On may 29, Shao Qiwei, Vice Chairman of the International Mountain Tourism Alliance(IMTA) has delivered a keynote speech entitled "Thoughts on the Recovery of Global Mountain Tourism after the COVID -19 Pandemic"at the 2020 International Mountain Tourism Day Online Forum.
In his speech, Mr.Shao Qiwei shared some thoughts on the recovery of global mountain tourism after the pandemic. He believed that people’s outlook on safety, health and tourism could be remodeled after the pandemic, which means there should be higher requirements for tourism. COVID-19 has disclosed some problems occurring in tourism development, alerting tourism-related agencies that they should use a more scientific concept to plan and manage tourism, so as to facilitate the recovery of post-pandemic global tourism, including mountain tourism. On behalf of IMTA, he called on governments to formulate tourism rejuvenation schemes in a timely manner and provide preferential loans, tax breaks, airfare discounts, consumption reductions and exemptions and other preferential measures to alleviate the difficulties confronting mountain tourism, so as to drive the post-COVID-19 economies and make tourism keeping play a part in international poverty reduction.
He also put forward four thoughts on the Recovery of Global Mountain Tourism
after the COVID -19 Pandemic:
First, safety underpins the development of tourism.
Second, we should reflect on the deficiency in the development of tourism including mountain tourism.
Third, give full play to the important role of modern science and technology in resuming and accelerating mountain tourism.
Fourth, it is recommended that tourism be opened in a gradual and orderly manner on the premise of safety.
The following is the full text of the speech:
Colleagues from the tourism industry, members of the IMTA and dear friends online, Good morning!
Today marks the second International Mountain Tourism Day. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic we celebrate the special day here by holding this online forum. I want to take this opportunity to share some of my views with you on the topic of the post-pandemic resumption and development of the global mountain tourism.
The unexpected COVID-19 pandemic has exerted tremendous impact on the global tourism industry mountain tourism included. I want to share with you the following two sets of data. Given the uncertainty of the pandemic and the fact that virus is still raging in many places, the data listed might not be very accurate. As is predicted by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) if borders are opened and travel restrictions relaxed in early July this year, international tourist arrivals worldwide in total will decline by 58% year-on-year; if gradually opened in early December this year, the number will decline by 78% year-on-year. In other words, the total number of global international tourist arrivals will see a year-on-year plunge in 2020 ranging from a decrease of 850 million to 1.1 billion based on the duration of the restrictive measures. The international tourism revenue will evaporate 910 billion to 1.2 trillion US dollars, threatening 100 million to 120 million jobs related to tourism. If this is the case, it will be the worst crisis the global tourism industry has ever experienced since its inception in 1950. UNWTO statistics show that mountain tourism accounts for about 20% of global tourism. Accordingly the loss suffered by global mountain tourism is estimated to take up about 20% of that of global tourism.
The "Research Report on Tourism Demand Trends under the COVID-19 Pandemic" jointly released by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and Tencent shows that 79% of the respondents have a positive attitude towards post-pandemic tourism; The overall tourism motivation has increased by 4% compared with that of last year; in terms of touring preferences tourists who value "hygiene and health" have increased significantly accounting for 79.1%.
The above two sets of data prove at least two aspects. On the one hand the impact of the pandemic on the tourism industry is unprecedented. On the other hand no matter how the global trend evolves people are still willing to travel. The post-pandemic world is reshaping the concept of safety, health, and tourism. People have put forward newer and higher requirements for tourism including better public hygiene, itinerary safety, emergency measures, and travel insurance. Therefore, we must adopt novel perspectives and concepts to examine and study the post-pandemic recovery and development of the tourism industry, including the mountain tourism. This pandemic motivates us to pay more attention to using scientific concepts and methods to locate, plan, manage and promote the rapid recovery as well as sustainable and sound development of the tourism industry.
Next I want to share with you some of my perspectives.
First, safety underpins the development of tourism. “There is no travel without safety”. This pandemic not only hit hard the tourism industry but also exposed the shortcomings in the prevention awareness and management methods of public health security emergencies. So we should think about how to further strengthen the safety of public hygiene public health and public transportation of tourism, effectively prevent and respond to various safety emergencies and strive to integrate prevention and control awareness, crisis management, and security protection into tourism including all aspects of the mountain tourism management system. The globally raging pandemic has not only sounded the alarm for us but also demanded us to formulate effective crisis management methods to minimize the risk and loss in the face of such non-traditional security emergencies.
Second, we should reflect on the deficiency in the development of tourism including mountain tourism. Besides hitting the tourism industry the pandemic also checks the tourism industry. In the past, we tended to focus more attention on tourism planning, format construction, marketing and data growth in particular. But this pandemic warns us to ponder over what we have ignored when accelerating the development of tourism, how to improve our institutional mechanisms, laws and regulations and how to reform our products, services, markets and development. These I think should be thought over. We should establish a more complete system and mechanism in areas including top-level layout, laws and regulations, planning and design, marketing strategies, insurance systems, and personnel training, as well as the design and construction of tourism equipment facilities. In this way the tourism and relative industry management departments, working institutions, enterprises and employees can work together to enhance the anti-risk capabilities of the tourism with vision, empower and energize the industry and demonstrate strength.
Third, give full play to the important role of modern science and technology in resuming and accelerating mountain tourism. Making good use of the modern scientific and technological achievements can help us get twice the result with half the effort. This is fully reflected during the pandemic when people have their basic life needs met by turning to online shopping and services and get their spiritual demands, satisfied by enjoying live streaming "cloud touring" of natural scenery and museums. Paying more attention to the application of modern scientific and technological achievements is the only way for the post-pandemic tourism industry, including mountain tourism to step out of the predicament and seek further development. From the planning and design of scenic spots, accommodation and touring facilities, through product experience, customer service to operation supervision, all should be comprehensively integrated with modern technologies represented by "Internet +" “Artificial Intelligence”, and 5G applications. For example, using big data technology to release timely information on the health and safety situation of the destination, and dynamic passenger flow, to provide safer, more convenient and targeted services to tourists. What's more, the technology of online booking and transaction by integrating tourism resources helps realize traveling without direct contact. At present, many travel destinations have introduced smart travel platforms such as the "Touring Around Guizhou with One Code" launched in Guizhou which is a good attempt to empower tourism with technology.
Fourth, it is recommended that tourism be opened in a gradual and orderly manner on the premise of safety. This outbreak brought great losses to many tourism enterprises, which have made huge sacrifices in fighting the virus and reducing damages. We express our sincere admiration and respect to them. At the same time, what needs to be studied is how to coordinate the regular epidemic prevention and control with the development of the tourism; seek work resumption in a stable manner; provide assistance for the tourism industry to stabilize the employment, maintain people’s well-being, promote consumption, stimulate the market, ans stabilize the growth and virtuous cycle. At present, many countries and regions are actively making beneficial attempts to energize tourism. Based on the major strategic achievements in the epidemic prevention and control after arduous efforts made by the Chinese government and Chinese people, provincial tours, city tours, short-distance tours, and peripheral tours are gradually opened up. The tourism market of China is on the way to recovery and is expected to get out of the valley soon. The EU is considering opening borders between member states and restoring tourism and personnel exchanges with restrictions. The attempts of countries and regions show that it is feasible to gradually open up tourism with guaranteed safety and health of the people. However, how to open up the tourism in an orderly and effective manner entails further discussion and exploration. We call on governments to take prompt actions to formulate tourism promotion programs. Many international mountain tourism regions still feature poor population with low-income. We appeal to the government for preferential loans, tax reductions, flight discounts, and consumption discounts to help mountain tourism development overcome difficulties, drive the post-pandemic economic development of different countries and enable the tourism industry to make further contributions to the international poverty reduction cause.
The international community shall strengthen cooperation, carry out exchanges on useful practice and make joint efforts to get the tourism industry back on track.
The above perspectives of mine I just raise questions on this topic and to address them needs discussion and wisdom of all parties concerned.