Hong Kong Tourism Board Hosts Online Forum On Post-Pandemic Travel
Anna Kroupina, Open Jaw
Dr. YK Pang, Chairman of the Hong Kong Tourism Board, highlighted the importance of restoring consumer confidence in his opening remarks during the online forum “Beyond COVID-19: Global Tourism’s New Normal.”
Over 4,000 tourism industry representatives, journalists, and academics registered for the Hong Kong Tourism Board's (HKTB) online forum that explored post-pandemic tourism prospects.
The forum, called "Beyond COVID-19: Global Tourism's New Normal”, featured insights from seven global industry leaders on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on travel, how the industry should respond and trends to expect as people begin traveling again in the post-pandemic period.
Notable speakers included Jane Sun, CEO,Trip.comGroup; Hermione Joye, Sector Lead, Google; Gloria Guevara, President & CEO, World Travel & Tourism Council; and Alexandre de Juniac, Director General and CEO, International Air Transport Association.
In his opening remarks, HKTB Chairman Dr. YK Pang emphasised the importance of restoring consumer confidence.
“As an industry, our central mission must be to give every traveller the confidence and reassurance that their trip is safe from start to finish,” he said.
“Our cooperation must cross geographical and business boundaries. We must pool our knowledge and expertise and draw on our collective ingenuity to navigate the challenges that lie ahead of us.”
Dr. Pang highlightedinitiativesthat Hong Kong’s tourism industry has taken to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, such as introducing sterilization cleaning robots at HKG, hotels incorporating germicidal cleaner in the air conditioning systems and limiting visitor numbers for attractions.
He also announced that the HKTB will work with partners to create “Open House Hong Kong” – a travel platform that will provide offerings once Hong Kong is ready to welcome back visitors.
Here are observations from some of the panelists:
Steve Saxon, Partner, McKinsey & Company “…US$900 billion to US$1.2 trillion has been lost in export revenues from tourism worldwide. Traveller confidence is still low, and recovery is slower than expected. On the other hand, there is a major opportunity to capitalize on domestic travel and younger and family travellers, as most consumers are expecting to travel less – especially internationally – after COVID-19.”
Gloria Guevara, President & CEO, World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) “Our recent research shows that more than 197 million jobs are at risk, which would cause a loss of more than US$5.5 trillion to Travel & Tourism GDP worldwide. It is vital for the survival of the travel & tourism sector that we work together and map out the road to recovery, through coordinated actions, and rebuild the confidence that people need to begin travelling once again."
Alexandre de Juniac, Director General and CEO, IATA “As some 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 rebuilding people’s confidence is a challenge that must be met head-on with cooperation. We will only be successful by working together.”
Peter C. Borer, COO, the Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels Ltd “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 must regain the confidence and the trust of our guests and reassure them that they are safe when they stay with us. However, in the long term, the fundamentals of hospitality will not change, and guests will always appreciate personalized service.”
Anna is OJ's newest member and she joins the team as a writer/reporter. She co-writes the daily news and covers events. Although she's new to the industry, pursuing a career path in travel/tourism has been a goal since her first family road trip to the Florida Keys sparked a desire to discover the world and this exhilarating, fast-paced industry.