Barrhead Travel president Jacqueline Dobson says industry must look after partners during coronavirus crisis
We are undoubtedly facing one of the most challenging situations that our beloved travel industry has ever experienced. The colossal impact that Covid-19 has had on our global industry is hard to put into words and I do think there will be a long road to complete recovery, requiring co-operation, collaboration and communication across all areas of the industry.
In previous columns, I’ve commented on the aftermath of crises and how the coming together of businesses and people has pulled us through the most challenging of times. While those words seem like a long time ago now, I maintain that inter‑industry collaboration will be the key to recovery during this unprecedented global crisis.
Tourism, which makes up around 10% of global GDP, has an impact on so many more lives and livelihoods than we possibly realise. Aside from the millions of jobs which stem directly from global tourism, millions more are indirectly impacted. You only have to look at the eerie footage from tourist hotspots – from Times Square to the Taj Mahal – to realise that the stark emptiness of these usually busy places will impact the smallest of businesses.
From the New York shopkeepers selling merchandise to the chaiwala pouring your tea before you tour the Taj Mahal in Agra, there are so many people who contribute to the tourism experience that are in danger of being the forgotten collateral.
Among industry peers and colleagues, we have been referring to the ‘bounce-back’ period for travel. While we can’t say when that will be, we are all certain that it will come. Like many travel businesses, the team at Barrhead Travel will be preparing for when the world is ready to open again.
We’ll be carefully curating impactful imagery, editing vibrant videography, drafting meaningful messages and, of course, ensuring our customers know we’re ready to help them at any time.
At the heart of our marketing preparations for the inevitable bounce-back will be our tourism partners around the world. Our partners have given us incredible support during these last few weeks despite facing the most difficult of circumstances for their own businesses. We will be doing everything we can to engage customers with the incredible experiences our partners help us curate.
Many holidaymakers already know the value of a good travel agent, but during the bounce‑back we need to do more. We need to ensure we showcase the entirety of a destination and the experiences it offers – not just for the enjoyment of our customers but to help those small businesses at the end of the chain who are wholly reliant on thriving tourism.
Even more so than ever before, we need to support one another in this industry and stand up for every single part of the global tourism and hyperlocal tourism markets. The travel industry is resilient – and so are travellers. In the meantime, we must demonstrate our key industry traits – adaptability and resilience – to get through this challenging period and prepare ourselves for the world opening back up for business.
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