Hong Kong Tourism Board Holds Massive Online Forum

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The Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) on Wednesday hosted an online forum titled “Beyond COVID-19: The New Normal in Global Tourism” – the first event of its kind focusing on the post-pandemic tourism outlook for Hong Kong, the mainland, Asia and the world.

More than 4,000 travel industry representatives, journalists and academics have registered for the event as global industry leaders share information on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on travel, how the industry should react and the trends to expect when people start to travel again in the post-pandemic period.

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In his opening remarks, HKTB Chairman Dr. YK Pang stressed the importance of restoring consumer confidence. “As an industry, our central mission must be to give every traveler the confidence and assurance that their journey is safe from start to finish,” he said. “Our cooperation must cross geographical and commercial borders. We must pool our knowledge and expertise and leverage our collective ingenuity to meet the challenges ahead.

Dr. Pang highlighted the initiatives the Hong Kong tourism industry has taken to stay ahead of the curve in containing the spread of the pandemic, and announced that the HKTB will work with partners to create “Open House Hong Kong” – a unique and region-leading travel platform that will tell the world when Hong Kong is a COVID-safe destination ready to welcome visitors back and provide travelers with compelling offers and exciting experiences. He invited business partners from all over the world to support the platform by offering tempting offers to travel to Hong Kong to visitors from all continents.

Seven internationally acclaimed speakers representing different sectors of the travel industry discussed the latest consumer sentiments and behaviors and offered their thoughts on the challenges facing the industry. Here is a selection of their expert observations:

Steve Saxon, Partner, McKinsey & Company

“COVID-19 is a major humanitarian challenge. Still, there are implications for the wider economy and businesses. For example, between US$0.9 and US$1.2 trillion was lost in tourism export earnings worldwide. While global tourism could return to previous levels in 2022, China, Indonesia and the United States stand out for their optimism, with travel to China currently returning to about half of previous levels. However, traveler confidence is still low and the recovery is slower than expected. On the other hand, there is a major opportunity to capitalize on domestic travel and younger, family travelers, as most consumers expect to travel less – especially internationally – post-COVID-19. China, the United Kingdom and Germany are among those with the greatest potential for domestic travel. »

Hermione Joye, Industry Lead, Travel and APAC Vertical Research, Google

“COVID-19 has led to a generational shift in the way the world works, the travel industry has come to a near standstill with global interest in travel dropping 3x from the pre-COVID era (on research database). I look forward to sharing trends, consumer insights, and principles that could help marketers respond in the “new normal.”

Jane Sun, CEO, Trip.com Group

“At Trip.com Group, we believe it is our duty to guide travelers and the industry through this difficult time. That is why, from the start of the pandemic, our teams have worked tirelessly to address more than 30 billion RMB in cancellations, and we have provided our partners with more than 1 billion RMB in financial support. Now that the situation is under control, we are seeing a rebound in demand, we have launched a $500 million for partners and we provide flexible, safe and discounted travel options for customers – to help our customers and the industry ‘travel safe’.

Gloria Guevara, President and CEO, World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC)

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating global socio-economic impact, our recent research shows that over 197 million jobs are at risk, which would result in a loss of over $5.5 trillion to the GDP of the travel and tourism worldwide. It is vital for the survival of the travel and tourism sector that we work together and chart a course for recovery, through coordinated action, and that we restore the trust that people need to start traveling again.Our recently launched ‘Safe Travels’ stamp will allow travelers to recognize companies and destinations around the world that have implemented WTTC’s global protocols and encourage the return of ‘Safe Travels’ around the world. This will, in turn, allow the travel and tourism sector to reopen for business and take a coordinated approach.”

Alexandre de Juniac, Managing Director and CEO, International Air Transport Association (IATA)

“The revival of the travel and tourism sector is vital. Millions of livelihoods depend on it. As parts of the world begin to reopen their economies, I have no doubt that people will still want to travel. But adapting to the realities of COVID-19 and restoring people’s trust is a challenge that must be met head-on with cooperation. Aviation is a good example. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has developed global guidelines to mitigate the risk of transmission of COVID-19 during air travel. Governments must now align to lead implementation with the full support of industry. We will only succeed by working together.

Peter C. Borer, COO, Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels Ltd

“The hospitality industry will move forward into a ‘new normal’, with unprecedented health and safety measures in place. As industry leaders, we must collaborate, leave behind the paradigms of the past, and look to a new future. The hotel industry was already moving towards digitalization, artificial intelligence and robotics, and the health crisis has accelerated this trend. In the short term, we must regain the trust of our guests and reassure them that they are safe when they stay with us, however, in the long run, the fundamentals of hospitality will not change and guests will always appreciate personalized service.

Kai Hattendorf, Managing Director and CEO, The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI)

“Trade shows and trade events are the marketplaces and meeting places for all industries around the world. They are essential to any economic recovery, and we have the know-how and the standards to make them safe. COVID-19 will bring about new procedures, standards and processes. The pandemic is accelerating the trends that were already emerging around the “marriage” of the on-site event with online services before, during and after the event. Professional events will become more digital. But the main element that makes success is and remains the direct exchange, the face-to-face. Clicks don’t discuss business and eyeballs don’t sign orders. »

A recording of “Beyond COVID-19: Global Tourism’s New Normal” is available for viewing. Each registered account can view the record on one device at a time.

Video link: https://onlineexperiences.com/scripts/Server.nxp?LASCmd=AI:4;F:QS!10100&ShowUUID=ABC3688D-5064-4F68-82CA-1222C186581A


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