To adapt to the new normal, tourism must build back better and become more sustainable.
Wise words, certainly, from Jeremy Sampson, CEO of the Travel Foundation, as the travel and tourism industry attempts to navigate the changes brought on by COVID-19. However: “The words I’m using - I’m sorry to say - are empty platitudes devoid of any real meaning.”
Speaking during Phocuswright Europe last month, Sampson says that while statements such as those can provide comfort during trying times, “they’re perhaps not the best words to guide us into action.”
What “build back better” means, for example, depends on the perspective. “The problem is that ‘better’ is very subjective and requires a more nuanced understanding of what success looks like,” Sampson says.
“Most destinations don’t have a complete enough picture of the overall cost and benefits of tourism to make evidence-based decisions.”
During the session, titled Keynote: Sustainability - What Now?, Sampson also dives into the necessity of challenging ideas around travel and tourism’s “new normal” (“vulnerabilities which existed before the pandemic haven’t gone anywhere, I’m afraid”), as well as around sustainability (“I think it should be the subject of further scrutiny”).
He also discusses the recently formed Future of Tourism Coalition, designed by six organizations including the Travel Foundation, plus the importance of collaboration between public and private sectors.
Following Sampson’s presentation, a panel comprising Monika Wiederhold, executive vice president Airlines Central and Eastern Europe at Amadeus IT Group S.A., and Freek Jansen, general manager Benelux at American Express Global Business Travel, discusses the role of governments in supporting sustainability initiatives as well as where the topic sits on the corporate travel agenda.
Watch the full session below.
Keynote: Sustainability - What Now?