Global travel will soon be “better than before” UK holidaymakers are assured.
Widespread vaccinations promise big break for Brit trippers, escalating jabs roll-out proving shot in the arm for beleaguered tourism sector, writes Chris Page.
“Uniting the World for Recovery” were watchwords of WTTC Global Summit.
The government's travel traffic light system green list, from May 17 returning travellers not needing to quarantine, still required to provide negative virus test result before departing for the UK and PCR test within two days of arriving back, includes Portugal, Israel, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Brunei, Iceland, Gibraltar, Falkland Islands, Faroe Islands, South Georgia and the Sandwich Islands, St Helena, Tristan de Cunha and Ascension Island.
Featuring 48 physical speakers from Abercrombie & Kent Group to organisers World Travel & Tourism Council, 35 virtual talks from Airbnb to WorldReach Software, Cancun bio-safety bubble’s aim was to put globetrotting - safely, soundly and securely - back on the map for jet-setters here.
Dial reset on breaks abroad, we can be reassured there’s now a third “T” to add to Tourism and Travel ... that of Thorough.
Industry leaders are committed to continuing to work hard to ensure we can play hard abroad, safe in the knowledge we’re all surrounded by exhaustively rigorous post-lockdown protection.
Following flight cancellations and furloughed staff, overseas services will, once relaxed road map regulations allow, take off again.
The eagerly awaited move will signal green for go for many of our family-friendly favourite destinations under expected cross-border traffic light system.
We’ll once more flock on foreign flights of fancy to sun-splashed summer climes, albeit amid “new normal” measures, potentially featuring digital health passports.
WTTC President & CEO Gloria Guevara (pictured) held centre stage at the Mexican Caribbean hosted event, first face-to-face global gathering of its kind since the pandemic.
“As the vaccination roll-out picks up pace, and with international mobility rules expected to be relaxed over coming weeks, more people will be able to take the path to recovery,” she stressed.
The Council has been at the forefront of global efforts to restore secure international movement, creating Safe Travels Global Protocols and Stamp, recognised by over 260 destinations worldwide.
Twentieth such summit, the conference was unique in focusing on recovery after unprecedented industry damage and disruption.
Chair Christopher Nassetta led the clarion call for the service sector’s welcome return. The world will see the end of the virus in the “not too distant future” as we “all get back on our feet”.
He explained: “The desire for experiences and connections has not changed. The pandemic has only heightened those trends.”
Addressing some 600 delegates, supplemented by virtual audience of thousands, the Hilton President and CEO stressed the need for close cooperation between public and private sectors, government and, crucially, us ... travellers.
“The development and roll-out of the vaccine has been a modern miracle. We know travel has not been forever impaired by COVID-19. The reality is travel will be better than it was before.
“People want to travel, they want to see the world, and we just have to give them means to do that.”Gloria Guevara continued: “What is clear is we are not going back to 2019. We are moving forward. Travel and tourism will come out of this crisis stronger and better.
“But to do so, it is crucial we continue working together to achieve recovery both financially and socially. We need to be united.
“By turning this crisis into an opportunity, we can make sure we become more inclusive and more sustainable.
“As we accelerate our recovery, we need to redouble our efforts to remove barriers to mobility, remove quarantines, focus on testing and accelerate the vaccination roll-out globally while continuing to support safety protocols”.
The WTTC President & CEO added: “This is the beginning of a new chapter, the beginning of the recovery.
We have much work to do and, if we are united, we can change the lives of the millions that depend on us.”Sunrise @ Moon Palace Cancun® All Inclusive Resort Arena marquee speakers included arguably world’s greatest ever female tennis player Martina Navratilova, whose Celebrating Diversity interview amplified her
“love all” advocacy for women, lesbian and gay rights as well as underprivileged children.
Spain, Greece and Portugal remain among much-missed popular hot spots waiting to welcome we Brits back.
Why Spain? “We remain in close conversations with UK ministers, gearing up to reopen borders to vaccinated travellers with a digital health certificate,” said Tourism Secretary of State Fernando Valdés Verelst.
Why Greece? “We care for our guests the same way as our citizens,” assured Minister Harry Theocharis. “Our slogan ‘All You Need Is Greece’ puts our country last and all of you first”.
Why Portugal? “We offer a perfect match for UK travellers,” said Tourism Minister Rita Marques. “Value for money breaks from relaxation to adventure, elastic to suit your audience’s demands”.