A global co-ordinated approach to travel and tourism recovery from Covid-19 is being called for in a new report into the future of the sectors.

Four macro-trends are expected to lead the way – evolution of demand, health and hygiene, innovation and digitisation, and sustainability.

The study for the World Travel & Tourism Council covers travellers, businesses, workforce, and communities and highlights the need for public and private sector to work together to recover the millions of jobs impacted, restore traveller confidence and build the sector’s resilience.

The publication came as the organisation instigated a social media push to raise awareness of the social benefits of travel.

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The  ‘Travel the world. Make a difference’ campaign strapline is inspired by the deeper positive socio-economic and cultural benefits which travel can generate.

The new social media initiative asks travellers to think about the positive social impact that travel makes to people, places and communities dependent upon the travel and tourism for their livelihoods.

It also encourages people around the world to share stories of how tourism has made a difference and changed their lives.

A video to share the message will go online across social media platforms, asking travellers about their own journeys, which have had a profound impact on their lives and to share their stories using the hashtags #togetherintravel and #aworldofdifference.

The new initiative follows WTTC’s ‘Together in Travel’ campaign in April just as countries introduced widespread Covid global travel restrictions. Hundreds of thousands of people around the world shared their stories, which generated more than 80 million impressions.

WTTC fears 197 million jobs will be lost if barriers to global travel, such as blanket, anti-travel advisories and quarantine measures remain in place.

Almost three quarters (73%) of consumers are taking note of brands that are making a difference during Covid-19, showing that growing attention is being paid to sustainability, according to the report, conducted with global management consulting frim Oliver Wyman.

More than nine out of 10 (92%) of consumers trust personal recommendations with regards to health and hygiene, and 69% of travellers cite cleanliness as a critical component of a travel brand’s crisis response. Travellers are expected to continue to pay heightened attention to health and hygiene even after there is a vaccine for the virus.

The study puts forward recommendations on how travel and tourism can ensure a more seamless recovery.

WTTC recommendations include:

  • Border openings and repatriation: A harmonised approach to remove travel restrictions, with a previous risk assessment in place, as well as standardised contact testing and tracing requirements at departure
  • Define common health and safety standards: The public and private sector should jointly agree on the implementation of health and safety standards across industries within travel and tourism
  • Strengthen worker support schemes: Provide payroll protection and wage subsidies as well as general consumer stimulus cheques and tax payment deferrals
  • Incentivise travel: Introduction of consumer incentives for travel spending, starting with domestic travellers and expanding to regional and international as quickly as possible and appropriate
  • Promote tourism 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 re-growth and recovery of internal travel and tourism
  • Extend digital infrastructure to rural destinations: Investment in digital infrastructure of emerging destinations and remote areas will be critical, as well as enhancing digital skills within local communities
  • Integrate digital identities: Accelerating the adoption of digital identities and solutions will be key to maximise accuracy for health and safety protections, while reducing bias in border control and expediting the movement of passengers
  • Rethink the workplace: The rapid shift to remote work will require the public and private sectors to come together to determine how to optimise the new working arrangements
  • Stimulate sustainability practices: Develop and provide incentives to encourage the implementation of sustainability measures within the private sector.

WTTC president and chief executive Gloria Guevara said: “It is crucial that we continue to learn from previous crises and come together in a co-ordinated way to make a real difference in reducing both the economic and human impact.

“The economic pain and suffering caused to millions of households around the world, who are dependent upon travel and tourism for their livelihoods, is evident.

“We strongly believe that by working as and by taking a co-ordinated approach, we can beat Covid-19 and return to safe travels with world class standards of hygiene to travellers and regenerate the jobs and livelihoods of the 330 million people who worked in the sector before Covid-19.”

Matthieu De Clercq, partner at Oliver Wyman, added: “The travel and tourism sector already accounts already for one in 10 jobs globally, and will continue to be critical to the economic development of many economies.

“Creating inclusive opportunities for women, youth and minorities alike does not only make sense economically, but is also what tourists of the future want, especially post-Covid.

“It is imperative to move beyond the crisis and continue to support systemic change in the industry to enhance its resilience to future shocks and improve its positive socio-economic positive impact.”

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