Reviving tourism amid crisis

In current times, some countries are slowly opening out for international tourists with health and safety standards in place. The tourism boards are now working on plans to ensure that the right message is sent out to the travellers which will help them regain their trust and confidence. Key speakers representing Germany, Spain and Thailand discussed the new rebranding and repositioning policies in the second session of  Digital Conclave II.

At a time when the industry is trying its best to bounce back, one of the key elements necessary is to communicate to the travellers the efforts and hard work that have been put in by the relevant authorities to ensure a safe destination. Every tourism board has been implementing their own standards as regulated by the government authorities.

Communicating with the industry and customers

Yamina Sofo, Director – Sales & Marketing, German National Tourist Office, Gulf countries

“It is important to communicate with each other, to share opinions and share ideas and to see how we altogether pull on one string to get us all out of this crisis. It affected the tourism industry as one of the first and hardest hit, every destination has felt the impact of the crisis. Germany has done a tremendous job in handling the crisis, based on our research, feedback and surveys we are on a high ranking of our standards. Over the last few weeks our partners in the industry have implemented the necessary hygiene, distance rules, they have updated and upgraded their products according to the new standards so the destination itself is very well prepared now to welcome back tourists from all over the world.”

Pichaya Saisaengchan, Director of Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Dubai & The Middle East Office

“The COVID situation disrupted the tourism industry but what we are doing now along with our partners is to ensure that we can bounce back with necessary precautionary measures. The tourism industry is adjusting to a set of new norms as travel restrictions start to ease. Health control requirements will become just as necessary as long-standing security protocols, with hygiene becoming a major factor.”

Daniel Rosado Bayon, Director of the Spanish Tourism Office in Abu Dhabi

“What we can see today is that the industry is experiencing constant changes, as the situation  and circumstances are evolving constantly and that allows us to be more flexible and change the approach to the reality we are living. As the customer priority shifts we must change with them. We must adapt to the demands like trust and confidence at this point of time.  These are the ingredients for recovery. We must make our destination secure and safe and we must communicate it to our customers. When the customers see that the destination is safe again, they will regain trust and confidence and we will start to see recovery. So, what Spain has done in these last few weeks is that we are open to some countries since July 1, some European countries but GCC will not be able to travel, however we will see them soon. We keep communicating that we are a safe destination to travel.”

Keeping the industry updated

Sofo recommended that they have the regular updates and the B2B partners need to check them as often as possible and in terms of the tourist office in the Gulf, they too will be sharing the necessary information. “We have updates every two weeks and want the industry professionals to keep checking for the latest updates.” She went on to state the many safety measures that they will be communicating with their B2B partners. Currently the main concern is to ensure that the whole traveller journey is safe and the standards are maintained so as a tourism office, this is the work that is carried out by sending out the message, communicating safety measures that they have taken.

Saisaengchan stated that the GCC expat market is very important for them and constitutes between 25-30 per cent of travellers from the GCC, which they are continuously developing with their industry partners. On a regular basis they inform the many standards of safety not just of the hotels and destinations but also of the attractions. Rosado said, “People want to travel to have fun, relax and have a good time, now all that is possible. Now when we go on a holiday we have to wear masks and follow the rules implemented by the destination that you will visit. Spain has implemented 21 guidelines for tourists which will ensure their safety and security. We have to adapt to them.”

Visa regulations

Saisaengchan shared, “At the moment, travel entry into Thailand is restricted to 11 traveller types such as business travellers, government diplomats, and travellers who require medical treatment in Thailand. Visa requiremevnts remain the same, however visitors who fall under the approved traveller category require a health certificate clarifying no risk of COVID-19 and issued no more than 72 hours before travelling, as well as a health insurance policy with COVID-19 coverage. Travel updates can be found on tatnews.org.” In terms of the Schengen visa the regulations will be conveyed by the EU stated Sofo and Rosado.

 

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