HONG KONG – (COMMERCIAL THREAD) – The Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) hosted an online forum on June 24 titled “Beyond COVID-19: The New Normal of Global Tourism” – the first such event focused on outlook post-pandemic tourism in Hong Kong, the mainland, Asia and the world.
More than 4,000 tourism industry representatives, journalists and academics 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 trends to expect when people start to travel again in the post-pandemic period.
In his opening remarks, HKTB President 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 trip is safe from start to finish,” he said. “Our cooperation must cross geographic and trade borders. We need to pool our knowledge and expertise and tap into our collective ingenuity to meet the challenges that lie ahead. ”
Dr Pang highlighted initiatives the Hong Kong tourism industry has taken to stay ahead of the curve in tackling the spread of the pandemic, and announced that the HKTB will partner with the Hong SAR government Kong and business partners to create “Open House Hong Kong” – a leading travel platform in the region to tell the world that Hong Kong is a safe destination for COVID, ready to welcome visitors again with attractive offers and exciting experiences. He invited business partners from around the world to support the platform by offering tempting deals to travel to Hong Kong as a top destination for visitors from all continents.
Seven internationally renowned speakers representing different industries discussed the latest consumer sentiments and behaviors and provided their perspective 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. Yet there are implications for the economy and for business at large. For example, between $ 0.9 trillion and $ 1.2 trillion was lost in tourism export earnings around the world. 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 falling to around 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 and family travelers, as most consumers expect to travel less – especially abroad – after COVID-19. China, the UK and Germany are among those with the greatest potential for domestic travel. ”
Hermione Joye, Area Manager, Travel & Vertical Search APAC, Google
“COVID-19 has caused a generational change in the way the world works, the travel industry has almost come to a standstill as global interest in travel has dropped 3 times compared to pre-COVID (on the research database). As a result, there is no longer a predictable normalcy when it comes to consumer behavior, and this is especially true when it comes to how they view travel. I look forward to sharing trends, consumer insights, and principles that could help marketers respond to 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 these difficult times. That’s why since the start of the pandemic, our teams have worked tirelessly to process over RMB 30 billion in cancellations, and we have provided our partners with over RMB 1 billion in financial support. Now that things are under control, we are seeing a rebound in demand, we have launched a $ 500 million partner fund, and we are providing flexible, secure and discounted travel options for customers – for helping our customers and the “travel” industry.
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 more than 197 million jobs are at risk, resulting in a loss of over $ 5.5 trillion in travel GDP and tourism around the world. It is vital to the survival of the travel and tourism sector that we work together and chart the course for recovery, through coordinated action, and that we renew the confidence people need to resume travel. 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 will encourage the return of “Safe Travels” around the world. This in turn will allow the travel and tourism sector to reopen its doors and evolve in a coordinated approach. ”
Alexandre de Juniac, Director General 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 start to reopen their economies, I have no doubt people will still want to travel. But adapting to the realities of COVID-19 and regaining people’s trust is a challenge that must be tackled head on with cooperation. Aviation is one example. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has developed global guidelines to mitigate the risk of transmission of COVID-19 during air travel. Now governments must 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 towards 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 digitization, artificial intelligence and robotics, and the health crisis has accelerated this trend. In the short term, we need to regain the trust and confidence of our guests and reassure them that they are safe when they stay with us. In the long run, however, the fundamentals of hospitality will not change and customers will always appreciate personalized service.
Kai Hattendorf, Managing Director and CEO, The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI)
“Exhibitions and trade events are marketplaces and meeting places for all industries across the world. They are the key 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 already emerging around the “wedding” of the event on site with online services before, during and after the event. Business events will become more digital. But the main driving force of success is and remains direct exchange, face-to-face. Clicks don’t discuss deals and eyeballs don’t sign orders.
A recording of “Beyond COVID-19: The New Normal in Global Tourism” is available to those registered for review starting at 8:00 a.m. Hong Kong time on June 25, 2020. Each registered account can view the recording. on one device at a time.
Video link: https://onlinexperiences.com/scripts/Server.nxp?LASCmd=AI:4;F:QS!10100&ShowUUID=ABC3688D-5064-4F68-82CA-1222C186581A
Members of the media can download the press release and associated photos from the links below:
Press Release: https://www.discoverhongkong.com/eng/hktb/newsroom/press-releases.html