Dubai has hosted one of the first in-person travel industry events since the pandemic began. The Arabian Travel Market had over 11 000 attendees who were keen to highlight that the industry is ready to recover from the impact of COVID-19 as soon as borders reopen.
In 2020, the size of the global travel and tourism market declined to 1.27 trillion euros. However, it is forecast to rise in 2021 to 1.4 trillion euros.
Claude Blanc, World Travel Market Portfolio Director, told Euronews that there was an appetite in the industry for the event. "The essence of tourism is face to face, is the connection, personal and professional", he adds.
It's been a tough 18 months for the industry, with many hotels weathering the storm by targeting the domestic market. But as vaccine passports gain momentum, the world is opening back up.
Issam Kazim, CEO of Dubai Tourism, said they are the future of travel post-pandemic.
“I think going forward, again, the more countries get vaccinated, more individuals get vaccinated. There are talks about vaccination passport or the antibodies passport, whatever it is that people will start looking at as the digitisation of that, to be able to say, I've got it, I received it.”
Greece, Portugal and Italy are amongst some of the European countries slowly reopening to tourists. They have been boosted by news that the EU plans to have its digital COVID-19 certificate operational by July 1st, 2021.
Italy lost 121 billion euros in 2020 due to travel and tourism restrictions, but visitors have started to return with popular destinations like Venice and Rome reporting an increase in visitor numbers.