Reactivation of the tourism sector: Resilience with a dose of innovation
Reactivation of the tourism sector:
Resilience with a dose of innovation
By: Cielo Velandia, General Manager FUNDES Venezuela
One of the sectors most affected by the pandemic was undoubtedly the tourism sector. As it has experienced sustained growth at the global level over the last 10 years and is responsible for the creation of one in four jobs on the planet (World Travel and Tourism Council), there is an urgent need to rethink its recovery and prevent a sharp decline in 2020. In the case of tourism MSMEs, it is imperative to promote their promotion and professionalization, hand in hand with access to markets, which in turn will drive the sustainable rearticulation of value chains in the short and medium-term.
With the aim of opening the conversation at the level of private companies, international organizations, guilds, and community-based projects that contribute to the accelerated reactivation of tourism activities, our team from FUNDES Venezuela recently participated as organizers of a virtual event to share initiatives and best practices in the adaptation of these protocols.
This virtual meeting took place within the framework of the institutional alliance between FUNDES Venezuela and Conseturismo (Supreme Council of Tourism in Venezuela), with the participation of key ecosystem stakeholders such as the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the Uruguayan Chamber of Tourism (CAMTUR), the Colombian Hotel Association (COTELCO), the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the Hilton International chain.
As a summary of the session, we present 6 key concepts that summarize the experience of a sector characterized by its ability to face uncertainties with a dose of innovation:
1. CONCERTATION: Necessary for governance in the tourism sector. In the case of a country like Uruguay, where this sector represents 8% of GDP, the initial calls for voluntary isolation, social distancing, and responsible management of individual freedoms represented fundamental agreements. Future measures to return to the new normal in a structured way include the awarding of a seal to CAMTUR to identify responsible suppliers.
2. ECOSISTEMA: The ecotourism development project in Rurrenabaque Madidi Pampas, the first destination in the Amazon to be certified as sustainable tourism in Bolivia, highlights the importance of integrating local businesses into the value chain of large companies. This initiative, carried out by FUNDES Bolivia, has found that by creating links with other actors, unity is a strength for the entire industry.
3. ALIGNATION: In the case of the Hotel Guild, we have observed signs of commitment, collaboration, and the sum of the best efforts to reopen in a clean, safe and responsible manner. With the COTELCO seal “Together against COVID -19”, the Colombian Hotel Guild will receive training, support and audits to ensure standardized adaptation.
4. RESILENCE: The adaptability of the aviation sector is reflected in the rapid standardization of best practices aimed at regaining trust as a multiplier for economic reactivation. For a sector tasked with connecting 385 cities in the region, and with figures assuming a nearly 98% decline in flights in Latin America (April 2020 versus 2019), the shared vision of how to travel from now on highlights the need for a rigorous plan leading to an orderly and coordinated resumption of activities.
5. INNOVATION: The private hotel industry, a pioneer in adopting processes and technologies to serve tourism, has implemented new “Clean and Safe” protocols to ensure cleanliness and hygiene in all facilities and standardize processes across local value chains.
6. LEADERSHIP: The World Tourism Organization demonstrated its leadership by launching the Global Crisis Committee for Tourism on the occasion of the COVID -19 conference. This mobilization aimed to promote greater public-private cooperation in favor of efficient reopening and to establish that the new sustainability requires responsible and intelligent tourism.
We invite you to read all the details of the meeting, and review the opportunities, proposals, and experiences, as well as the guidelines for actions that contribute to the reactivation of tourism as an engine of the Latin American and Caribbean economy, from different perspectives but with a common goal. Available here: https://bit.ly/3euadiy
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