Sustainable Tourism is the Future

The covid19 outbreak hit us out of the blue and it has opened eyes of administrations around the world. The aftermath left nations in demand of plans for quick recover.

Let us assume the global economy is almost back on its feet in a hypothetical scenario, travel and tourism is back in business but how would you sustain it? People often forget tourism is not just visiting new places and exploring the unknown but also being a responsible tourist by keeping the destination alive, respecting the culture, not leaving your plastic breadcrumbs and carbon footprints, conserving natural resources and buying the local products because lot of families rely on tourism for income.

This could sustain employment, income and preservation of the destination. Businesses for the local is an opportunity to have a stake in their own land. Local businesses have a symbiotic relationship with tourism. It is important for sustainability since native businesses make ends meet owing to tourism. 

Biodiversity and conservation of nature is as important as economic recovery. A lot of countries in Africa prioritize making the destinations greener since they rely on natural destinations for tourism. This is crucial because it makes tourism better for the travelers and the destination alike.

Conclusion

These actions taken by countries are reminders of hope. There are a lot more happening around the globe to get tourism back on its feet. This unprecedented situation is pushing countries to strategize plans for quick recovery as the revival of the tourism sector is cardinal because a bigger part of national GDP comes from tourism, especially in developing countries.

Sai Anand- Writer and Travel enthusiast

 

One response to “Tourism, On The Road To Recovery”

  1. Paddu Sasha says:

    Well Written , Thank you so much for The Informative article♥️

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