The need for optimism
Looking to the future, Tollman would like to see the industry recover as the WTTC forecasts that over 100 million jobs (a decline of 31%) will be lost in Travel and Tourism this year, along with 2.7 trillion US dollars in GDP (a decline of 30%).
“We have all learned that our world needs our industry, and we need a healthy prosperous industry at all levels and across all sectors,” he says. “Hopefully, during this protracted period of shutdown, of all of our respective businesses and each of us on an individual level have also learned powerful lessons and are inspired to lead companies into the future in a somewhat different but meaningful manner. We do need to be more inclusive and diverse, we need to find ways to reduce our footprints, and become carbon neutral as soon as we realistically can.”
Meanwhile, the changes Mondor would like to see include the increased emphasis by governments on prioritizing investments in helping address the labour market challenges in the sector.
“Within the months of March and April, more than 880,000 workers were displaced due to COVID, with only a modest recovery of 83,900 workers in May. Current projections indicate that as many as 600,000 of these workers will not gain back their jobs in the sector for some time — perhaps as much as two years,” he says. “The displaced workers and challenges in reviving a workforce to meet new demands will take resources dedicated to planning, policy change, re-training investments and more. Because the sector is one of Canada’s most important economic driver and job creator in non-urban communities, revival of its workforce is synonymous with economic recovery.”
As terrible as this pandemic and the fallout has been and will be, Stowell stresses that it marks the opportunity to break the mould of how tourism was.
“May we choose wisely our future,” he says.