Tourism industry CEOs demand measures to recover the sector

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The ITB Berlin Travel and Tourism Declaration summarizes demands and suggestions collected in one document and presented on video

CEOs of the global travel industry are calling for expanded testing and vaccination capacity to rapidly reopen safe travel in these times of pandemic, and call for political support to improve sustainability, equitable opportunity and digital services.

Never before have political decisions had such a severe impact on travel as during the Coronavirus pandemic. With the ITB Berlin Travel & Tourism Declaration, the world’s leading travel fair summarizes for the first time concisely the concrete measures that national and international travel industry leaders demand for an economic recovery. With it, the fair sends a clear message from the industry and gives leaders from many areas of tourism the opportunity to express their opinion. Their reactions, demands and suggestions, collected in an online brochure and presented on video, provide guidance and ideas that policy makers urgently need to overcome the crisis and future challenges.

The coronavirus pandemic has all parts of the global travel industry firmly under its control, from airlines, tour operators, the hotel industry and cruise lines to technology providers, OTAs and tourism associations. Consequently, the ITB Berlin Travel & Tourism Statement reflects a cross-section of the industry and impressively highlights its impact and relevance. In addition to naming concrete measures for the reopening of tourism in these times of pandemic, the leaders also call for improving sustainability, equitable opportunities and digital services.

Therefore, Norbert Fiebig, President of the German Travel Association (DRV), calls for the introduction of an internationally recognized digital vaccination certificate and a uniform testing procedure to enable safe travel again as soon as possible. Mark S. Hoplamazian, Hyatt president and CEO, believes that vaccination, testing and contact tracing are critical. For Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of Uber, safety is also paramount. Calls for the Covid vaccines to be expanded as soon as possible. According to Gloria Guevara Manzo, President and CEO of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), in addition to an internationally recognized digital vaccination certificate, efficient international mobility protocols could help restart international travel. Patrick Andrae, CEO of HomeToGo, calls for vacation apartments to reopen first, as they are among the safest types of accommodation.

Focus on sustainability
Without a doubt, the pandemic marks a break for the entire industry. To meet future challenges, Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, president and CEO of Celebrity Cruises, says better preparation is needed to deal with future crises: “The future must look different.” For Ed Bastian, Delta’s CEO, protecting the environment plays a key role: “One of the most pressing issues we collectively face is sustainability.” Therefore, the aviation measures being discussed now should create incentives to invest in a sustainable future. Stephanie M. Jones, Founder and CEO of National Blacks, part of the Travel & Tourism Collaborative, calls for greater diversity, inclusion and equal opportunities in tourism, to help ensure its growth and sustainability in the industry. Olga Heuser, founder and CEO of Dialogshift, is convinced that policy makers should have a different view of the industry: “In the long term, we should include tourism policy in economic policy in a way that reflects their participation in the performance general economic and its importance for the labor market ”.
What is clear from the statements of these industry leaders is that with comprehensive security measures, testability and increasing numbers of vaccinations, the urgently needed recovery of the tourism industry can be successful. It is now up to policy makers to offer the industry new perspectives as soon as possible.