NORDIC TOURISM COLLECTIVE
When it comes to the rebound, the sector is accustomed to business travel leading the way. Wondering if this can still be relied upon with video / virtual meetings so much part of daily business life?
The airlines are, to Governments, the visible side of tourism. The tourism industry made an overall contribution of 10.3% to total global GDP and yet Governments only seem to recognise the airlines. Traditionally, this has been as a result of the lack of joined-up representation of the overall tourism industry..
Agree. Airlines are larger, prominent and on government's radar. Much of the rest of the industry is not; yet 2 out of 3 jobs in European tourism are generated by SMEs. Airlines are first in the queue for bailouts, but need to show the same spirit to the rest of their industry partners when considering refunds and BSP payments.
The rebound will likely be led by the leisure domestic segment this time, at least in the EU. Given the scale/scope of the coming economic recession, business travel and MICE segments will see short term contraction on par, if not more important than during the financial crisis. EU Outbound leisure segments are likely to be substantially weakened due to consumers depressed discretionary spending power and the lack of available paid leave (i.e: EU government ad hoc unemployment benefits being conditional to varying degrees to employees first consuming their paid leave allowances). Domestic short breaks, staycation might emerge as the first 'green shouts' in 2020, that is in Q4 at best. As for the airlines, yes it is a bit rich indeed for airlines to ask for state loan facilities or outright bailouts when share buy backs have been going on in the past few years. The amount of capital granted to shareholders could to an extent have been used to build capacity in case of a system level crisis such as the one we are experimenting. A wider point to make when it comes to the rebound, is what will it look like? Will the industry push for a return to the business as usual? Or will the industry as a whole takes this opportunity to make the case for a rebuilding effort addressing the core challenges facing the industry such the impacts of the climate crisis, destinations carrying capacity issues and generally the whole industry non sustainable linear / volume growth model? One might argue that rebuilding with resilience, cooperation and value co-creation in mind while acknowledging the travel and tourism inherent natural ecosystem boundaries growth limitation is the way to go. Yet, short term economic pressure on private actors is likely to push for a business as usual reset.
Fabrice: good point. Lots of talk right now around collaboration and learning from the mistakes of the past in building the future. However the reality is that companies are in a fight for survival, so when businesses and livelihoods are at stake, owners and managers will look to generate income as quickly and as cheaply as they possibly can. How do you reconcile those positions?
Short term VS long term is indeed a core dilemma for organisations.
Emerging strategies on COVID 19 epidemic curbing suggest rolling periods of lock downs, stretching to 2022 ( http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:42638988) .
This implies regular disruptions to resources, goods and people flows for sustained periods of time.
With this mind, going back to a business as usual situation with industries operating under siloed models (survival of the fittest/the largest organisations) are unlikely to provide substantial economic recovery to organisations, especially SME's.
On top of that, the global macro economic and social situation, pre COVID 19 was poor with resource use near ecosystem carrying capacity and GHG emissions on par to a 3/4 degrees warming by 2050. So the future outlook pre COVID19 was bleak for all industries and societies at large.
A core question for industry, trade bodies (and governments) is now what path do we take forward? We can look at Amsterdam for a more upbeat approach. Amsterdam just announced their COVID 19 recovery plan based on Kate Raworth 'Doughnut Economics'. Designing a social/environmental and economic recovery plan with natural and social capital regeneration as core objectives.
The tourism industry might take inspiration from such a collaborative approach based on system thinking, circular economy principles.
My point being that a travel and tourism ecosystem optimised for all its actors will be more resilient and sustainable (environmentally, financially) than a siloed ecosystem based on short-term thinking with outdated supply and demand based transactional relationships.
I am working on a paper on this subject, would be great to get your feedback on it, will PM you.