Europe travel – no return to ‘normal’

People will become more concerned and aware and will search for more responsible travel practices, concluded the Bled Strategic Forum on “The Future of European Tourism” held in Slovenia this month.  It predicts travel will become more inclusive and smaller communities will play a bigger role.

Adaptability and re-set of the travel industry might be just the most important skills in the ‘new’ normality.  And as medical and health tourism tend to follow the patterns of mainstream tourism so destinations and business must adapt to the new environment and what they offer.

Despite the difficult situation, optimistic forecasts of key international tourism institutions are on the rise.  The Tourism Panel’s key conclusions were:

  • Tourists’ confidence in travel needs to be rebuilt.
  • Travel protocols and communication and coordination between EU countries concerning travel restrictions, COVID tests and quarantine rules need to be improved.
  • A roadmap for sustainable transition is necessary.
  • New performance indicators are needed.
  • Digital transformation of the tourism industry needs to be supported and promoted.
  • Investments and EU funding allocation towards sustainability and digitalisation of the tourism industry is required.
  • The role of tourism at the EU level needs to be rethought.
  • Destination management organisations must transition in their role to actively facilitate the industry transition process to green, inclusive and digital needs to be supported.

To transform tourism and travel into a more environmentally and socially sustainable, climate smart, resilient as well as fair industry, across its supply chain, everyone needs to reassess and define new success metrics.

Covid-19 has brought a significant change in the lifestyle of hundreds of millions of people across the globe and travel priorities have changed radically.  All need to adapt to capture the opportunities in this new industry landscape and to address the new consumer expectations.