- In 2020 alone, the travel and tourism industry lost $4.5 trillion in GDP and 62 million jobs – there is still a long way to go to recovery.
- The latest edition of the World Economic Forum Travel and Tourism Development Index It gives expert opinions on how the sector will recover and grow.
- We asked four industry leaders to reflect on the state of recovery, lessons learned from the pandemic, and conditions critical to the future success of travel and tourism businesses and destinations.
The recovery of the global travel and tourism sector after the pandemic is gaining pace with a renewed pent-up desire to travel the world. The difference in international tourist arrivals in January 2021 and a similar period in January 2022 was equal to the growth in the whole of 2021. However, with $4.5 trillion in GDP and 62 million jobs lost in 2020 alone, the road to recovery is still a long way off.
Certain factors will largely determine how the sector performs. These include travel restrictions, vaccination rates and health security, changing market dynamics and consumer preferences, and the adaptability of businesses and destinations. At the same time, the sector will need to prepare for future shocks.
TTDI Standards and Their Measurements “The set of factors and policies that enable the sustainable and resilient development of the T&T sector, which in turn contribute to the development of the country.” The TTDI is a direct development of the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI), as the change reflects the index’s increased coverage of T&T development concepts, including the impact of sustainability and resilience on T&T’s growth, and is designed to highlight the sector’s role in broader economic and social development as well as the need for stakeholder collaboration. Interest in the fight against trypanosomiasis and TV to mitigate the impact of the epidemic, promote recovery and deal with future challenges and risks. Some of the more notable framework and methodological differences between TTCI and TTDI include additions of new pillars, including non-recreational resources, resilience and socioeconomic conditions, and demand pressure and impact on T&T. Please see technical and methodological notes. To learn more about the indicator and the differences between TTCI and TTDI.
The latest edition of the World Economic Forum Travel and Tourism Development Index It highlights many of these aspects, including the opportunity and need to rebuild the travel and tourism sector for the better by making it more inclusive, sustainable and resilient. This will unleash its potential to drive future economic and social progress.
In this context, we asked four industry business leaders to reflect on the state of recovery, lessons learned from the pandemic, and conditions critical to the future success of travel and tourism businesses and destinations.
“The way we live and work has changed due to the pandemic and the way we travel has changed too.”
Tony Capuano, CEO of Marriott International
Despite the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the future for travel and tourism looks bright. All over the world, people are already back on the road. Travel demand is incredibly resilient, and as vaccination rates rise and restrictions ease, travel has rebounded quickly, often driven by leisure.
The way many of us live and work has changed due to the pandemic and the way we travel has changed too. New categories of travel appeared. One example is the rise of “leisure” travel – which combines elements of business and leisure travel into a single trip. New flexible working arrangements, including the opportunity for many knowledge workers to work remotely, have created opportunities for extended travel, not limited to Monday-Friday “9 to 5” work week in the office.
To take advantage of this renewed and growing demand for new travel experiences, the industry must join forces with governments and policy makers to ensure the right conditions are in place to welcome travelers as they prepare to get back on the road again, particularly those crossing international borders. So far, much of the recovery has been driven by domestic travel and leisure. However, the gradual recovery of business and international travel will be important to the broader industry and the millions who make their living through travel and tourism.
Given the future challenges of the sector, be it public health conditions, international crises or climate impacts, global coordination will be the key element in addressing the difficult conditions directly. International agreement on common – or at least compatible – standards and decision-making frameworks for global travel is essential. Leveraging existing organizations and processes to achieve consensus as challenges arise will help reduce risks and improve collaboration while keeping borders open.
“The travel and tourism sector will not be able to survive unless it adapts to the virtual market and conscientious, sustainable travelers”
Shinya Katanozaka, Representative Director and Chairman of ANA Holdings Inc.
While the pandemic is still restricting people’s movement, there is a strong and renewed sense that people want to travel and that they want to go to places to work and recreation.
In this regard, the biggest change was the concept of “travel”.
A good example of this is the rapid expansion of the “virtual travel” market. This trend has been accelerated not only by advances in digital technologies, but also by the protracted pandemic. The travel and tourism sector will not be able to survive unless it adapts to this new market.
However, this is not as simple as switching from “real” to “default”. Virtual experiences will rediscover the value of real experiences. Moreover, the desire for real experiences with clearer and more diverse purposes. The hope is that this virtual and actual meeting will bring balance and synergy to the industry.
The pandemic has also seen the emergence of the “sustainability-conscious” traveler, meaning the airline industry and others are now facing the challenge of adding decarbonization to their value proposition. This trend will lead to a rethinking of what travel should look like and how sustainable practices can be incorporated and transmitted. Meeting this challenge will also require stronger collaboration across the entire industry. We believe this will play an important role in revitalizing the industry as it recovers from the pandemic.
Mobility – the movement of people and goods – provides access to jobs, education, health care, and commerce.
The World Economic Forum platform works around shaping the future of mobility in four different industries: automotive, supply chain, transportation, airline travel, tourism, aviation and drones. The platform aims to ensure that the future of mobility is safe, clean and inclusive for the world’s rapidly growing population.
- The Forum and UNICEF have developed a compact with leading shipping, airline and logistics companies to support COVAX in delivering more than one billion COVID-19 vaccines to vulnerable communities around the world.
- The Forum launched the Space Sustainability Rating to ensure space missions are managed safely and sustainably, encouraging transparency in the approach to space debris mitigation.
- The Forum and the Government of Rwanda have jointly developed new regulations for drones that will allow drones to be manufactured and used in ways that benefit society and the economy.
- In collaboration with the Canadian and Dutch governments, as well as industry partners, the Forum is piloting a well-known traveler digital identity platform to facilitate easier and secure international travel using biometrics and blockchain.
Contact us for more information on how to participate.
‘Tourism industry should advocate better protection for small businesses’
Gilda Perez-Alvarado, Global CEO of JLL Hotels & Hospitality
In the next few years, I believe that sustainability practices will become more prevalent as travelers become more aware and interested in what countries, destinations and regions are doing in the field of sustainability. Both core environmental parts, such as water and air, and an overall approach to sustainability will be important.
In addition, I believe that conservation becomes more important in terms of how destinations and countries interpret what they do, as the importance of climate change and natural resources will be paramount and become of paramount importance to travelers.
The second part to this is that we may see more interest in outside events going forward because they create this kind of natural social distancing, if you will, or that natural piece of safety. Doing outdoor activities such as outdoor dining, hiking, and festivals may be a more attractive alternative to crowded events and spaces.
Lots of lessons have been learned over the past few years, but one of the biggest has been the importance of small businesses. As an industry, we must better protect small businesses. We need to identify programs that successfully help small businesses get through tough times.
Unfortunately, during the pandemic, many small businesses have closed and may never come back. Small businesses are important to the travel and tourism industry because they bring distinction to destinations. People do not travel to visit the same places they can visit at home; They prefer unique experiences that only specific companies offer. If you were to remove all small businesses from a destination, it would be an entirely different experience.
“The data shows that the majority of travelers want to explore destinations in a more interactive and experiential way.”
Steve Cover, Co-Founder and CEO of Tripadvisor
We are on the verge of a travel renaissance. The pandemic may have halted the global travel experience, but people are slowly emerging from the bubble. Companies need to acknowledge the constant desire to feel safe when traveling. A Tripadvisor survey revealed that three-quarters (76%) of travelers will still make destination choices based on low COVID-19 infection rates.
As such, efforts to showcase how companies take care of travelers – whether that is by deep cleaning their belongings or making items like hand sanitizer readily available – must be ingrained in tourism operations moving forward.
But travel will also evolve in other ways, and as an industry, we need to be ready to think digitally, and to reimagine our use of physical space.
Hotels will become dynamic meeting places for teams to collaborate in our new hybrid way of working. Residences close to corporate headquarters will benefit from an influx of bookings from employees who meet for longer periods. It also makes room for the ‘leisure’ traveler who mixes business and leisure travel. Hotels in unique locations will become possible workplaces. Employers should prepare their workers to tick off a few extra days to get some rest and relaxation after on-site company meetings.
Away from the pandemic, travelers will also want to explore the world differently, see new places and do new things. Our data reveals that the majority would like to explore destinations in a more holistic and experiential way, feeling a greater connection to history and culture. While seeing the top of the Empire State Building has been a typical trip for New York City tourists, visitors will become more drawn to intimate activities like taking a cooking class in Brooklyn with a family of pizza makers going back generations. This will undoubtedly be Great room for growth in the travel and tourism industry.
Governments will be smart in planning, too, looking at evidence of international play that helps us prepare for the next public health crisis, including passports that are universal for vaccines and policies that get us across borders faster.
Understanding these key trends – the ongoing need to feel safe and the growing desire to travel differently – and planning for the next crisis will be essential for governments, destinations and tour operators to succeed in efforts to preserve travel around the world.