ITB Berlin sends a clear message from the global travel industry by appealing to policymakers for action

Published on : Thursday, May 6, 2021

Never before have political decisions impacted travel so seriously as during the coronavirus pandemic. With the ITB Berlin Travel and Tourism Declaration (PDF, 2,5 MB), the World’s Leading Travel Trade Show for the first time concisely summarises the concrete measures demanded by national and international travel industry leaders for an economic recovery. With it, the trade show sends a clear message from the industry and gives leaders from many areas of tourism an opportunity to have their say. Compiled in an online brochure and presented in a video, their reactions, demands and suggestions provide urgently needed orientation and ideas for political decision-makers to overcome the crisis and future challenges.

The coronavirus pandemic has all parts of the global travel industry firmly in its grip, from airlines, tour operators, the hotel industry and cruise lines to technology providers, OTAs and tourism associations. Correspondingly, the ITB Berlin Travel and Tourism Declaration reflects a cross section of the industry and impressively highlights its impact and relevance. As well as naming concrete measures for re-opening tourism in these times of the pandemic, leaders also call for improving sustainability, equitable opportunities and digital services.

Thus, Norbert Fiebig, president of the German Travel Association (DRV), demands the introduction of an internationally recognised digital vaccination certificate and a uniform testing procedure to enable safe travel again as soon as possible. Mark S. Hoplamazian, president and CEO of Hyatt, sees vaccinating, testing and contact tracing as key. For Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of Uber, safety is paramount too. He calls for expanding Covid vaccinations 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 recognised digital vaccination certificate, efficient international mobility protocols could help to restart international travel. Patrick Andrae, CEO of HomeToGo, calls for holiday apartments to re-open first, as they are among the safest type of accommodation.

Focus on sustainability

Without doubt, the pandemic marks a break for the entire industry. In order to be able to deal with future challenges Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, president and CEO of Celebrity Cruises, says better preparation is needed to confront future crises: “The future needs to look different.“ For Ed Bastian, CEO of Delta, protecting the environment plays a key role: “One of the most pressing issues we face collectively is sustainability.“ Accordingly, the aviation measures now being discussed should create incentives for investing 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 equitable opportunities in tourism, to help ensure their growth and sustainability in the industry. Olga Heuser, founder and CEO of Dialogshift, is convinced that policymakers need to take a different view of the industry: “In the long run, we should include tourism policy in economic policy in a way that reflects its share in overall economic performance and its importance for the labour market.“

What is clear from the statements of these industry leaders is that with comprehensive safety measures, testing capacity and rising vaccination numbers, the urgently needed recovery of the tourism industry can succeed. Now it is up to policymakers to offer the industry new prospects as soon as possible.

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