Shifting Gears for Recovery Rebuilding Travel & Tourism in Latin America MANDARIN

Shifting Gears for Recovery Rebuilding Travel & Tourism in Latin America MANDARIN

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good morning it's a real pleasure to welcome you to this important prescient wttc global summit panel on rebuilding travel and tourism in latin america from mexico city to manaus the covet-19 pandemic has ravaged communities throughout latin america and the caribbean the region will face a fragile and uneven recovery as the covet 19 crises may leave lasting scars on the region's economies according to the 2021 un world economic situation and prospects report released earlier this year the report warns the devastating socio-economic impact of the pandemic will be felt for years to come unless smart investments in economic societal and climate resilience ensure a robust and sustainable recovery of the global economy in 2020 the world economy shrank by 4.3 over two and a half times more than during the global crises of 2009 the modest recovery of 4.7 percent expected globally in 2021 would barely offset the losses of 2020 and the pandemic has ravaged countries in latin america and the caribbean exacting a heavy human toll and causing an economic contraction of historic proportions the region's gdp declined by eight percent in 2020 as prolonged national lockdowns weaken merchandise exports and a collapse in tourism undermined economic activities the pandemic's impact on latin american caribbean has also exposed vulnerabilities particular to the region such as the high levels of informality in the job in the job sector that made it difficult for governments to manage the spread of the pandemic despite both public closures and expanded testing efforts weak health systems in many countries led to an equal access to essential health services and disproportionate impact on more vulnerable communities at the end of the day the fundamental cleavage that we've seen play out around the world and also in latin america is not between how left-wing or right-wing governments performed or between authoritarian regimes and liberal democracies it's been between efficient and inefficient governments and this cleavage has been laid to bear across our region including the united states particularly during the last year nearly a year later with vaccination moving forward there are reasons for cautious optimism latin american the caribbean remains a region of boundless economic potential its natural endowments offer unparalleled opportunities to invest in a sustainable recovery hemispheric trade potential near shoring and sustainable tourism could stimulate investment employment and the diversification of economies the pandemic certainly represents a historic opportunity for the region to embrace a transformative agenda but certainly a long road ahead remains to repair the damage this pandemic has caused we're in for a great panel this morning let me uh introduce to you our stellar lineup of panelists you have their bios in your materials so i won't go into that but let me start by presenting the honorable julian guerrero vice minister of tourism in colombia chief executive officer of libertador hotels resorts and spas gordon wilson president of world reach and martin sanone managing director of eurotour gentlemen let me sort of ask all of you uh uh an opening question uh i'd ask you to keep your opening remarks to about three minutes max but but let's start with with a general sort of 35 level foot question latin america is obviously comprised this is something that a lot of people outside the region sometimes forget but those of us who come from the region know very well that latin america is comprised of many countries that have incredible diversity and that have had very diverse responses to covet 19.

what what is one key learning from your experience in the sector in managing the crises and working to accelerate recovery in the tourism sector and and and mr vice minister can i sort of gently prod you to kick us off sure thank you arturo and hello to my panelists my fellow panelists and thank you very much for starting with that question i think that one of the most important key lessons that that we've learned in colombia is the importance of effective communication and engagement since the first moment of the pandemic hit latin america in colombia he established a communication channel with the tourism sector in colombia with regional authorities state authorities internationally we also set up a coordination mechanism with tourism authorities of the region to have a 24 7 communication to propose ideas request things adopt measures bounce ideas that people might have different positions about but i think that the secret to the relative success that colombia has had uh in dealing with the pandemic with all the uncertain uncertainty that it brought and the difficulties in adopting good mitigation measures last year and recovery measures since the let's say second half of the last year and this year has been the fact that despite having differences criticisms or different views about many things there was a permanent permanent communication and engagement way of doing things and i think that has been the key secret to the good things that have occurred in the in the midst of the pandemics thank you um uh gordon why why why why don't you um pick this up and i'll follow up on on our previous comments i would pick collaboration particularly between government the travel industry in the sense of the travel service providers and also the travel facility operators it's it's very much the theme of safe and seamless travel journey the collaboration that underpins that but in the covid crisis it's super important to reflect a consolidated approach that the messages are going out to the audiences as as julian had mentioned but also that we reflect uh consistent processes and approach to safe and secure travel as a way to uh deal with the current crisis both sort of in the short term and as we come out of this in the medium and longer term and assuring that the confidence is there for the traveler that they can feel comfortable coming to the facilities that they see the processes that are in operation and that there's a consistent process regardless of whether they're flying into a particular country going through an airport taking a shuttle to the cruise terminal jumping on a cruise that the whole end-to-end journey has to be consistent and that requires a large amount of collaboration thank you very much ayeko uh both of the previous speakers have commented on collaboration i think it has been crucial i think another key learning is a humility in many aspects unless you've been around working in the industry for 100 years this chances are this was the first pandemic that you got to experience so there's a lot of things that we didn't know and we had to act fast and in some cases you know governments have been better and worse at okay let's try this but if it doesn't work let's let's try this we have done it at the private sector um we started you know with all kind of protective measures that actually we learned later that weren't effective um at one point masks were good at one point must work vast at one point you had to wear double mask moving back and forth and i think one key learning is the humility to be able to look back and say well we tried this it didn't work especially when it came to putting measures that you thought were in the best interest of of public health but damaged the economy it was particularly interesting to see governments to say well we of course priority one is saving life but actually this is not helping us in what we need to accomplish but on the other hand is damaging uh the economy or a particular segment like travel for example i think that's number one humility it's adaptability that we've seen in all you know people and also resiliency as i've seen in our industry um you know we we have seen our people um try to find ways to keep their businesses alive uh we've seen companies that reinvent themselves from doing fashion design to doing math design and i think that has been a beautiful site to see of humanity how we adapted to the crisis thanks i think my my mates have said a lot already but um i think collaboration is one good thing and just to figure out that who is the enemy and it's not us it's not our competitors it's not the governments we are on that we are all on the same tempest or from both sizes different boat qualities but we need to understand that if we don't hold it to the safe port together it will just take longer to to recover and it will just bring back something that happens circle met to do to discuss the topics and do an engaged study reaction in on an island and the discussion was about what to do what not to do over reactions so one key learning right here is that we could have or seen some some situations probably not as extreme as this one but we can learn we can just try to learn beforehand what to do in case something that like this happened without all the stress of just dealing with it or tackling the the problem as it is happening and the other thing that i think it's uh it's a key learning at least for me is uh i'm not sure we learned a lot about the pandemic we're still discussing about some simple and obvious guidelines that are proven to bring us back into normal life such as face covers social distancing ventilation personal hygiene we learn a lot about homework and virtual meetings but are we just making decisions based on what's what we're more comfortable with or are we basing decisions on data and defining with the data risk level so i think those are the three things and my takeaways you you've mentioned some some key words here that that i think will be a recurring a part of the discussion communication and narrative collaboration humility trial and error adaptability and resiliency and i i think that we're gonna we're gonna bump into some of these ideas that you've thrown out here at the outset throughout throughout our conversation but let me let me especially those of you who as a as a recovering diplomat and former government official for 20 years i know that julian won't be too amused that i'm going to pose the question to the other side of the aisle but but let me ask gordon and ugo and martin sort of what what by looking at the region um sort of what what has been done well and correctly by governments i'm not asking you for specific examples of government a or government b but what what are some of the things that governments in the region as you see the region have done well to try and mitigate the effects of the pandemic on tourism and and where have they failed sort of on what issues have they failed miserably um okay it's a complex question um and as you mentioned before there's a it's a very heterogeneous region so it's hard to kind of like um put everything in one bucket but i'd say that uh there's three levels um and you know the first one has been dealing with the immediate impact and that's uh giving economic relief to the industry and we've given some examples that have worked better than others uh some some that work better are companies that actually do specific measures for the travel industry um you know um vice minister guerrero happens to be here but colombia has been one of those that have done tremendous things to help the business like removing uh vit i believe and a couple of other measures that have been very very good i fully concur yeah um and and and you know we see we've seen countries that have given some some measures that are specific for the industry too because what what we want is to keep the uh human and physical infrastructure alive so when we need to recover we don't we don't recover from from from a lower development level so we lose all those that great people that it took years to form or that great businesses that go bankruptcy if we lose them they're going to be worse equipped to handle the recovery and i think measures that target keeping people in the industry and keeping businesses from from from bankruptcy have been quite successful in the region a second a second aspect has to do with getting people back to travel during the pandemic and i think i think their latin america has not been as successful as other regions have taken a regional approach like europe for example or even australia with new zealand that did travel corridors at one point i don't know if they continue to have them or not we've done that more in silos and you know you have countries like chile that are in a total frontier lockdown um or you have countries like mexico where you can just breathe in without even having a pcr test or or a quarantine and and that's the spectrum and i think um you know i think we could have done better as a region to get alignment because countries cannot get covered people get covered you know so at the end of the day it's better to focus on people than to focus on countries um and the third aspect is the recovery and how you go out and and you know and and and make sure that what comes the post code is as good or even better as we used as what business used to be in the back in before uh and i think governments have a crucial role in promoting their destination and taking advantage of the crisis and we've seen some caribbean islands for example that now are you know allowing people to become temporary residents and boosting tourism by allowing people to do home office from a pristine beach in the caribbean i think that's brilliant uh we're going to have a very well hit region we're going to have less airflow because a lot of the airlines are on chapter 11 in our region and are not getting help by governments like in europe or asia so we're going to have less flight it's going to be a more expensive destination and i think countries need to um need to work in in being as attractive or even more attractive that they used to be in the past to compete with that those other destinations um gordon martin um you know as as we as the world and many countries move towards recovery there's obviously going to be and it's already we're already sort of diving into that there's going to be a need to remove some of the travel barriers that have been in place uh for the past year how how do you rebuild travel confidence to accelerate the recovery and let me ask of of um of uh sort of the the burning question which is out there and you know just go on social media and i i've seen i know uh ten articles nine articles in the last week about this issue sort of what should be if any the role of of the so-called vaccine passports um do we need them are they discriminatory as many are saying particularly here in the u.s and in the uk sort of how do you see these these things interplaying so gordon and martin if you can take a stab at sort of how do you rebuild traveler confidence and and then ask the vice minister to sort of and obviously you can all jump into either of these questions but sort of what do we do with vaccine passports and what's your view on on the need to develop protocols in that regard well i'll jump in i'm actually working on the wttc uh interoperability working group on that area so we get a lot of good information and and there is a plethora of approaches to this i think at the very highest level at 35 000 foot level as you said um we're going to have to do a combination of approaches with it we can't require vaccines although people you know ideally would like to have some and a large portion of the population will um we have to allow that there's testing and and the combination and reality is just the time it takes to get the vaccines reload globally there will be a dual approach of both vaccine certificates and test certificates um that we'll be able to use in that process and those who wish to have testing i know um peru there was a presenter from peru at the wtc weekly meetings who talked about what they're doing at the airport about two months ago and and they're doing testing within five to ten minutes you get the results it's low cost and they're doing it for all people even transiting the airport so there are mechanisms that allow this to be implemented in a reasonably cost effective and fast manner that allow the flow of people even those who haven't had vaccines or won't have vaccines for various reasons and and it is a non-discriminatory approach to do that so i think there are ways that we can accommodate it and those who do choose to have the vaccine or have the ability to get it because early distribution will come to their country faster perhaps um sure that'll help us all with your immunity over time um and i don't think it's a one or the other situation we we have to allow for the fact that there can be combinations and that will that will raise the confidence of travelers in my opinion as well to feel that they're comfortable in tight quarters on on planes ships etc and result in a safe and happy journey as well for those who are participating um i think there's many things that we need to do but i want to focus just on two one is um we need to preach by example we are the travel industry we are the people who our clients look at when they are starting to think or dream about travel and we are the first ones who need to start traveling again we need to go to congresses we need to go to travel shows travel fairs we need to go on holidays abroad we need to travel and we need to demonstrate that travel is not just um the risk can be managed so it's not that if you just go uh you just go ill so i think that's the first thing the second thing is no one forgets all the images of 13 months ago what happened in march and how stressful situations a lot of passengers around the world suffered and i there's thousands of stories i just want to to piggyback on one that we had in argentina just imagine imagine a german couple uh stranded in in argentinian puna in a small town where people do not speak german do not speak english they do not speak spanish they're five hours away from the near airport on a non-paved road and we're trying to to to help them just get back to germany and we're their friendly boys on the phone we are their friends we are their family while in argentina and people thank for that so that's part of what we do part of what we have to just change our business model change our service levels change our the way we redesign our services just to give this kind of assurance and um and it's not a matter of money many things can be done very easily just what we did back then was put our accident protocol in place and and a team just to deal with it as if as if it were an accident and this just in the end we figured out it just redefined what we are have to do what we have to how we do our marketing what we propose or our services start us at emc so basically it's uh i think we need to look at this and see how our business model needs to change so that we just give more confidence to people and not base confidence on a on just a passport or just an insurance on covet on just uh screening or vaccines there's a plethora of things we need to do and each one needs to just tackle what's nearest to it so in in their overall we we just show an industry that is just manages risk thank you arturo and first of all thank you for not asking me the previous question because i would have been politically incorrect what other whatever thing i would have said but anyways no i i think that you know i've had like shifting views when it comes to the health passport we started working on that issue or exploring that possibility since i believe september october last year when the first initiative i heard of common past was like brought out into the public and they were looking for countries to support the this idea i thought it was a fantastic idea at the beginning but you rightly point out one of the challenges that it has and it is discrimination and it is having travelers the first and second category you know and and people that might have accesses because they have the risk economic resources or the facility to have the passport get vaccinated have the the tests etc or even that they are legally registered in the health systems of different countries so i think that that is one of the biggest biggest challenges we had several meetings and we we proposed to have those discussions at the level of the oas also with the inter-american development bank which we look for support for them so that we could have a regional discussion about the health passports it was very difficult to make it evolve mainly because of you know the the sovereignty of countries every country wants to do their own and it's difficult to have that level of coordination i think from last year things have moved quite positively there are other initiatives like the yata initiative i think those two are the the most important ones the financial times i think had a interesting article saying that we should follow one of those two alternatives but in the last meeting that we we had at the level of the oas in the tourism committee inter-american committee we we requested both common pass and yata to come up with a common solution with only one solution because the difficulty is that if we have several solutions then well we'll have to opt for one or the other and how well will they communicate between the two of them so there are some technological challenges as well as privacy concerns that still need to be addressed now i recently read an article and i guess you did to it in the economist that spoke about the the the time frame where those health passports had some validity you know were relevant and if it's too early in the vaccination process they're not relevant because nobody will have the vaccination report on the stamp or on the on the passport if it's too late everybody will have it so why why would you want to ask for it if you know that pretty much everybody in the world has it so the the window the time frame of opportunity to have an effective pass is relatively short and i guess this is the the precise moment where it would be of some use but it's not really rolled out in such an extensive way that it might be useful for countries so at the end of the day i think that it will lose its relevance maybe in six months or a year time it would lose its relevance and i was impressed by the declarations that president biden made when he said that he would not require any passport for any american citizen so i think that sets a little bit of the standard and the way in towards the future what's going to happen with the with the health passport yeah and this and this you know some of you mentioned the word collaboration and cooperation and synergy um because this will be crucial because if you end up with a viennese layered cake of seven different approaches in three four different regions of the world where some create a unified approach and some others don't and some ask for it and some don't it's gonna have a it's gonna have a profound impact again on the ability of the of the sector to pick up and recover and and move forward quickly so so this this is a very important discussion let let me let me move you um slowly float forward into sort of the specificity of of how do you uh on top of this boost uh business tourism uh how do you how do you make the most of regional mice opportunities to increase business spend and how to apply those lessons to to try and and gen and sort of trigger one of the sectors that has been most profoundly affected by the tourism lockdowns uh and the drop in tourism in general and try and international travel that we've seen over the past year would anyone want to gordon i don't know if you want to jump into this one or i i think um the confidence of people coming back is going to start with the ability for them to travel safely and i think what we've seen with the work that we've done in the last three years on the seamless travel journey initiative of wttc is that everything in seamless that was designed for flow and customer experience is now equally applicable to safe right we want to minimize time in public areas we want to touch equipment less or avoid it if possible we don't want to exchange a lot of papers and documents back and forth and uh we want to get on to the planes or or you know cruises that have been cleaned and sanitized as quickly as possible uh we don't want to be waiting and the challenge i think right now for the industry where it's going through a difficult period obviously in terms of cash flow and stresses financially but yet seeing this wave of people that are ready to travel coming from you know july august through to um next next season that's coming up through the the summer winter season um coming up we have to implement these pilots to get them going now we have to get we can't wait two years to add seamless travel and then when once the recovery occurs so the challenge is how do we get that going get the pilot so that the the passenger and the experience that they have can see the value of it both from seamless and and what we tried to generate as a as a goal two three years ago in the start but from the point of view of safety that they see that's they're not exposing themselves unnecessarily through the process and they feel much more comfortable going through quickly i think that's that's a very important opportunity um for the for the industry and as julian has said you know there's a window of time to do this and we're and we're just sort of opening that window in the next six to 12 months where we have a chance to implement those concepts in a very broad way we are also a member of icca which is basically congress and conventions association and we really think it's uh it will be a tough market to get back into specifically when we think that there's been a lot of postponing in conferences around the world from associations and there's a timeline that this roll out but at the same time i think there's uh two things that we need to tackle early on if we want the business trouble to get back or some specific known known schedule already events which is as a passengers tourism passenger we need some reassurance we already discussed and everyone got a foot on that but from a business perspective we need just to get some reassurance to companies what happens on the risk level of their employees what happens in uh um do they need some specific insurance for these kind of things kind of um if someone gets that's extreme situation either but what kind of things can we do just to to offset those kind of uh of concerns and on the second side is um as pco many companies what they do is try to explain their clients that by doing an incentive trip by doing a conference or by inviting their top sellers to on a trip the roi on this investment that just uh skyrockets and i think we need to do the same thing here we need just to explain and try to calculate the error why why going back into one one-to-one conversations or meetings is better than doing yet another zoom and i read on an article on the newspaper i think was in a time in new york times or probably some other economic one which says how how much money companies saved last year by not traveling so that's probably one of the angles that i need to get back to is showing that there's an roi on that on just meeting person to person going to trade shows there's certain trade shows that cannot be done virtually when you're just showcasing a new machinery that you need to touch and to see how it works and just a video would not do so i think those are probably the two things that we need to do right away and again the window of opportunity is not that big i think well i think um i think it comes back to what we're discussing uh people want to do mice i i have a strong belief that the the home office will create more uh will will enhance the condition for meetings because people are not going to be working uh the whole year in their office so they're gonna need to meet more in person so i think that there's gonna be a bigger demand uh today the challenging is that is that there is innumerable permutations as to what you need to have to travel like if you travel from one country to the other but you make a layover in the third country then the rules of those three countries apply to you where you're traveling i mean i the the checking process at an airline it takes you know four or five times longer because the the whoever checks you in need to know exactly what the country of origin and and where you're traveling to are requiring whether it's a pcr it's a quarantine in the case of peru requires a face shield in the if you have been in brazil you cannot go to certain countries and if and and that needs to stop because by definition people will come from very different locations and and they just cannot be undergoing the stress of of of what entails to travel or or you not be able to go back home at some point because you know you your plane did a layover in a country that your home country doesn't allow people to fly from so that needs to get sold and that needs to get so fast for people to get back um and also you know governments need to go back on an allowing on a safe manner meetings today many countries don't allow gatherings and as simple as that so legally if you wanted to have a meeting of 100 people in peru in a bank room you could not have it even though you have all the protocols you just legally cannot have it so we need to go back to the basics allowing governments make sure that they are allowed and working together to um to have people trust um back trouble because you know uh avoid fears of getting stuck in one country that's not yours um i i'd like if possible because of what uber has just mentioned of the of the role of of governmental um restrictions and and and conditionalities regarding you know mass events or or big meetings i i'd like to ask you for your take on that but there was a there was a the question that i wanted to to lead with with you is is obviously and and you and i come from two sort of two of the most mega diverse and bio biologically rich countries um in the americas and mexico and and obviously uh i think there is a unique opportunity ahead for the tourism industry to focus on sustainable and inclusive development for the future also a region with with huge um uh disparities in in income and and and equality um which which sustainability areas do you think the region can and should address first thank you arturo and uh if you want to the meetings industry i'll just mention a couple of things one is that there's no doubt that this is one of the most challenging aspects of the crisis that we're facing you know the the meetings industry and the difficulties because of its natural reunion of a plural number of people but then i think that this is one of the sub sectors within tourism that will never or very difficultly returned to normality or what we call normality back in 2019 i think that there is not only a need to to wait and resist and so that things return to normal but it really needs to adapt and they need to diversify the portfolio of services that they provide not only having meetings but for example we've spoken with several convention centers in colombia to see if they can also offer their venues you know film production facilities like studios or things of that sort to complement the income that may come from from traditional meetings self-organized events as well is very important and we are going to always we will never to go back to 100 meetings as we had in the past we need a hybrid type of uh meetings to have this year in october we have both eca meeting and the fee expo the latin american meetings industry meeting in colombia and i think that will be a very very important opportunity to discuss the future of the industry in the years to come now coming to your second question and i think that this is crucial you know we need to see the pandemic not only as a crisis but also as an opportunity and one of the things that we focus mainly in colombia is to put sustainability in at the heart of the industry we've passed a bill last year where one of the main aspects of the of the law was to put sustainability uh again in the center of the industry giving tools to to reach better the environment that at the end of the day it's the part of the reason why people come to countries like mexico or colombia it also is the first sustainable tourism policy that colombia has we work together with the unwto with the oecd to seek the best practices when we have a strategy that has we have a policy that has six strategies and one of them of course is government but other one is also working with the private sector and you ask with some of the main challenges when it comes to sustainability and i would say there's no doubt that the main main challenge that we have is climate change i mean i don't know if you've read the the book of by bill gates recently published and he pretty much says like well you were worried about the pandemic wait and see what's going to happen with climate change so i think we need to put that really really at the heart of the of the industry and make the most out of it we translated the policy into english as well to share it and if people find some aspects of it interesting that's something that we should work on and we worked on two other sustainable documents one is a an nature guide interpretation handbook a training manual for guiding for nature interpretation in colombia beautifully published book also in english with 50 podcasts and things to download in your mobile phone and good practices manual also for sustainability associated with a nature tourism very happy to share all this information with you maybe through you because i think we should increasingly work together to continue working towards sustainable tourism as as as a non-lawyer um i i'm gonna commit the sin of of leading the witness here but i wanted to ask gordon anugo and martin sort of when we talk about uh a sustainable inclusive recovery um in a few months what what what are two or three indicators that you would be looking for and look backwards to sort of ascertain whether the recovery is in fact sustainable and inclusive well one of the things that that we are very concerned with is the communities in which we operate um and i think that's been the focus actually that's the purpose of our company is to you know generate happiness in people and prosperity in our destinations that's that's why we rise every morning to work and i think that has you know that that's always been a priority but you know we tend to see more the destination as a place that will you know we want the destination to be well because we want it to be sexy we want there not to be crime so people come to our hotels we want it to uh yield good labor um but ultimately um you know we have to go beyond that uh we have to make sure that that the tourism industry it's um it's it's it's and and and the good thing is that the pandemic has shown the loss of jobs has shown how how dependent many of these economies are to tourism so now we need to go the other way around we need to make sure that not only those people recover their jobs but that our industry is it's it's a it you know uh we there used to be a person to talk about the access of evil um you know we want we want our industry to be uh an axis of good you know uh of prosperity and i think that no more than ever and it needs to be at a local level we do it every day um all our all our general managers in their scorecard have you know helped the community in which they operate um and the pandemic took us you know very made that a top priority and i think that needs to be the case i need to continue and i think yes we need to work with the environment many many there's many priorities but if every hotel could take care of the community in which they operate uh for example in the hotel business there will be a substantial uh uh forward um and an improvement on that on that aspect i think you're with me that sense of that sense of co-state holdership is is very important and coordinated gordon martin um would you want to comment on this too or i'll jump in with a maybe a different indicator which would be from a traveler's perspective how long does it take for me to clear through borders and provide the necessary documentation so whether it's um you know looking at what do i have to fill in for example is it electronic is it digital can i do it then do i have to bring paper is it a certificate or test how how consistently recognized is it throughout the region does it make that makes it simpler um can i do it digitally in advance right before i even fly before i even get on the plane can i give you everything i need and do the upload and provide my identity so that you can actually allow me to move through the process very quickly those would be good indicators that we've taken a crisis and i think you know there's a recent study from mckinsey saying that the crisis has accelerated the move towards digital channels in sales and everything we do in our lives by five to ten years so is the travel sector taking advantage of this are we moving forward in a way that can put the you know make it easy for travelers to go through this process of providing what they need to provide quickly simply and consistently to all the stops along the way i don't want to sound pessimist but the good thing about having an indicator is that we can act upon that and just make uh make the changes to improve and there's a couple of things that have been touched before and one is the inequalities in latin americans specifically can talk about south america and one concern that we have is that um most of our suppliers and people people who work with are smes or just individual contractors just think about tour guides which is a person most more often than not it's a it's a woman and if there's no tourism there's no job and in most cases in small communities there's no alternative of of a job rather than tourism or being on social warfare so not having tourism is just um it's been on on either side of the poverty line in some cases some smaller communities so i think that um there's things that we can do just and and i would monitor just uh two things one is the number of tour guides back back to back on the job in time compared to what was pre-copied and the second thing is how that how can we just push for these smaller communities so in that terms i would just push for certain things that we can just change in our services is for example um increase the number of overnights in smaller destinations or site destinations compared to the bigger cities and it's not that i want just to to lose any business or anyone loses business compared to another one but if we don't need to push for these smaller contractors or these smaller enterprises we need just to help them and the way to help them is just reinvent the reinvent the the service delivery and at the same time in latin america when we go for this for this kind of thing this usually it's open places less trouble no overtourism so it's also way just to market differently so focusing on these two twin indicators kind of um all the nights in smaller destinations or side destinations and the number of tour guides or individual contractors backing having a job i think that those are the ones that we need to to tackle immediately just to solve a little bit the inequalities all the results just follow we're we're now reaching the end of of our panel so so let me let me sort of pose a question that i would ask each one of you to respond i'd ask you to do it in two three minutes max uh but obviously sort of you you've all heard about the black swans the the crises the event that no one could foresee the um materialized out of the blue um the pandemic was not a black swan it's what uh some of us call a gray rhino it's there the signs of it like climate change it's there the signs are there it was obvious that especially after h1n1 and the ebola crises that we were going to face a global pandemic at some point so so the the two questions that i wanted you to end this panel with and share with with our audience is what are some of the lessons learned from this crisis that will help uh the region and the sector uh become increasingly resilient so that it may be better prepared for a health crisis in the future and and what inspires you what inspires you going forward is as as we learn the lessons of what has happened and as you look at the sector going forward and why don't we start uh uh why don't we start with gordon and then we'll i'll we'll uh go with each one of you and wrap up okay thanks very much arturo i think when we look at the question of resilience we can see an example and i'll say not just the travel sector but broad government to citizen services um the digital route offers a ability for many people to choose a different way of interacting with government whether it's as we saw in this crisis delivery of social assistance um keeping services up and running we saw many of the governments around the world shut down their visa operations yet there are ways of doing visa applications online for example we also see i think a real opportunity here where i'll see you know small medium-sized countries can actually leapfrog we see this already happening now um you know our new parent company and trust is doing a lot of work with companies and digital identity they're working with caribbean countries for example and leapfrogging them taking them forward from the the paper-based documentation of identity for example and going forward right into digital and digital citizen cards which allow the delivery of services uh seamlessly which can continue even though offices might be closed and people are working from home and that kind of approach can also apply of course to the travel sector where the ability to simplify the life of a traveler through digital means and this is a key tenant of the safe and seamless travel journey the digital identity is a core piece of that and the ability to then deliver services through that mechanism so you know that that theme is a very strong theme in terms of continuation of service delivery and a very strong theme in terms of building resilience in the industry that i think will last for many many years thank you gordon very deep question and we don't have a lot of time um i think i'm gonna go back to my initial message i think this was a big dose of humility and vulnerability uh from a personal level i spent two weeks attached to a mechanic ventilator and i almost died because of kobit um and i think you know so so i can attest from a personal and professional level that's been very hard and and and this dose of humility and vulnerability was key to getting us to basically to to have uh these type of events in a rear-end mirror before copied we're concerned with how many hotels where we're gonna grow and how many more points of evita could we get from the hotel this made us go to the basics and put health and safety first which we did always kind of conceptually but never in practice and that's that's great the other thing is the sense of purpose um everybody that worked in our company had their worst economic year on 2020 people made the least amount of money in bonuses tips and throughout we did discounts on salaries etc yet at the same time we had the highest employee satisfaction results that we've ever had and that's because we made sure that people knew the purpose behind what we were doing and i think as an industry that created the purpose of lifting communities out of poverty as martin said in our region uh being employed versus being unemployed is the difference between being poor or rich and this is a different and being rich be not not rich but being poor or not being poor being below poverty line and i think being below or above poverty line uh some there's been some statistics that will buy you 10 to 15 years of life so it's very important and i think that connecting with the purpose has been key um and also the leapfrog concept that gordon mentioned i mean there's many things that we never thought we could do remote remotely that we can but also we learned that there's no substitute to person to person touch and i think those are two um great lessons that there's a lot that we can do remotely but also there's things that we cannot do remotely and and that's great for industry and great for us thanks hugo i'm i'm getting i'm getting yanked with the proverbial um hook from the side of the of the stage martin martinez in in one word um what what gives you hope uh and in terms of resilience going forward very quickly because they're they're flashing my red light here sure um i don't want to repeat what my colleagues already said but i think i would go back to one thing is we learn that we have to make take all decisions based on data it's not a social mood it's not a political mode it's what data tells us to do we saw that by stopping mobility everything went upside down and it was not based on data it was just based on the social mode that politicians were just looking at or of fear rather than or we can say and the other thing is and this is part of the humility that uh who was talking about is as as on a sea level position we think we are superman that we need to just solve every single problem worldwide and in the end it's uh after 13 months of this very stressful situation all of us pass through many many tough things and i think there's one thing that we need to always think about is we could never have done it with our staff who is backing our shoulders and as allah said their salaries were reduced the money was reduced their income was reduced but they never lost hope lock spirit and they are always backing us just to continue going forward and that's also what makes me at least wake up every morning saying okay let's try another thing again that's let's go for it and i think that's another key we're gonna have to wrap this up but um i i think you will concur that this has been a riveting conversation i think uh our four panelists liane will gordon and martin have been extremely thoughtful in their engagement with us this morning i want to thank all of them for for joining us and i want to thank you for for for watching this uh this very important panel for the region and for the tourism sector in latin america and the caribbean thank you you

2021-04-28 17:55

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