The Forum “A World for Travel” will happen in May, at Évora University, Portugal, and it is about the transformation of travel and tourism. The Secretary General of the Forum, Christian Delom, talks with Travel Tomorrow and says that “a revolution is coming.”
“We are fully aware that even before the pandemic, the transformation was really demanding, from several points of views, such as climate, water and resources in general, security issues, terrorist attacks, international affairs, technology, and health issues.” And he emphasizes: “all the changes are happening now; it is a revolution!”
Mike Horn, a professional explorer, adventurer, and survival expert, is one of the most interesting speakers in this event, and even with this pandemic happening, he emphasizes: “Traveling makes us dream to go to places. Now, around the world, people should be motivated to discover the beauty around, to travel locally, invest money to feed the market and local economy. Today we are able to travel in different ways, you don’t need to travel in groups, you need to travel with people that you love, your family, your friends.”
The Forum will last for two days and will have full occupation: 315 people, 900 will be virtual, 124 speakers, and more than 44 nationalities.
1. A World for Travel Commitments: The future is now!
The plenary will have two kinds of sessions. One is related to Tourism and Travel and the problems that the sector has to face because we have to consider the impact of tourism on the environment, international relations, economy, social religion, and so on.
On the other hand, this event has sessions to provide solutions. “Tourism itself is a solution to other problems,” says Christian Delom. And he adds: “Tourism can provide peace, employment, economics, culture, and an opportunity to people, to know each other.” Besides the plenary, the event will have workshops that aim to find solutions and allowing committing themselves, during the forum will be discussing the negative and positive impacts that tourism suffers.
The Forum will have the presence of international organizations, ministries of tourism, corporate travel actors and firms, multinational travel distributors, region and cities, citizens, among others. It is urgent that all tourism stakeholders react. In the end, the goal is to “make 5 to 10 commitments, to do something in the future, adopting and changing something, not in 10 years but the current year,” says Christian Delom.
2. “Portugal is an example”
Christian Delom explains why Portugal was chosen to be the host of the event: “We met Ana Mendes, ex-secretary of state of tourism, before Rita Marques. At that moment she was in charge of tourism, and Ana Mendes propose a meeting in Portugal.”
And he adds: “For this Forum, we want a country that is much involved in tourism, and Portugal is an example,” says the Secretary General of the event, he also details that: “Portugal is in advance, is a light to what others have to do, because of the way the tourism is changed in Portugal, and because of the people who are in charge of it.”
Christian Delom explains “the event will take place in Évora because is a Humanity Heritage City, and in the University because is an inspiring place that shows that we have to learn something.” All the social matters will be discussed at the forum, such as unemployment, new business positions, security, and more important subjects to the future of us all.
3. From superficiality to Soul Travelling: The Transformation
The pandemic accelerated the need for transformation, and the weak signals we saw before are now much more evident. All of us should keep attention to the climate, travel bunching of young people, issues concerning over-tourism, localization of the population, water resources in specific countries and Europe, sea, and technology.
“The climate is the main issue. We have to do much more to protect our planet and our resources.” Besides that, “We have to share experiences,” states Christian Delom.
“The people will be going to travel for new and good reasons, different reasons, and they will know what they are doing.” And he continues by saying that “two days in Barcelona, two in Roma, two days in Vienna, and 2 days in London. To do what? You have time to meet people? No. See what these cities are able to provide? No. You are just picturing the cities, what are you doing? Picturing yourself before the monuments?”
The Secretary General of the forum calls it “Selfie Tours” and he criticizes: “how marvelous I am, not how marvelous is the city.” And he gives an example of what he is talking about. I was in an exhibition and the people are seeing the exhibition through their phones! They are picturing them selves in front of the pictures. Nonsense.”
The pandemic happened and is very sad, but it seems an opportunity to change from the inside and to give more importance to what life can give us. Christian Delom gives another example: “We are lockdown, we are not traveling, we are not consuming, we will be marked by this, and it will have a big impact in the future, in our habits and way of thinking.”
Besides that, the general secretary of the forum advises: “Do not spend all your money too earlier. If you do not change, you won’t meet the recovery. Keep money to transformation.”
4. Aviation: Recovery will last until 2024
About aviation, the general secretary says that “I am not very optimistic, too low margins with a high level of patterns, is not sustainable.”
Consequences: “Bigger planes, maybe, is dramatic”, he adds.
And states that: “I am more confident in accommodation, not in aviation. We have cars, trains, we sail, there are new ways of traveling, there are alternatives, but to long row, there’s no alternative, because we just go to America, Asia, and Africa by plane.
What should be different is the way how you use the plane.”
The actual model is not sustainable if they have to face carbon taxes. “The recovery will last until 2024 even if we have vaccines.” He emphasizes. Even in other businesses, like restaurants, people are less and will pay more, it will take time in all sectors to recover, about accommodation, the recovery comes from the transformation, but aviation seems to be in the worst situation.
“If you don’t transform, you don’t recover,” concludes Christian Delom.