With Europe’s airlines facing their worst ever crisis, a new project which aims to kickstart the continent’s coronavirus-devastated tourist sector is set for take-off later this month.
The COVID-19 pandemic has turned the world upside down – not only the tourism sector but the economy as a whole has come to a standstill.
The first quarter of 2020 has seen a drop of 67 million international arrivals, which represents a loss of US$ 80 billion for the tourism industry. The drop has been felt like a domino-effect across the world: airlines, tour operators, hotels, restaurants, many of which might be on the brink of bankruptcy.
Most agree it is a catastrophic scenario including a widespread emergency of companies going out of business.
That is where “Travel Tomorrow” comes in, with the stated aim of promoting sustainable tourism in the post-coronavirus travel era.
It will launch on 16 June and is the brainchild of António Buscardini who says he wants to cultivate what he calls a “new model of tourism.”
“Sustainability is key for the tourism of tomorrow. Conservation of biodiversity, respect for the socio-cultural authenticity of host communities, securing social welfare and economic prosperity of host communities, and sustainable use of environmental resources need to be the pillars of the a new post-covid model of tourism,” explains Buscardini.
The Brussels-based Buscardini says, “This crisis is an opportunity to place stronger emphasis on tourism strategies to coordinate action across all stakeholders. Integrating a circular economy model in the complete tourism value chain, involving producers, distributors, consumers, and environmental protection agencies is crucial. The transition to resource-efficient and low carbon tourism operation is necessary, while keeping a strong focus on resilience and competitiveness of the sector.”
He adds, “We want to inspire travellers to rediscover the world, to share information on government tourism measures and recommendations, new health and travel advisories and other relevant information on travel and tourism.”
He says the new project “wants to give voice” to every stakeholder in the tourism industry who has been affected by the COVID-19 travel restrictions.
These range from everything from airlines, tour operators, hotels and museums to cultural and historical sites, restaurants and even coffee-shop owners.
“We want to show how they have been impacted,” he says, adding, “and how they are responding and what they will do differently.”
For those who have been subject to lockdown for many weeks and are now dreaming of distant climes, he says, “We want our audience to dream again. We want to stimulate their senses, to awake their imagination.
“Travel Tomorrow will be the ‘guide’ to discover cultural treasures, ancient traditions, diverse gastronomy and lifestyles, breath-taking landscapes, and all the world has to offer. We aim to trigger their appetite for big cities and towns alike and want to surprise our audience with new angles of destinations that were supposed to be known,” he added.
The Portuguese-born Buscardini went on, “We believe that exchange and dialogue between cultures are an integral part of our DNA and that connecting this culturally-diverse world leads to a brighter future for everyone. A global community based on sustainable and responsible tourism.”
“I believe there has to be a substantial change – a new lens to see the world through. Society needs to learn from this pandemic, the tough and important lessons the crisis has delivered to our lives.”