As a result of the crisis the tourism industry now has a better understanding of the risks, but has also recognised the potential for new opportunities. Travellers are displaying greater environmental and socially responsible awareness, for example. That was the takeaway from all the discussions on the Friday for B2B visitors at the virtual We Love Travel! event. Providing organisers, service providers and customers draw the right conclusions, the potential exists for a future with profits, highly satisfied customers and a long-term positive effect on source countries and destinations.
1. The main problem is uncertainty
From 1950 to 2019 overnights increased sixty-fold globally, said Peter Kautz from Statista. “But then the coronavirus arrived.” With tourism activities having suffered a 55 per cent loss in turnover worldwide (as things stood), the pandemic had eclipsed all other crises to date, he said. Roland Gassner from Travel Data & Analytics added that although the collapse was similar to 9/11 or the financial crisis, its duration and prospects for recovery were not. This would take longer and no one could say how long.
2. The situation is not hopeless
“Stop whining“, said many of those at the discussions. Pointing to the most recent surveys, Michael Buller from Verband Internet Reisevertrieb (VIR) said “people want to travel“, all the more so if they had been unable to for a long time. What was more they had “the money, time and desire to travel again”, said Ulf Sonntag, a market researcher at the Kieler Institut für Tourismusforschung. Even if they could not necessarily choose the destinations they wanted they were “booking trips like mad“, said Roland Gassner, director of Business Development, Travel Data + Analytics.