The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented crisis on a global scale. Having to navigate through unpredictability has created an element of fear and anxiety in the travel and tourism industry, which has been hard hit by the pandemic. Today, there is a knee jerk reaction to reach out towards the red telephone in times of crisis, says Arijit Munshi, General Manager of Tune Protect EMEIA.
As the world kickstarts the supply chains of travel and tourism, there will be new health and safety protocols implemented, which means that businesses shall operate at restricted capacity. It will also require some time before demands recover as consumers and travellers are more cautious in making travel plans given that the fight against the pandemic is still ongoing. Consumers’ trust and confidence will need to be re-built as it will influence their travel behaviour and decisions. Travelling in general will gradually recover when all the risk management measures are put in place by the relevant stakeholders in the travel and tourism sector to ensure safe travel.
What’s the next step for the travel industry to manage risk?
From a business risk perspective, there are numerous commercial solutions that can help cushion the impact in the event of any unforeseen circumstances that could happen whilst running businesses. Under typical situations, most organisations would have already thought and incorporated some of these solutions as part of their risk management measures to protect their businesses.
Travellers protection or the red telephone?
To further mitigate risk, the next collective step would be to ensure that we have the travellers protected when they are travelling. By facilitating a comprehensive travel protection product into their travel plans, travellers will enjoy peace of mind against unforeseen incidents during their travel, as we have witnessed in the last six months. It will also help in spreading the pressure points and not just limiting it to the service providers within the travel industry. As travellers get to enjoy peace of mind before, during and after their travels, the travel industry professionals indirectly extend protection on the services they provide. We all definitely need to step up to ensure we educate the travellers so that they understand the importance of travel protection.
The immediate future – avoiding the red telephone
As we restart our respective travel businesses, we should ask ourselves, do we scale back to where it was before, or do we rebuild it to be better in the new norm? Wherever the road leads us, we need to move forward with hope and courage, and lean back on our time-tested values in making the right decisions to cope in these uncertain times.
Most importantly, we must start restructuring and rebuilding for a new norm in the travel and tourism sector to grow from here and not just survive. We need to extend travel protection as an industry norm so that there is no need to reach out to the red telephone again.