The Covid-19 pandemic has paused the inexorable growth in domestic and international tourism facilitated by fossil fuels and increasing prosperity. The pause has created an opportunity for reflection and at least a chance that we might rebuild travel and tourism better. Tourism is what we, the producers and consumers, make it. We can make it different.
As the Secretary-General of the United Nations has pointed out the crisis is “.. an unprecedented opportunity to transform the relationship of tourism with nature, climate and the economy. … to ensure a fair distribution of its benefits and to advance the transition towards a carbon-neutral and resilient tourism economy.”
The pandemic has badly damaged our industry, and we cannot avoid the uncomfortable truth that travel spreads the virus. For many decades travellers and holidaymakers have jetted off across continents with little concern for their health and safety. No longer. For the foreseeable future, trust is the new currency of domestic and international travel.
The pandemic has delivered a global shock; much has and will change. COVID-19 continues as a catalyst accelerating change. The crisis has created an opportunity to rethink tourism, a pause enabling us to reshape the sector and to do tourism better – if we want to and if we can. However, inertia and the desire to return as quickly as possible to business-as-usual are strong forces shaping the future of our sector and countering the impetus for change.
In the Responsible Tourism programme at WTM, London this week we are asking how post Covid-19 we might make tourism better. Our focus in the panels is on solutions to the many challenges our industry faces.
The theme is: How can we make tourism better for communities, travellers and our sector?
11th November: 4 live panels Resilience & Covid 19; Build Back Better; Tourism and Biodiversity, Friend or Foe? and Decarbonising Aviation the hydrogen alternative for pollution free flying.
12th November: 4 live panels Responsible Tourism in India; Racism in Tourism; Certification and Consumer Choice & Can we make tourism better – a manifesto for change.
There are on-demand panels on employing the differently-abled, the Chinese experience of inbound and outbound tourism, and animal welfare.