Cash support for companies and training for staff are the priorities if travel is to recover, according to Portugal’s secretary of state for tourism Rita Marques.
Speaking on a virtual Destination Summit hosted by the Global Travel & Tourism Resilience Council, Marques said: “Liquidity is the priority to keep companies alive, to maintain jobs and guarantee companies have the conditions to survive in the short to medium term.
“The second priority is to instigate trust, and to get trust we have to train people, train all the workers in the sector to make them familiar with the new sanitary rules.”
Marques insisted: “We have to communicate the rules in a clear way, but in a positive way because as long as you comply with the rules you can have a wonderful experience.”
She added: “It’s important for health authorities to share information and apply measures when and where necessary.
“We know things will change. We have to train staff and we have to train consumers because tourism is an activity from people to people. If we don’t involve people in a transparent way, things are not going to work.
“It’s most important we train and continue to train people, and if we find something wrong, we should immediately correct it.”
Christopher Rodrigues, World Travel & Tourism Council ambassador and former chair of VisitBritain, suggested the first priority “is that governments handle the exit from lockdown well and localised future outbreaks, which are inevitable, are handled well, in a way that people comprehend”.
He said trust in the industry would be rebuilt “through consistent delivery of interventions that are appropriate”.
A recovery would also depend on consumers re-gaining confidence and having the financial resources to travel, he said.
Rodrigues told the summit: “The one thing on our side is that people no longer regard travel as a privilege, it’s seen as a right. Demand is not the problem.”
He noted the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) estimates more than 100 million tourism jobs are at risk and said: “If you want to get employment back, you have to get tourism and hospitality going.
“We have to make this work because if it does not, the ripple effect will go way beyond the travel industry.”
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