WTTC stresses the importance of strong cooperation to revive the tourism industry
Speaking at the ITB Berlin Ministerial Roundtable, Julia Simpson, President and CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council said: "I believe that crises can only be overcome by cooperating and trusting each other"
“All our hearts go out to Ukraine,” said Julia Simpson, since 2021 President and CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and keynote speaker at the ITB Ministerial Roundtable. She stressed the importance of strong cooperation to revive the travel and tourism industry. What once again became clear was how vital it was to make the travel and tourism industry more crisis-resistant and more resilient. "I believe that crises can only be overcome by cooperating and trusting each other," Simpson said.
As with the pandemic, the war would have an industry-wide impact, with rising oil prices, for example. “The coronavirus pandemic has caused huge losses in the travel and tourism sector, but we had reason for optimism. However, now there are new challenges. 2022 is about to see a strong recovery, as long as governments continue to open borders and lift travel restrictions, which could give the economy, society and jobs a huge boost.” According to the WTTC, to reach pre-pandemic levels this year, governments must continue to focus on vaccine deployment and allow free movement of fully vaccinated travellers. "The EU travel pass would make things easier," Simpson said.
“As travel restrictions are eased and consumer confidence returns, we expect pent-up tourism demand will be met. Coupled with a strong consumer-led economic recovery, which we expected, this would create an upbeat outlook for the sector. It would be necessary to wait and see if the war, with its currently unforeseeable economic consequences for the entire world, would destroy these hopes.
Hotel owners in the crisis region were showing their solidarity. In Kiev, houses for journalists, stranded tourists and NGO workers were kept open; in Poland, hotel owners were helping refugees.
In principle, the industry was well prepared for crises, Simpson said. However, governments and tourism companies needed to work more closely to be prepared for the kind of unpredictable events of recent years. Simpson: "It's becoming apparent now that there are many good and faithful relationships that have been nurtured over the years that we can now build on."