Long term planning with communities at the center; increasing resilience by preparing for crises; and transitioning to a seamless traveler journey through the use of technology were highlighted during the recent World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) first Europe Leaders Forum as three critical areas for action in order to ensure Europe’s travel and tourism sector maintains competitiveness.
According to WTTC President & CEO Gloria Guevara, Travel and tourism accounts for 10.4 percent of the world’s GDP and 1 in 10 jobs and has consistently outperformed the economy as a whole.
“Here in Europe, which attracts over half of global international arrivals, travel and tourism contributes 9.9 percent to GDP and in 2017 the sector grew more than twice as fast as the rest of the economy,” Guevara said in her opening address, adding that IATA is forecasting an additional 1.5 billion passengers a year in Europe by 2036.
Guevara underlined that the challenge for the future is to ensure that growth is maintained and is sustainable, providing benefits for local communities, be they in large cities or remote rural areas, and ensuring a great experience for the traveller.
WTTC’s president highlighted three areas of opportunity for Europe:
1. Growth needs to be sustainable, planned for the long term and with communities at the centre of planning, to ensure that growth is inclusive and positively benefits the people of Europe.
2. Crisis preparedness, where destinations and the private sector work together to learn from previous experience and ensure an integrated approach to dealing with crises such as extreme weather events, health pandemics and terrorism.
3. Improve efficiency and travel security through the use of technologies such as biometrics, which put a seamless traveller journey at the centre and expand capacity to capitalize on growth opportunities.
“WTTC calls for action in these areas so that Europe maintains competitiveness and maximises future job creation through travel and tourism. Europe is a large and important tourism market but it is important that its leaders do not take this for granted,” she added.
WTTC’s Europe Leaders Forum is the first in a series of regional events to take place in 2018 and attracted over 150 leaders from across the region.
Destination stewardship, crisis preparedness and travel security will be explored in more depth during WTTC’s Global Summit will take place in Seville, Spain on 3-4 April 2019.