The state of wartime travel and tourism

The travel and tourism industry faces new uncertainties, challenges and opportunities. GTRCMC and WTN are among the first in the global travel and tourism industry to take the mic. They have an urgent message for tourism leaders around the world.

The president of the Global Tourism Network, Dr. Peter Tarlow today published these thoughts on the Russian-Ukrainian war and the world of tourism.

Also, today, speaking on behalf of the Global Tourism Crisis Management and Resilience Center (CTMRG) Hon. Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, and Dr Taleb Rifai, former UNWTO Secretary-General, today urged tourism leaders to keep a close eye on the Russian Ukraine crisis as this event will impact the global industry of tourism amid the global pandemic.

“It is essential that tourism leaders around the world monitor the escalation of activity between Russia and Ukraine with a view to preparing for any fallout. This is all the more imperative at this time as the world is still in a pandemic which has already hit the tourism industry.

“Resilience must become a core function in the planning and operational infrastructure of all tourism-dependent destinations,” said the Honorable Edmund Bartlett.

“It is these types of global events that have the greatest capacity to cause disruption and displacement and why resilience and resilience building are so important,” added Dr Rifai, who is also the Network’s Patron. tourism world.

Bartlett and Rifai are co-chairs of the GTRMC.

“The Global Tourism Network stands ready to work with the Global Center for Resilience and Crisis Management for Tourism, since this center was created for this reason, to help destinations dependent on tourism not only to mitigate these types of disruptions, but also to survive it,” said the Chairman and CEO. founder Juergen Steinmetz.

Wednesday. February 23, 2022, early morning Ukraine time, the world has changed, including the world of travel and tourism.

Russia has opened the long-awaited invasion of Ukraine.

Global Tourism Network President Dr. Peter Tarlow stresses that this article is not meant to be a military or political analysis of events as they unfold, but rather that the purpose of this article is to examine the impact of the Russian invasion and war on world travel and tourism. industry.

It should be emphasized that at the time of this writing, there is a large amount of information that is not known or very vulnerable to change.

Thus, the statements are based on the most recent information and data available at the time of writing this article. Finally, in a world of high political sensitivity, the purpose of this article is not to assign blame but rather to examine the challenges that the current situation presents to the travel and tourism industry.

To do this, we must first consider the following data:

  • Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the travel and tourism industries are in a very vulnerable economic situation. Large parts of these industries, especially small businesses, have closed due to the lockdowns. Many people have lost their jobs; others have had to look for new employment, outside of travel and tourism, just to survive.
  • Covid requirements or people’s fear of traveling is now a major hurdle for these industries. The war in Ukraine means there is now a war in Europe, the heart of tourism. This war is coming as travel and tourism not only have yet to recover from unprecedented economic hardship, but also in many tourist spots that are simply struggling to survive. These difficulties not only include loss of income for those employed in the tourism and travel industries, but also changes in travel habits, lack of service personnel and multiple supply chain challenges.
  • Due to the Covid -19 pandemic, customer service has diminished and the pleasure of traveling has now often been replaced by the hassle of travel. As of this writing, February 24, 2022, travelers are still required to wear masks in transport terminals and while traveling, and air travelers must, depending on the place of travel, complete lengthy forms of health, take pre-departure Covid tests, and in the case of international travel, they may be subject to ever-changing quarantine regulations. The cumulative effect of these regulations is that travel has become increasingly difficult and less pleasant.
  • The Ukrainian crisis comes at a time when tourism is facing inflation. Inflationary pressures not only mean price increases for goods and services, but also mean that the average traveler has less disposable income. The vast majority of potential travelers will not spend money on vacation if they need the money for their children’s education or to buy food and medicine.
  • The current crime wave in many Western countries, and particularly in the United States, means that travel and tourism security issues are on the minds of many people. When fear enters the travel picture, potential business people and vacationers often prefer to stay home than risk being mugged, robbed or worse in a distant country or unfamiliar place. Additionally, virtual meetings and travel mean there are methods to achieve goals without having to travel.
  • Due to anti-law enforcement bias in many media and among some political leaders, the reputation of the police has suffered, and this suffering has translated into visitors’ reluctance to turn to law enforcement. to get help.
  • The United States currently has an open southern border. U.S. Border Patrol officials report that the country has registered approximately 2,000,000 illegal migrants from more than 85 countries since January 21, 2001. These porous borders mean the country is open not only to immigrants but also to criminals, cartels and terrorists.

It is in this context that the travel and tourism industry must now add an extra wrinkle to the world of travel; the first major war in Europe since the Balkan Wars of the 1990s.

The Balkan Wars, however, were different in that they did not involve nuclear powers and the conflagration was confined to one region of Europe.

It is still too early to know if the Ukrainian crisis will be limited to a localized area of ​​Europe or if it will metastasize and will involve the NATO countries as such.

If the latter were to occur with the spread of the war to the Balkan states, Poland and Germany, its impact would be felt across Europe and such a conflagration would involve several nuclear weapon states.

The potential for miscalculations will increase exponentially. As such, this conflict has the potential to escalate from a localized conflict to a Europe-wide or even global war.

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From a tourism perspective, here are some of the important points to remember

  • Europe is heavily dependent on Russian oil. Currently, European nations have no alternative because the United States, under the current administration, has reduced its oil production to the point that the United States is also importing oil from Russia and even Iran.
  • China could interpret the perceived weakness as a reason to attack Taiwan. If that happened, the world would face invasions by two nuclear states. Chinese planes now regularly invade Taiwan’s airspace, and China and Russia are now working together.
  • If the United States and the Europeans reached a nuclear deal with Iran, they would free up billions of dollars for further acts of terrorism.
  • Rising energy costs come during the European winter and it may spell a rift in the NATO alliance. This divide has already begun as countries like Italy, Germany and Belgium have already requested exemptions from some of the sanctions the West is imposing on Russia.

From a tourism perspective, the following could also happen.

Again, it should be noted that in this writing, the points below are speculation. The situation continues to unfold and change almost hourly.

  • The tourism industry may well experience another downturn in tourism, especially if the European war spreads or slows down. This will result in additional bankruptcies, layoffs and lack of service.
  • It is too early to tell how effective Western nations’ sanctions will be against Russia and what their impact will be on the global travel and tourism industry.
  • The airline and hospitality industries need to be prepared for another set of challenges, including new safety regulations and the potential for fewer passengers on routes to destinations such as East Asia. East and Europe. On the other hand, areas not affected by war may see an increase in the number of travelers seeking to visit these more peaceful places.
  • Tourism officials could see cross-border travel become more difficult as nations seek to protect their own citizens and territory. The idea of ​​the multi-nation tour can be replaced with more in-depth trips to unique places
  • The possibility of millions of people becoming refugees is real and if this happens the pressure on the hospitality industry could increase.
  • International banking and money transfer could become much more difficult, which means locations that offer prepaid all-inclusive packages may become more desirable travel options.
  • Additional Precautions Sanitary precautions should be considered with centers established to care for tourists at multiple levels and in a multilingual setting.

Although no one can predict the future leaders of tourism, it is worth considering the following

  • Strengthen their commitment to all forms of security by training police in tourism security, reinforcing tourist sites, including hotels, transport terminals and accommodations.
  • Destinations far from the European continent should offer special packages to Europeans and people who are now looking for new destinations.
  • Work to improve the well-being of tourism and ensure the industry communicates to its clients and customers that it cares
  • Maintain regular news updates and assure people that it will be easy to communicate with their home and loved ones

Let’s all work to use the tourism industry as a way to bring people together and show the world that tourism is an instrument of peace.

To find out more about the Global Tourism Network, including membership, go to www.wtn.travel

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