During the pandemic, we've all dreamt of travelling again, whether it be around the world or just to the unknown and unexplored corners of one's own country?
The International Tourism Trade Fair, which took place from the 19th to the 23rd of May in Madrid, was packed with hopeful proposals to whet anyone's appetite for travel.
For the first time since the pandemic hit, 5000 professionals from 55 countries came together again face to face for this event. All of them full of ways to take on tourism and help the sector recover. Sustainability, diversification and security were high on the agenda.
Building back confidence
Confidence in travel is rising. Health safety protocols, vaccination and the lifting of restrictions are allowing Spain, like many other European countries, to bring back visitors. Miguel Sanz, the General Director of Turespaña was at the fair. He tells Euronews that it's essential that the sector helps people feel comfortable to travel again. He says to us that "travelling is safe, it's an activity that has always been related to personal growth, we cannot let this pandemic link it to negative things". He wants travel to continue to be about dreaming, aspirational experiences and improving our perception of the world.
Spain's touristic appeal is vast. The Valencia region is just one of the rich areas to discover. Diversifying what's on offer there and exciting visitors are how its tourism sector is looking to recover.
Francesc Colomer is the Regional Secretary for Tourism in the region of Valencia. He describes how travelling or going on holiday changes your perception of life for a little while. According to him, during those holidays, you experience a "different emotional quality" and that's where the region of Valencia wants to place itself in post-covid travel. "People need an emotional rebound and it's in that area that we want to continue to connect with people", he adds.
For all those looking for some escapism, the region also has sun, beaches, music, festivals, nature, hiking and cycling.
On top of that, this summer vaccinated tourists will be able to enjoy its breath-taking landscapes without having to quarantine or take COVID tests.
Latin American reopens
For adventures further afield, Peru is also a must-see destination. To Claudia Cornejo, the Minister of Foreign Trade and Tourism in Peru, the interaction between local communities and visitors is crucial to modern travel.
She tells us that the pandemic has changed us and the way we will travel. "We are going to rediscover the world with new and different experiences and we're going to be able to see what unites us". To her, that's the beautiful thing to travel.
Like many countries, Peru has put in place protocols and quality assurance guarantees so people can safely visit its cultural and natural heritage sites. The country is also hoping to recover 15% of its tourism this year.
After a difficult year, Guatemala is also opening its doors. Visitors can once again enjoy its green, cultural and archaeological heritage. In Guatemala, the tourism sector is focusing on biosafety, social distancing and health protocols. Mynor Cordón, the country's minister of tourism, says he hopes visitors can do that "whilst enjoying the open air and the greenery of Guatemala".
The pandemic has undoubtedly shaped global tourism. The industry has understood that tourists are looking for sustainable, more diverse and emotionally connected destinations.