Big Ideas

3 Major Challenges Facing Travel and Tourism

At the IMEX Policy Forum 2018, World Tourism and Travel Council president and CEO Gloria Guevara Manzo identified three major issues concerning the travel and tourism community.

Highlights of the IMEX Policy Forum 2018 — formerly known as the Politicians Forum — held May 15 in Frankfurt, Germany, have recently been published in a special reportThe program for this year’s Policy Forum was comprised of four parts: a discussion group of national-level government representatives addressing policy issues relevant to the events industry; a discussion workshop for local and regional government representatives to explore the evolution of cities vis a vis the business events industry; an open forum featuring a panel of industry leaders who addressed current concerns, initiatives, and issues raised by government representatives; and an opening presentation by Gloria Guevara Manzo, president and CEO of the World Tourism and Travel Council (WTTC).

Guevara Manzo highlighted WTTC members’ greatest concerns for the travel and tourism sector, based on a recent survey:

1. Security and Safety 

This, Manzo reported, is an issue 78 percent of members identified as being of high importance. “Travel and tourism has great potential for growth, with potential for millions of jobs to be created in G20 countries,” the report on the forum summarized, “if industry organizations work collectively with governments to minimize repetitive identity and document checking” Manzo cited an increased use of biometrics as a potential solution to this issue.

2. Crisis Preparation 

This was identified as a key issue by 72 percent of WTTC members. “The increasing and widespread occurrence of a range of crises is a critical inhibitor of travel,” notes the report. “This is no longer limited to a few high-risk destinations but is a matter of ‘not if but when’ for destinations worldwide.”

3. Sustainability 

Sixty-seven percent of WTTC members identified this as an important issue in the tourism and travel sector. “There is a need for a PPC (private, public, community) approach,” the report summarized. “Communities needed to be supportive of industry development. Issues around the future of work are an important new concern in community relations, with employment being vulnerable to new technology and trends. If the meetings industry is to attract more attention from politicians, it needs to talk more about employment.”

Casey Gale

Casey Gale is associate editor of Convene.