Published on : Thursday, June 11, 2020
International Tourism and Investment Conference (ITIC) joined hands with WTM London and recently organised a virtual conference titled, “The Future of Travel and Tourism – Financial Strategies for Recovery.” The virtual summit outlined how the important economic sector will emerge from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the requirement of the travel and tourism to ensure growth after the period of crisis.
The summit was conducted under the chairmanship of Dr. Taleb Rifai, Former Secretary General, UNWTO, and featured prominent and inspirational speakers from the industry. Travel, tourism and hospitality are some of the worst-hit sectors that falls under the unprecedented business collapse caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, businesses depending on travel and tourism are desperately waiting to reopen and resume operations under the ‘new normal’ at present.
The virtual summit brought together experts from the health sector, tourism ministers, policy-makers and leaders from the travel and tourism sector. It connected them with investors, investment bankers and private equity firms that led them to discuss financial solutions and preparedness to reopen the tourism industry for a better future.
The summit mainly focussed on three key themes- health, investment and future. It talked about the health and safety measures required to face the COVID-19 crisis and ways to restore confidence within travellers in order to restart business. It also highlighted the financial mechanisms that would allow businesses to survive and rebuild as well as took a glance at the future and the preparedness required to face any global catastrophe in days to come.
Industry experts also discussed the current status of tourism and unraveled how the responses of governments and the tourism industry in different countries have been effective for the benefit of the sector as a whole. They also analysed the intricacies of the financial support plans that have already been introduced. Leading health experts also participated in the panel discussions and talked about the latest vaccine research that holds the probability of accelerating the recovery of the travel and tourism industry by restoring business confidence.
The summit had various thought-provoking themes on the agenda that would gear towards the future paradigm shift. It also had enriched panel discussions that debated the role of destinations in securing sustainable investment. Experts also discussed various ways in which businesses should reposition for recovery when the pandemic comes under control.
Dr. Taleb Rifai said in a statement that at present people are living in a world full of fear and panic caused out of uncertainty. He mentioned that at the moment no individual can fathom what the next day has in store for them. He shared that governments across the world aggressively intervened to varying degrees with the common aim of fighting the pandemic.
He shared that though initially governments focussed on containment and healthcare for the infected, later it also shifted to the life after containment, which is also considered to be an important part of living. He said after emerging from the initial phase, people should aim for a life filled with dignity, prosperity and hope.
He mentioned that the virtual summit arrived at a perfect time when there is a great need to support economic recovery as a matter of urgency and there is the necessity to implement measures that restore confidence and trust in the hearts and minds of people. He shared that the summit contributed towards the plans for tomorrow and introduced ways and means of bringing back a sense of normality to the world.
Simon Press, Senior Exhibition Director, WTM London said in a press brief that it was honour for WTM London to partner with ITIC and that it is committed to support the travel industry as it adapts to the unique challenges of COVID and prepares for recovery. He mentioned that the team would continue to provide platforms for the global travel and tourism industry to share their insights.
He shared that last year WTM London’s show contributed to a total of £3.75 billion worth of travel industry business deals being signed and the recovery of the sector for the year will also begin at the same event. He added that WTM London connects travel industry professionals from 182 countries every year and offers unrivalled commercial opportunities and business insights. He mentioned that ITIC Virtual Summit is also taking forward the conversation on the recovery and reopening of the tourism industry.