By Frank Martin
No expert opposes the concept that future is crucial for the global tourism industry when Covid-19 epidemic starting to recede.
An upcoming summit in Barcelona, Spain will try to set the tone in that regard.
That is the main goal of The Future of Tourism World Summit of which the United Nation World Tourism Organization will be co-organizer.
The meeting in the beautiful and touristic Barcelona city on October 26 and 27 by hybrid assistance is considered already by experts from all over the world as an appointment with great future.
It is not a casual statement. Really this summit in a current and crucial global moment it is a hope that could dissipate big doubts perhaps never felt in this universal sector.
A call published on Internet by the organizers stated that Coronavirus pandemic “has been absolutely disruptive and has changed the economic, social and political panorama” not only of tourist branch but also of humanity.
Only at the global economic level the World Bank predicts a fall in GDP of more than 5.2%, the largest since the 1945 post-war.
The economy decline is indeed affecting all nations and within these mainly the service industry of which tourism is part and driver.
These are real data that scream a crude reality: It is absolutely essential to envision the future in order to find a way to go.
The summit will not develop it analyzes only around Spain, the host country.
A global debate has been proposed on how tourism can support the entire planet prosper in a sustainable and inclusive way.
According to the UNWTO Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili, it will be “an opportunity to rethink the development of tourism”.
Pololikashvili predicted an immediate search for “fairer distribution “of benefits in the sector, advancing in the transition towards a more socially resilient neutral environment.”
Experts stress that it is about finding the way to restore a more agile and effective tourism economy that will overcome the powerful obstacles imposed by the pandemic situation.
Some of the topics on the summit agenda are sustainability, cultural identities, accessible tourism, wine tourism and personalized travel experiences, among other issues.
Invitations have been extended to tourism ministers from around the world and former heads of state and government.
International organizations, business associations and global knowledge networks will be represented, among them, in addition to the UNWTO, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the European Commission (EC).
The worldwide tourism industry situation is so complicated that it is difficult to predict the outcome of the summit.
The skein before the participants remains tangled by the Covid-19 epidemic.
However, the universal conviction prevails about an innovative collaborative system will have to be developed.
Only global cooperation could turn the crisis into an opportunity for shared progress to reactivate tourism.
It was announced that the meeting will establish a Barcelona Declaration, which can serve as an international reference for a new, more ethical and sustainable tourism model.
It seems the only possible way to go.