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    International coordination could see tourism recover by 2022, WTTC argues

    World Travel & Tourism Council chief executive, Gloria Guevara, has said global tourism can recover from the Covid-19 pandemic by early 2022.
    However, the timeframe will require a great deal more cooperation between governments, she argued.
    “We can recover in 18 months – but it depends on coordination at an international level.
    “Some countries did a good job containing this pandemic, but they do not have a plan to reopen.
    “You cannot work in silos; travel depends on a lot of partners working together.”
    She added: “It is our role to facilitate these relationships and to help countries to work together to reopen.”
    Guevara pointed to the possibility of opening airline routes between London and Dubai or London and New York to evaluate testing procedures designed to remove quarantine.
    If the world fails to act to reopen tourism, as many as 100 million jobs could be lost, the WTTC has argued.
    Guevara added a vaccine would play a vital role in the reopening of the sector.

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    She explained: “We believe there is going to be a vaccine before the end of the year – the challenge is going to be the distribution of the vaccine.
    “Again we will need the coordination in order to make sure everybody who needs it, gets it.”
    Guevara was speaking at the Future Hospitality Summit, a hybrid virtual conference developed to explore big ideas and tackle the challenges facing the hospitality industry.
    It is taking place in Riyadh over the next two days.
    The event, which promises to be one of the most impactful gatherings of the hospitality community, will be delivered on a cutting-edge event platform from Bench Digital.
    It will provide an immersive live experience, including a virtual exhibition, one-to-one video networking and integrated chat features to all participants.
    More Information
    Future Hospitality Summit is organised by ministry of tourism Saudi Arabia and G20 Saudi Secretariat as part of the International Conferences Program, honouring the G20 Saudi presidency 2020.
    Find out more on the official website.
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    ABTA argues sustainability must be part of tourism recovery

    Mark Tanzer has argued the travel sector has an opportunity to “build back better” following an extremely challenging year.
    Opening the annual Travel Convention, the ABTA chief executive said sustainability must be key to the sector moving forward, but that progress would not be easy.
    Addressing the conference this morning, he said: “We are very much still in the middle of this crisis, which started back in March with the closing of the UK borders.
    “We are currently in the middle of a second spike, here in the UK and across Europe.
    “This means travel corridors have closed down, causing real trouble for the travel industry.

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    “Customer confidence is impacted by this, by both the government advice and the blanked travel ban from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO).”
    He added: “After a wash-out of a summer season, we are seeing weak demand for winter bookings.
    “This coincides with the end of the government furlough scheme, and we have seen 20 ABTA members fail so far this year – an indication of the financial pressure travel companies are under.”
    Turning his attention to what must be done to turn the fortunes of the sector around, he argued the government must act quickly.
    “Travel is a resilient industry, and we are used to digging ourselves out of trouble – but this is different.
    “The problems we face are directly linked to the government health policy.
    “The FCDO advice has to be changed, and we must move to a more regional approach.
    “We have seen the government is able to discriminate between different levels of risk, as we have seen with the newly introduced three tier system here at home.
    “This must be extended internationally.
    “There must also be a move toward testing, with the global travel taskforce reporting as quickly as possible.”
    He added: “There is no doubt this is the biggest crisis we have faced – but there are reasons for optimism.
    “People are booking for 2021 and may be looking to spend more, as they are unable to travel this year.”

    In terms of sustainability, ABTA has argued the travel industry has an opportunity to rebuild in a more sustainable way following the coronavirus crisis.
    The body has today published a new report which sets out how the devastating impact of the global pandemic has brought into relief the value of tourism to holidaymakers, the UK and destinations.
    Entitled ‘Tourism for Good – A Roadmap for Rebuilding Travel and Tourism,’ the document explains how it is imperative to purposefully rebuild a more responsible and resilient tourism industry that benefits all those involved.
    It also seeks to provide a framework for collaborative action to build better places to live in and better places to visit.
    Central to the report is the belief that travel is a powerful force for good; being both physically and mentally restorative for holidaymakers while also generating significant economic, employment and social benefits in the UK and around the world.
    It also acknowledges the challenges that the sector faces, including the need to accelerate decarbonisation and to ensure that tourism generates greater benefits for destinations and local communities.
    The report emphasises the huge value and contribution of UK outbound tourism, both domestically and internationally, in terms of job creation, livelihood opportunities, social benefits for local communities, support and funding for nature and wildlife conservation and cultural heritage protection.
    New research from CEBR shows that the aggregate global GVA (gross value added) of UK outbound tourism is estimated at $84 billion and supports 2.7 million jobs, while in the UK it generates £37 billion (1.8 per cent of GDP) in aggregate economic impact and 526,000 full-time equivalent jobs.
    For certain destinations – the Maldives, Jamaica, Cyprus, Malta, Mauritius, Greece, Spain and Portugal – which rely heavily on tourism already, UK holidaymakers alone make a marked contribution of more than one per cent of national GDP .
    Underpinned by a series of nine core principles, the report sets out a roadmap to guide a commitment from ABTA to working with its members, their suppliers, destination authorities, travellers and the wider travel industry.
    It also calls on the UK government to support tourism’s contribution to economic development and employment, deliver the necessary policies to encourage transport providers to transition to greener technologies, and to help consumers to transition to low-carbon transport.
    Tanzer concluded: “Tourism’s unexpected standstill has given us a unique opportunity to reflect on the type of industry we want to rebuild, fit for the challenges we face and a contributor to the global good.
    “I believe the future prosperity of the industry depends on putting sustainability at the heart of our recovery.”
    Find out more about the Tourism for Good roadmap below
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    AHIC 2020: Ras al Khaimah outlines renewed investment strategy

    Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority has announced a long-term investment strategy designed to boost the growth and diversification of Jebel Jais – the highest mountain in the United Arab Emirates.
    The announcement of continued investment underscores the resilience of the emirate and a desire to gather recovery momentum despite the challenges imposed this year by the Covid-19 pandemic. 
    The news was unveiled at AHIC on the Road, taking place this week in Dubai.
    This year, AHIC will bring together key industry leaders and stakeholders in a new format featuring a combination of physical and virtual sessions, which will be attended byRaki Philips, chief executive of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, and Alison Grinnell, chief executive of RAK Hospitality Holding.
    According to the World Economic Forum Covid Action Platform, travel preferences and patterns have changed, leading to renewed interest in less crowded destinations.
    Within this context, a key trend that has emerged is nature tourism, since it offers travellers a combination of social distancing, discovery and connection with nature, all of which aligns seamlessly with the Jebel Jais experience.
    From a broader destination perspective, Ras Al Khaimah’s diversity in landscape and offering makes it an ideal for visitors looking for comfort and security in expansive settings and where social distancing is easier to practice in serene surroundings on the mountains, on the coast or in the desert.
    Various government sectors of Ras Al Khaimah, including RAK Chamber of Commerce and Industry have worked together to identify a long-term investment strategy that will create ongoing funding for the development of nature-based tourism attractions on Jebel Jais.

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    All projects and builds will be developed in the most sustainable way possible in order not to disrupt the mountain eco-system but rather to enhance knowledge and understanding of conservation.
    The new phased investment strategy will focus primarily on developing Jebel Jais as a standalone destination by further diversifying its offering through several new nature-based projects including a pop-up hotel concept, scheduled to open in the second half of 2021, which will introduce unique cliff side accommodation with unrivalled picturesque mountain views.
    In addition, a mountain lodge, located adjacent to the renowned hiking trails will provide luxury accommodation when it opens in 2022. 
    Tourists will also get to experience the mountain from a completely different perspective by winding through gorgeous scenery with the Jais Coaster, a summer toboggan/bobsled concept inspired by the Alps, which will open in quarter two of 2021.
    Adding yet another first to its diverse offering, Jebel Jais will also be the home Sky High Meetings, the first-of-its-kind highest meeting room in the UAE ideal for business meetings and gatherings against the backdrop of the Hajar mountains, slated to open later this year.
    Raki Phillips, chief executive of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, said: “Seeing the tourism and hospitality sectors unite during this period and pivoting in response to challenges imposed by the pandemic has been truly inspiring.
    “We are honoured to be part of this year’s Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) and look forward to sharing Ras Al Khaimah’s experience in navigating through these times with a focus on building a stronger destination, as a result.
    “Our road to recovery is still in its early phases, but we have already seen significant uplift in the tourism and hospitality sectors’ performance leading to Ras Al Khaimah having the strongest RevPAR performance in the GCC.”
    The emirate is also assigning considerable funds to enhance the infrastructure on Jebel Jais and facilitate easier access for visitors and improve their overall experience on the mountain.
    Some of the key areas of focus range from public camping spots, night hiking trails to a base jump platform, e-bikes and an electric car charging station.
    More Information
    Find out more about AHIC on the Road on the official website, or follow all of the Breaking Travel News coverage of the show here.
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    ABTA annual conference moves online for first time

    The ABTA annual conference, the Travel Convention, will take place as a virtual one-day event for the first time this year.
    The show will be held on Wednesday, October 14th.
    There will be thought provoking content around the future of travel and tourism, with keynote speakers, business sessions, a range of specialist workshops and networking opportunities delivered to delegates via a virtual event portal.
    The portal will allow delegates to access the business sessions and specialist workshops, either live or on demand for up to a month after the event, network and request one to one meetings with other attendees and receive live technical assistance throughout the day.
    The business sessions will be broadcast from a virtual studio in central London, with Chris Ship, the Royal Editor at ITV News, returning to moderate for the fifth time.

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    Confirmed keynote speakers include Gloria Guevara, chief executive of the WTTC; Yael Selfin, chief economist at KPMG; and John Bevan, chief executive of dnata Travel Europe.
    The list of confirmed speakers is available on the Convention website and the full speaker line up will be released in September.
    Mark Tanzer, chief executive of ABTA, said, “We took the difficult decision a few months ago to postpone this year’s Travel Convention in Marrakech to 2021, but we look forward to welcoming our delegates there in person next year.
    “In the meantime, with the start of the recovery presenting so many challenges to businesses, it has never been more important for us to come together to discuss the future of travel and how we can rebuild confidence in customers.
    “From our virtual studio, we’ll be delivering high-level business sessions, practical workshops and time for networking.
    “It will be unlike any other Convention before it – and we look forward to seeing our delegates there.”
    More Information
    For more info information and to register, visit the official website.
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    Speakers unveiled for second Hospitality Tomorrow event

    Following the successful launch of Hospitality Tomorrow, Bench Events has announced the first 30+ speakers for the second edition of the online event. The second installment is set to take place on May 12th. Powered by Bench Digital, Hospitality Tomorrow was launched to support the hard-hit international hospitality community during Covid-19, by offering a virtual […] More

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    ABTA postpones Morocco convention until 2021

    ABTA has postponed its annual travel convention in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The Morocco-based event was due to take place in October 2020, and will now be moved until the same time next year. The association will instead hold a UK-based convention at a similar time in the autumn. Following discussion with the […] More