WTTC has rolled out a new report that offers recommendations on how the travel and tourism sector can ensure a more seamless recovery, including forging public-private partnerships, embracing new technologies and adopting hygiene protocols to restore traveller confidence.
Created in partnership with global management consulting firm Oliver Wyman alongside several WTTC members, the report emphasises the importance of taking a global coordinated approach to recovery: enhancing the current seamless travel experience, embracing the integration of new technologies and enacting global protocols for health and hygiene to rebuild the confidence of travellers.
Notably, it highlights the need for public and private sector to work together to recover the millions of jobs impacted, rebuild traveller confidence, and build the sector’s resilience.
The report highlights four macro-trends that are expected to lead the way through recovery and beyond: demand evolution, health and hygiene, innovation and digitisation, and sustainability.
According to the report, 70 per cent of North American leisure travellers say they would book during Covid-19 if changes were free.
Additionally, more than nine out of 10 (92 per cent) of consumers trust personal recommendations with regards to health and hygiene, and 69 per cent of travellers cite cleanliness as a critical component of a travel brand’s crisis response, and it is expected that travellers will continue to pay heightened attention to health and hygiene even after there is a Covid-19 vaccine.
This signifies a need for destination readiness, as consumers priorities evolve, along with the need to adopt new protocols for health and safety measures to keep up with the demand evolution we are seeing.
With the pandemic triggering a rapid shift towards digitisation, people are increasingly feeling comfortable with a touchless travel experience, with the report revealing that nearly half (45 per cent) of travellers saying they are ready to move from paper passports to a digital identity.
In addition, there is a growing focus on sustainability, with almost three quarters (73 per cent) of consumers stating they are taking note of brands that are making a difference during Covid-19.
Recommendations on how the travel and tourism sector can ensure a more seamless recovery 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 as 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. Importantly, they should also prepare and provide early marketing and promotional incentives to stimulate the earliest possible regrowth and recovery of internal travel and tourism.
• Extend digital infrastructure to rural destinations: Investment in digital infrastructure in 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 maximising 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.