Governments urged to establish ‘green lanes’

Governments urged to establish ‘green lanes’ to aid tourism recovery and promote bilateral travel agreements

  • Singapore developing a set of common safety standards with regional governments to allow cross-border travel
  • Saudi Arabia’s US$61 billion stimulus package to support tourism business recovery

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 3 June 2020: Tourism strategies to support industry recovery and the use of technology and analytics to create resilience, took centre stage on the second afternoon of Arabian Travel Market’s virtual event, ATM Virtual.

The Bouncing back: tourism strategies for the futuresession, which took place on Tuesday 2nd June, discussed the long-term tourism development strategies put in place by the region’s governments to provide a catalyst to recovery when travel patterns return to relative normality.

The panel, which was moderated by industry consultant Gemma Greenwood, included Fahd Hamidaddin, Chief of Investment, Strategy and Tourism Marketing, Ministry of Tourism Saudi Arabia and Keith Tan, CEO, Singapore Tourism Board.

“We are trying to do things at a bilateral level with countries that we feel we can move forward with. We have announced initiatives such as ‘green lanes’ and introduced the idea of ‘travel bubbles’. For example, in our negotiations with China, we have agreed common standards to permit travel and we hope to replicate this with other countries, not dissimilar to the idea of free trade agreements,” said Tan

“We all agree that we don’t want to develop a patchwork of different standards and requirements. But this is not going to be easy,” he added.

Discussing the measure implemented by Saudi Arabia, Hamidaddin highlighted the importance of the industry and the need for government support to help the tourism industry recover.

“We look at the tourism sector from a strategic perspective in Saudi Arabia, but we also realise that this sector contributed 20% of all jobs in the last five years, across the world, underscoring the importance that must be placed on the sector by governments,” said Hamidaddin.

“Our job is to help the private sector survive and weather as much as we can during this pandemic. As such, Saudi Arabia launched a US$61 billion stimulus package that went into multiple tracks, including waiving licensing and tourism fees as well as deferring VAT and government fees for all SMEs, helping those most in need,” he added.

During the session, Tan outlined the importance of being able to react quickly and develop partnerships between the public-private sectors to address the pandemic.

“The government can’t do everything. It is therefore important to have tight public-private partnerships. As early as February, we had announced the formation of the Tourism Recovery Action taskforce, comprising private sector individuals and key players from within the government.

“This was designed to layout plans, not only for recovery, but crisis communications, how we engage with the sector, and how we translate the advisories and directives from the health ministry to the tourism sector. This has proven to be very effective,” said Tan.

Also addressing strategies for recovery was the ‘Catapulting Resilience through Technology and Analyticssession, moderated by Lee Hayhurst, Executive Editor of Travel Weekly.

He was joined by a panel of international industry experts including Tony Smyth, Senior Vice President, iFree Group; Carlos Cendra, Chief Marketing Officer, Mabrian Technologies; Akemi Tsunagawa, Founder & CEO, Bespoke; Robin Ingle, CEO, Ingle International; and Gavin Harris, Commercial Director, Skyscanner.

Each discussed the development of applications and services addressing the varied needs due to the impact of COVID-19, such as managing frontline medical volunteers, analysing where to find demand, tracking, tracing, and training.

According to the global search engine, Skyscanner, there are some early signs of green shoots in terms of search traffic. According to the company’s most recent weekly pulse survey, which monitors global sites, an overall improvement has been witnessed week-on-week.

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Harris outlined the confidence of travellers to fly, with 70% of Skyscanner’s global passengers feeling safe enough to travel on an international flight in the next six months. However, when discussing flying within a three-month time period, confidence levels fell to 24%. From a domestic perspective, the confidence to travel on flights within a six-month period increased to 89% and, globally, Middle East and European passengers were the most confident overall when compared to other regions around the world.

Other sessions taking place today, the third and final day of the debut ATM Virtual (Wednesday 3rd June), include an interview with Wizz Air CEO, Joszef Varadi; the International Travel Investment Conference summit and the responsible tourism session, ‘The Implications of COVID-19 for Responsible Hospitality’, followed by the Influencers’ session titled ‘Make Your Connection: Influencers as a Key Part of the Marketing Mix – COVID-19 The Road to Recovery’. Videos of all sessions will be available on demand

Concluding the event this afternoon is a webinar titled ‘What are you doing to energise your operational performance?’, which will discuss the power of data analytics in helping to maximise performance.

ATM Virtual concludes today, Wednesday 3rd June 2020, however a series of independently moderated, roundtables are available on-demand and include ‘The Future of Corporate Travel’ led by Breaking Travel News; The Changing Face of Luxury Family Travel hosted by Destinations of the World News; ‘The New Normal: What the Future Looks Like for the Hotel and Tourism Industry’ and ‘Middle East: The New Asian Source Market’ both by Trav Talk Middle East, as well as TTN Middle East’s ‘Challenges Faced Today by the Travel Providers’ and ‘Latest travel updates, projections and upcoming trends and focus on near-, mid- and long-term travel prospects’.

The Ministry of Tourism Saudi Arabia and the Italian Tourist Board are both Gold sponsors of ATM Virtual.

About Arabian Travel Market (ATM)

Arabian Travel Market (ATM), now on its 27th year, continues to be the focal point for the Middle East’s resilient and ever-changing travel and tourism landscape and prides itself on being the hub of all travel and tourism ideas – providing a platform to discuss insights on the ever-changing industry, share innovations and unlock endless business opportunities. While the live show has been postponed to 16-19 May 2021, ATM will keep the industry connected by running ATM Virtual from 1-3 June 2020 featuring webinars, live conference sessions, speed networking events, one-on-one meetings, plus so much more – keeping the conversations going and delivering new connections and business opportunities online

About Reed Exhibitions

Reed Exhibitions is a leading global events business. It combines face-to-face with data and digital tools to help customers learn about markets, source products and complete transactions at over 500 events in almost 30 countries across 43 industry sectors, attracting more than 7 million participants.

Our events, organized by 35 global offices, leverage industry expertise, large data sets and technology to enable our customers to generate billions of dollars of revenues for the economic development of local markets and national economies around the world. Reed Exhibitions is part of RELX, a global provider of information and analytics for professional and business customers across industries

About Reed Travel Exhibitions

Reed Travel Exhibitions is the world’s leading travel and tourism event’s organiser with a growing portfolio of more than 20 international travel and tourism trade events in Europe, the Americas, Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

Our events are market leaders in their sectors, whether it is global and regional leisure travel trade events, or specialist events for meetings, incentives, conference, events (MICE) industry, business travel, LGBTQ+ travel, luxury travel, travel technology as well as golf and spa travel. We have over 35 years’ experience in organising world-leading travel exhibitions.

About World Travel Market

World Travel Market (WTM) Portfolio comprises nine leading travel events across four continents, generating more than $7.5 billion of industry deals. The events are:

WTM London, the leading global event for the travel industry, is the must-attend three-day exhibition for the worldwide travel and tourism industry. Around 50,000 senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international media visit ExCeL London every November, generating over £3.71 billion in travel industry contracts. london.wtm.com

Next event: Monday 2nd to Wednesday 4th November 2020 – London #IdeasArriveHere

WTM Latin America attracts about 9,000 senior executives and generates about US$374 million of new business deals. Taking place in São Paulo, Brazil, this show attracts a global audience to meet and shape the direction of the travel industry. More than 8,000 unique visitors, including buyers and travel agents, attend the event to network, negotiate and discover the latest industry news.

Next event: Tuesday 20 October to Thursday 22 October 2020 – São Paulo

WTM Africa launched in 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa. Around 5,000 travel industry professionals attend Africa’s leading inbound and outbound travel and tourism market. WTM Africa delivers a proven mix of hosted buyers, media, pre-scheduled appointments, on-site networking, evening functions and invited travel trade visitors.

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