Boosted by vaccination progress and multinational policies, the global tourism industry has shown signs of recovery recently, but the recovery of tourism in different regions and countries is still unbalanced. Industry insiders believe that tourism is crucial to global economic recovery, and all parties should strengthen international cooperation to promote tourism to achieve more resilient and sustainable development.
The latest report released by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Expert Committee recently shows that the confidence index of global tourism recovery is rising as the pace of vaccination accelerates and some key tourism markets restart. 60% of respondents believe that the global tourism industry will return to the pre-epidemic level and usher in growth in 2022. In January this year, this proportion was 50%.
The industry shows signs of improvement
In recent years, tourism in some countries has begun to recover. Egyptian Minister of Tourism and Cultural Relics Khalid Anani said recently that Egypt’s tourism industry is gradually improving. In April this year, Egypt received about 500000 tourists from 20 countries and regions, and the number of tourists recovered to about 50% of the same period in 2019. In order to ensure the safety of tourists and practitioners, the Egyptian government vaccinated more than 2 million practitioners in the tourism industry. The tourism department of the United Arab Emirates revealed that in the first quarter of this year, the average stay time of the hotel industry in the United Arab Emirates increased by 27.6% compared with the same period last year, including 112% year-on-year increase in March.
Tourism in some African countries is also accelerating its recovery. The official of the Ministry of Tourism of Uganda said that the number of tourist bookings in the first quarter of this year had doubled compared with the same period last year, and the number of bookings by travel agencies had increased by 11 times between August last year and March this year.
Gloria Guevara, President and CEO of the World Tourism and Travel Council (WTTC), said at the end of April that in recent months, island tourism, short-distance and short-distance tourism in many countries have shown initial signs of recovery. WTTC expects that the contribution of global tourism to global GDP will increase by 48.5% year on year.
At the same time, some international tourism exhibitions combining online and offline have been held in succession. In the middle and late May, the Madrid International Tourism Exhibition was held, with more than 5000 exhibitors from 55 countries and regions attending, with more than 100000 online and offline exhibitors; Almost the same period, the Arab Tourism Fair held in Dubai attracted about 1300 exhibitors from more than 60 countries and regions, including Saudi Arabia, Italy, Germany, Malaysia, South Korea and the United States.
Convenience policies continue to be introduced
According to the survey of world-famous tourism companies such as TripAdvisor and Yikexing, as the pace of global vaccination accelerates, the demand for summer tourism by the people of all countries increases, and more and more tourists begin to plan holiday trips. In order to meet summer tourists, many countries and regions have launched targeted measures to boost the tourism industry.
Recently, the International Air Transport Association cooperated with many countries to launch the “digital health pass” system. Emirates and Qatar Airways began to use the mobile application of “IATA Travel Pass” and launched the “Digital Health Passport”, which improved the convenience and flexibility of travel. Some regions and countries, including the European Union, are also experimenting with similar digital travel passes.
Representatives of many Latin American countries recently jointly signed the Pontacana Declaration, formulated an action plan for the development of tourism in the post-epidemic era, and stressed the need to increase assistance to tourism enterprises and practitioners.
Some countries have introduced relevant tourism convenience policies. For example, Egypt has formulated a comprehensive action plan, including the construction of new hotels, the improvement of tourism infrastructure and tourist attractions, the development of new tourist cities, and the invitation of tourism writers and online bloggers to “punch in” hot spots; Barbados, the Caribbean island country, introduced a new one-year visa that allows the holder to work remotely on the island for one year without paying local income tax during the period
Investment in the tourism industry has also resumed its activity. Recently, the global short-rent apartment reservation platform Aibiying announced to participate in a US $2.5 billion investment project in Mexico’s tourism industry together with global tourism brands. In April this year, Jamaica received US $2 billion in foreign and local tourism investment. The investment projects include the development of large hotels and resorts. In the next two years, more than 7000 hotel rooms will be added and more than 20000 new jobs will be created.
Pololikashvili, Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization, said that digitalization will play an important role in the recovery of tourism. Countries should improve the ability of tourism destination management agencies to use digital technology, and strengthen the connection between tourists, tourism practitioners and the digital environment.
From tourism promotion to talent training to industry exchange, digital tools are increasingly widely used. The Jordanian Tourism Administration uses social media channels to release promotional videos to show historical images, natural scenery and archaeological landscapes; The Jamaican government provides free online training certification courses for tourism practitioners to help them improve their digital skills; At the Madrid International Tourism Exhibition, the organizers enhanced the on-site experience of online participation through online and mobile applications, and provided a variety of tools to facilitate the exchange of global participants and enhance information sharing
Work together to promote sustainable development
Industry experts believe that the global tourism industry as a whole is recovering slowly at present, but problems such as uneven distribution of vaccines, different levels of medical and health care, and different economic debt burdens may hinder the recovery process of tourism in some countries and regions, and the global tourism recovery will be unbalanced.
At the recent Global Tourism Recovery Conference held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, all parties agreed that they should vigorously support the strengthening of coordination and cooperation between the public and private sectors and countries, promote the sustainable development of tourism, and allow more regions and people to enjoy the dividends of tourism.
At the conference, the World Tourism Organization launched the “Most Beautiful Tourism Villages” initiative, which will identify a number of regions around the world that adopt innovative methods to promote the transformation of rural tourism. The World Tourism Organization also announced the opening of a regional office in Riyadh to coordinate tourism policies and measures in the Middle East, collect data, share information, promote tourism investment, establish a tourism institute for the Middle East, and train and certify professionals. Saudi Minister of Tourism Hadib announced at the meeting that he would cooperate with the World Bank to invest US $100 million to establish an international comprehensive tourism fund and commit to the sustainable development of international tourism.
The International Monetary Fund suggests that governments should pay more attention to the pertinence, policy space and sustainability issues when issuing policies, and promote the diversified development of tourism industry by shifting to sustainable tourism models and investing in new technologies. Countries must strengthen international cooperation, establish a sharing information platform, and provide effective epidemic prevention guidance and travel guidance for tourists.
Pollolikashvili said: “The tourism industry represents the hope of economic recovery. To restart the tourism industry safely, it is necessary for countries to play a leading role and strengthen cooperation and innovation.”