The COVID-19 global pandemic has had a devastating impact on the travel and tourism sector, with the World Travel and Tourism Council forecasting that more than 100 million jobs in the industry around the world are at risk; representing a loss of over a third of all tourism-related jobs.
Now, there is a critical need for a global reimagining of the international travel and tourism industry, as one of the world’s largest service sectors seeks to recover from an unprecedented shutdown. Harnessing the collective power of our partners and platforms, we want to support the industry in building back, with more resilience; by working alongside communities and destinations who are reliant on travel and tourism to ensure sustainability is part of their recovery efforts. Together, we have the opportunity to rebuild for a more balanced and equitable future.
In order to understand the greatest challenges and priorities to recovery, Travalyst hosted a virtual Global Summit to bring together stakeholders from across the travel and tourism industry to listen, learn and explore how we can help the sector to evolve in the process.
The Global Summit was hosted in two sessions to accommodate participants from around the world; with each session featuring discussions specific to the region. Watch back:
The global pandemic has brought the world to a standstill, and in the process destinations and communities who rely on travel and tourism for their livelihoods are facing a challenging and uncertain reality. Meanwhile, we must remember that the growth of tourism was on an unsustainable trajectory. As the travel and tourism industry begins to recover, we want to learn from those who are keeping communities and sustainability at the heart of what they are doing to build back better” – Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex
Speakers from each of the Travalyst partners, who shared insights on the effects of the pandemic and details of industry initiatives and resources, reflected on the summit:
Whether it’s developing new health monitoring and tracking capabilities to allow visitors to safely return to remote Himalayan villages or supporting local Bolivian tour guides to digitise their operations in order to be more easily discovered by a global audience of travellers, we continue to be humbled and inspired by the efforts of social entrepreneurs around the world to empower the local communities they serve through the opportunities that tourism can bring,” said Marianne Gybels, Director of Global Sustainability at Booking.com. “As destinations start to recover and begin thinking about the long-term future they want to create for themselves, we look forward to continuing the dialogue we have started here today and to exploring scalable ways we can further champion this community-based approach. The innate human desire to venture beyond the horizon, to experience new things and to truly connect with our fellow citizens of planet Earth has not diminished – what we have reaffirmed is the need to do so even more thoughtfully, intentionally and responsibly.
With the travel sector facing an unparalleled level of uncertainty, cooperation and collaboration are essential,” said Jo McClintock, Global Director of Brand at Skyscanner. “At its core, Travalyst is about tapping into the collective strength and voices of some of the biggest players in travel in order to work towards a shared purpose. Never has that been more important than now, with our industry needing to work together to rebuild and restore confidence in the wake of a global crisis none of us could have anticipated. And to ensure that we do that with sustainability and ethics at the very heart of our efforts.
It was wonderful to hear from tourism businesses, both large and small, at the Travalyst summit,” said Schubert Lou, Chief Operating Officer at Trip.com Group. “Encouragingly, Trip.com Group is seeing some strong signs of recovery in Asia so it was great to share insights and illustrate there’s light at the end of the tunnel. As the tourism industry rebuilds, we are already seeing some areas start to build back more sustainably. For instance, our customers are pre-booking specific dates in advance which means theme parks, for example, can control visitor numbers. This is welcomed by customers, and this ability to prevent over-tourism means we’re starting to build back better.
It was humbling to hear about the incredible work that so many tourism businesses are doing to protect and support their local communities, even in the face of the significant challenges posed by this pandemic,” said James Kay, Director of Communications, Tripadvisor. “Giving those on the ground a voice and a stake in how our industry builds back is absolutely vital, which is why summits like this, where such a range of people and perspectives can come together, are so important.
As international travel takes a moment of pause, the Travalyst Summit proved an important forum to connect with a diverse range of voices across tourism and travel, reflecting on the impact of COVID-19 and the sector’s road to recovery,” said Marty Kerr, Visa’s Country Manager for New Zealand and South Pacific. “Looking ahead, it’s clear these challenges cannot be solved alone, only through collective action can we scale real change. We see our work with Travalyst and its upcoming pilot in New Zealand as an important step on this journey, which is to enable a future of travel that is both considered and sustainable.