by Andrew J Wood
- US$8.9 trillion of global GDP
- 10.3% of global GDP
- 330 million jobs, 1 in 10 jobs around the world
- US$1.7 trillion visitor exports (6.8% of total exports, 28.3% of global services exports)
- US$948 billion capital investment (4.3% of total investment)
“Since the Covid-19 pandemic banished us all to our homes to live under lockdown, we are inundated with promotions for webinars that promise to navigate the travel industry back from the brink to a new norm. The deluge of webinars promises to show us the way forward, but so often when we tune in to the talkfests, they fluff on the details. They avoid the obvious and concentrate on the obscure, I suspect we attend webinars hoping the experts can offer some old fashioned common sense to help us survive the financial storm.”
The tourism industry has taken a huge hit from the coronavirus, the UNWTO puts the loss at US$ 450 billion. The virus has infected at least 3.48 million people worldwide and killed more than 244,000. Top tourist destinations such as the United States, Spain, Italy and France are among countries with the highest number of infections.
It will be necessary to move quickly with action as tourism is among the hardest hit industries due to COVID-19 and its consequences.
“Has wide-ranging benefits that have transcended the sector, reflecting its broad-based economic value chain and deep social footprint.”
“The number one question on everyone’s minds is, how long before we recover? This isn’t a simple question to answer.”
Dr. Mario Hardy added, “While we can expect to see severely reduced visitor arrivals into Asia-Pacific this year, and for some time through 2021 as well, there is hope going forward. The travel and tourism sector as we have seen during past calamities, is nothing if not resilient, and we expect to see growth beginning in 2021 and continuing on thereafter.
“As we rebuild the travel and tourism sector into the future, it is worth considering whether we want it to be ‘business as usual’ or whether we can initiate new policies, procedures and practices that will enable us to see beyond the vision of growth at all costs. Perhaps now, we can give real meaning to the oft-quoted mantra of people before profit.”
The Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) is positioning itself to respond with an organised recovery plan to welcome visitors as the world begins to slowly recover. To achieve this, HKTB organized a web conference on the 24th April 2020 to provide the latest updates on tourism development and introduce the HKTB’s strategic framework of a tourism recovery plan. HKTB Chairman Dr. Y. K. Pang said that the Covid-19 pandemic has posed unprecedented challenges to Hong Kong tourism and brought global tourism to a grinding halt. He said that while it was difficult to predict when the industry would recover a V-shaped rebound was impossible in the face of restrictions overseas and flight suspensions.
“Regionally, young and middle-aged Japanese, Koreans and Taiwanese would be the most eager to travel, but would favour short-haul trips because of financial and holiday leave constraints.”
Andrew was born in Yorkshire England, he is a professional hotelier, a Skalleague for 28 years and a widely followed travel writer. Andrew has over 40 years of hospitality and travel experience. He is a hotel graduate of Napier University, Edinburgh. Andrew is a past Director of Skal International (SI), National President SI Thailand and is currently President of SI Bangkok and a VP of both SI Thailand and SI Asia. He is a regular guest lecturer at various Universities in Thailand including Assumption University’s Hospitality School and the Japan Hotel School in Tokyo.