Since the covid-19 outbreak, which have been declared as a pandemic by WHO, we cannot ignore its inevitable impacts in any industries and sectors worldwide. Hospitality industries are among those have been feeling the hardest hit. We are aware of this impact and as a form of our real knowledge contribution, we decided to invite Assoc. Prof. Dr.Vinay Chamoli, from Maharaja Agrasen University, India, to provide us as global researchers with rich insights and analysis in Research Synergy Foundation webinars by the theme: Covid-19: Revival of Tourism and Hospitality Industry. The webinars was held on Wednesday, 8 July 2020 using Zoom as a platform
This event has more than 160 participants that has been registered from 11 countries around the world, such as Indonesia, India, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Nepal, Morocco, Myanmar, Nigeria, Canada, Afghanistan. In the opening session, webinars started by a brief introduction regarding Research Synergy Foundation as a global research ecosystem by Mrs Santi Rachmawati. The event then continued with a presentation session from the speaker Assoc. Prof. Dr.Vinay Chamoli which was moderated by Mrs. Ani Wahyu.
Dr. Vinay started his lecture by presenting an overview about tourism and hospitality industry in every regions. In terms of international tourism spending, China remains the world largest spender, followed by the United States. With a variety of reasons for travel, airplane is still the most widely used transportation by tourists. In 2019, tourism industry –mainly from a leisure industry- has contributed a lot to the total GDP worldwide. It reached 4,715 billion U.S. dollars in 2019 from global leisure tourism spending. The first position of the world’s major connection hub for international flights is Dubai International Airport, with over 86.3 million international passengers uplifted in 2019. While in terms of revenue, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Continental Holdings are in the top position.
As for some of the impact of Covid-19 on this industry, Dr. Vinay explained in his several analysis. The first major impact of Covid-19 on tourism and hospitality industry was job and visitor loss. Covid-19 may not be the 1st infectious disease that the world faces, but this virus has forced hospitality industries to reimagine how they run their business. Almost all international travels are banned. Many countries and regions have imposed quarantines, so as the workers and visitors who are the core of the industry. Airlines sector, global hotel market, as well as restaurants are suffering a huge loss, and thus revenue decreasing cannot be avoided. Some hotels have even turned into quarantine places. This happens in some Asian countries, like India and Indonesia. People will fear to travel within such condition, so psychological problems with travelers will persist afterwards.
However, the Covid-19 does not mean to be a ‘case judge’ who decided that this industry seems unable to survive and there will be no choice at all. The industry still has a chance to be able to survive by applying a Global Protocol for the New Normal as a ‘Safe Travels’ standard conducted by World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). It includes:
- Operational and staff preparedness:
All tourism and hospitality industries must plan to start the operation based on Global Protocol standard. They must know and adopt WHO standard of cleanliness, food concerns, room services, and etc for the employees and tourists safety.
- Ensuring a safe experience
Enhance sanitation based on WHO standard and discipline in practicing physical distancing. For example in the restaurant, regulations such as a menu and bills are transferred to the visitor’s phone to avoid physical contact.
- Rebuilding Trust and Confidence
Building customer trust with applying ‘perform and inform’ that it is safe to travel with them and use their facilities.
- Implementing Enabling Policies
New policies has to be implemented as a recovery efforts for various losses, like adding a new job and enhance promotion.
- Clinically Clean is the New Level
We must be accustomed to applying an improved standard of our clean habits.
Before ending his presentation, Dr. Vinay displayed a video advertisement of one of U.S. Airlines which contains a message, ‘We are ready for you when you’re ready to fly’. He also quoted Paulo Coelho, ’The ship is safest when it is port, but that’s not what ships were built for’. The slogan seemed meaningful to strengthen each other and build readiness to go back to a normal condition together.
In this lecture, there was an interactive discussion with the participants, here we summarize some interesting questions along with the answers:
- Abderrahim Naim (Sultan Moulay Simane University, Morocco)
Q: How can tourist structure be able to revive their economy? And with what strategy?
A: Tourism sector still can run, as government has opened several potential sectors, but they have to ensure they must follow the guidelines to ensure safe travel, all employees must be trained well-enough how to maintain safety health standard
- Eva (Bogor Agricultural University, Indonesia)
Q: Are there any difference for tourism industry at urban and rural area (particularly community based industry), related to the effort to revitalized the industry?
A: We can call that rural areas are the unexplored areas. Due to the psychological effects as the impact of covid-19, there will be a possibility for some peoples –especially urban people- will love to go to safe and less crowded places like rural areas. So, rural areas will be developed and it will help to increase the economic potential for the residents. People can still survive their own industry in urban and rural areas by applying the new normal and health protocol standards.
- Prof. Revelina (Philippines)
Q: How government, academicians, and citizens help awaken the tourism industry?
A: By moving to organize any online classes or webinars, government, academicians and citizens still can make a meaningful impact. Like me, I still keep in touch with my students, one of them is the chef and his hotel is shut down. But he can still survive with his job, by managing community kitchen, host a party in their home, and as a chef he can go to customer’s house and served a good food for them. I always say that ‘human is not the strongest, it is dinosaurs, but it cannot survive, and human is the smartest, so they can manage to survive and keep supporting each other’.
- Retno Budi Wahyuni (Indonesia)
Q: What is the most important part to be the 1st priority of recovery caused by covid19?
A: Being creative in any areas, people should protect their interest, planning any activities in any areas with a new standard, get rid a negative side of this pandemic, growing a self-belief that we can pass this condition together.
How insightful the discussion was, and many more questions to ask from the participants. The webinars has closed successfully and we look forward to your participation in RSF next events.