One thing is certain: the need to discover the world and marvel at experiences, cultures, landscapes and people will not cease to exist 🌍🎉.
Likewise, as a “social animal” (to quote this wise Aristotle) we will continue to meet, exchange and interact at events.
So, if the pandemic were to drag on, we would still travel and gather together, but not in the same way…
Many experts are trying to draw the future and none of us can really know what tomorrow is made of. Nevertheless, we can prepare ourselves for it, think about it 🤔.
A return to “business as usual” for Tourism or accelerated structural changes following covid-19?
Today, with the coronavirus crisis, the tourism industry will suffer destructive consequences in the short term. It can also be seen that this crisis is the arrival point of a strategic questioning of tourism practices that could finally change.
Indeed, the tourism product has not radically evolved to respond to its internal problems:
- A weakness in Risk management for an industry that wants to be reassuring and reliable 🔐.
- A Viral globalization: the virus has no borders, just as tourists who travel around the world easily infect the most vulnerable populations 😷.
- An Overtourism, a harmful consequence of the rise in low-cost flights, disintermediation, seasonality, a middle class with an ever-increasing standard of living wishing to “go on holiday” and the overvaluing of destinations glorified on Instagram 🤷.
E-commerce and collaborative tourism are already shaking up traditional structures. The bankruptcy of the Thomas Cook agency before the health crisis is symptomatic of an ongoing reinvention of the sector.
What if the transformation of Tourism was already underway long before the emergence of a health crisis? What if travelling or trading in another way was a response to the cause of the pandemic rather than fighting its consequences with freezes?
In this sense, a “back to normal” would appear to be insane. As in its past, the tourism industry will reinvent itself as it goes through its crises.
It is not so much the crisis that sets up a new world as the crisis that forces us to abandon an old system, and once again the role of the Organiser is paramount.
Tomorrow’s tourism leaders will have strengthened themselves from this crisis and will have grasped the new consumer needs and emerging or growing practices.
Tourist structures will radically adapt.
“In 2020, we enter the 21st century of tourism.”
Sophie Latour, CEO of Advanced Tourism.
It is good to remember: dealing with tourism also means preparing a territory, a destination. However, a tourist destination is a product that is “made”.
What is there to make room for geopolitical transfers of service offers to revive the sector, first of all on French soil?
“Tourism is probably facing the worst ordeal in its modern history, even though it is one of the jewels in the crown of the French economy. Its rescue is therefore a priority.”
Edouard Philippe, Prime Minister of France on May 14, 2020.
The fate of the tourism industry depends on the decisions of institutions and politicians. This is why the latest 18 billion euro aid plan of the French state announced on May 14, 2020 by Edouard Philippe is historic. We can also welcome some initiatives such as the Organizer’s Health Manual written by the US Travel Association together with governmental and medical authorities: “Travel in the New Normal” or even the summit planned for 20 May 2020 by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
Responsibilities of the new generation of Tourism.
As a referent and expert in Travel or Events, the Organizer must be the solution to the multiple climatic, social, cultural, technological and sanitary pressures.
“It’s a crisis? No, it’s a revolution!”
To quote the excellent open letter (and Louis XVI’s punchline) ⚔ .
Christian Delom, General Secretary of A World For Travel.
It is vain to hope for a real “back to normal” for the Organizer who would expect a vaccine as a global panacea. Who says that another virus could not arrive in the next 5 years since the real cause is not cured? It is therefore necessary to be open and adapt to the new challenges of Tourism of Tomorrow.
These initiatives are first and foremost driven by the organisers, the private players who are adapting, following the example of France Tours, a receptive agency that tells us “We really need to bring France to life, to provide tourists with experiences”. It is therefore the promotion of local tourism. Get away from home! We can take the #explorelafrance #exploreparis #laloireavelo initiative or startups that are positioning themselves in the niche, such as Staycation.
Consumers perceive local tourism as a good way to maximize vacation time, avoiding long transportation, and impacting the environment and their wallet.
The reaction has not been long in coming and private players are already starting to accompany the afterlife. After the doubts, the indispensable Survival Kit it is time to adapt sustainably. This is the opportunity given to event and travel specialists (DMCs, travel agents, event agencies, event venues)💰.
“The real voyage of discovery is not about looking for new landscapes but about having new eyes”.
This crisis echoes the question of the meaning of globalized tourism, even though this industry has made the quest for meaning its DNA. “Tourism is life” even says Thierry Breton.
The general idea would be to move towards responsible, sustainable and socially innovative tourism, which is structured on the identity of the territories (which cannot be relocated) and which energises them while respecting the quality of life of the inhabitants and the experiential and memorable value of travel. The conservation of the natural and cultural heritage is one of the pillars of responsible tourism and it significantly improves the perception of the inhabitants of tourism 😀.
New consumer needs = new opportunities.
In Chinese, the word Wei Ji crisis is composed of two characters which mean “danger” and “opportunity”. It is an ironic reminder of the essence of this crisis, which is both very painful and conducive to learning.
Anne Gombault, Director of the Creative Industries Culture Research Centre, Kedge Business School.
By opening up to new forms of tourism, the trend of experiences is gaining ground. This is for example what Airbnb has understood with its positioning and new digital products. Travelling then takes another turn.
To avoid overtourism, the key is planning, preferably in advance. As Tony Wheeler, the founder of Lonely Planet, explains, the high places of tourism, the musts, must take measures to regulate flows, as many destinations already do by limiting their access: Venice, Barcelona, Dubrovnik, Iceland, Cinque Terre, etc. Moreover, Iceland will impose a health test on every person entering its territory.
E-tourism is exploding in China with an increase in digital heritage in Chinese museums, in shows that are broadcast online such as the Metropolitan Opera or even events such as fashion weeks. With the aim of not displacing the crowds, producers are innovating with quality digital content 💻.
Finally, the development of creative and inclusive tourism would avoid a high concentration of activities and an anti-tourist reaction by involving locals. With for instance a co-creation of locals and tourists that reflect the identity of territories like: a trip to Nantes, making its Norman cheese, harvesting its oysters from Arcachon, making its perfume in Grasse etc…
The organizer of tomorrow: a human being essential to our societal challenges.
The world is vast and in reality most places are not concerned by overtourism. It is therefore necessary to invest and develop new places. And sometimes, they are not far away.
More than ever, the organizer whether he is a destination receptive, a communication expert, a travel agent, an event project manager, a MICE hotel is the central piece of the tourism game 🔦.
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