There is a need for the public and private sector to work together to recover the millions of jobs impacted in the tourism and travel industry due to the coronavirus pandemic, rebuild traveller confidence, and build the sector's resilience, according to a new report by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).
This is because it is expected that travellers will continue to pay heightened attention to health and hygiene even after there is a Covid-19 vaccine, making continuous updated "destination readiness" of key importance in terms of health and safety measures and protocols.
WTTC represents the global travel and tourism private sector. According to WTTC's 2020 Economic Impact Report, during 2019, travel and tourism was responsible for one in 10 jobs (330 million in total) in the world, making a 10.3% contribution to global GDP and generating one in four of all new jobs.
The report is a collaboration with Oliver Wyman, a global management consulting firm. The report emphasises the importance of taking a global coordinated approach to recovery by enhancing the current seamless travel experience, embracing the integration of new technologies and enacting global protocols for health and hygiene to ultimately rebuild the confidence of travellers.
The report foresees four macro-trends expected to lead the way through recovery and beyond, namely demand evolution; health and hygiene; innovation and digitisation; and sustainability.
More than 92% of consumers surveyed trust personal recommendations regarding health and hygiene, and 69% of travellers cite cleanliness as a critical component of a travel brand's crisis response.
According to the WTTC, given the shift to remote working, as well as lockdowns around the world, there has been a rapid shift towards digitisation, with people increasingly feeling comfortable with a touchless travel experience. Almost half (45%) of travellers surveyed are ready to move from paper passports to a digital identity, for example.
Another trend picked up in the report is that almost 73% of consumers surveyed say they are taking note of brands that are making a difference during Covid-19, showing that growing attention is being paid to sustainability.
One of the recommendations of the report is for the promotion of tourism by starting with domestic and regional travel. To capitalise on the initial recovery, governments, tourism boards and organisations should direct their early marketing and promotional efforts to incentivise domestic and regional travel. They should also prepare and provide early marketing and promotional incentives to stimulate the earliest possible regrowth and recovery of internal travel and tourism.
Furthermore, investment in digital infrastructure of emerging destinations and remote areas will be critical, as well as enhancing digital skills within local communities and provide incentives to encourage the implementation of sustainability measures within the private sector.
"It is crucial that we continue to learn from previous crises and come together in a coordinated way to make a real difference in reducing both the economic and human impact," comments Gloria Guevara, president and CEO of the WTTC, in a statement.
Matthieu De Clercq, partner at Oliver Wyman, adds that the travel and tourism sector already accounts for one in ten jobs globally, and will continue to be critical to the economic development of many economies. In his view, creating inclusive opportunities for women, youth and minorities alike does not only make sense economically, but is what tourists of the future want, especially post-Covid-19.