Six ways Travel & Tourism can embrace the future

Themes from the WTTC Global Summit 2016 in Dallas, Texas

As the 600 leaders from global Travel & Tourism’s public and private sectors depart Dallas, Texas and the 16th WTTC Global Summit, we are left with a strong message for the future. It is time for Travel & Tourism to look beyond the boundaries of its own businesses, destinations, and operations and show a broader leadership, as befits an industry sector that is responsible for nearly 10% of the world’s GDP.

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Summit host Nick Ross welcoming the WTTC Global Summit delegates.

‘Travel Beyond Boundaries’ brought together senior US government officials, the Secretary General of the World Tourism Organization, industry CEOs and internationally recognised thought leaders in the fields of global mega-trends, security, finance, and technology. After 12 hours of conference discussions, with 70 speakers and 11 panel sessions, the themes emerging were clear:

1. Climate change, terrorism, pandemics and cybercrime know no boundaries. In order to operate effectively in an interdependent world that is becoming ever more connected and inter-reliant, our sector requires leadership that looks beyond the normal boundaries of business. Travel & Tourism needs to assert itself as a relevant and effective part of the solution to global challenges.

2. Global security and terrorism is the overriding concern of industry leaders from both public and private sectors. Travel & Tourism has to ensure that freedom to travel is maintained by engaging with security agencies, investing in technological solutions and ensuring mechanisms are in place for effective crisis response.

3. Travel & Tourism continues to perform well and future prospects remain good. Nevertheless with the number of international travellers projected to nearly double by 2030, growth needs to be managed effectively. Travel & Tourism must take responsibility for its impact in a world of shrinking resources.

4. For the first time empirical evidence has confirmed the sector as a driver of peace. Countries with sustainable and open tourism sectors are more resilient to the challenges posed by conflicts. This power to be a force for good must be harnessed and preserved by policy makers and governments.

5. Digital and mobile technology and ever more sophisticated automation continue to drive opportunities and disrupt traditional business models. In a sector that differentiates on customer service, seamless travel is becoming a reality. Travel & Tourism needs to strike the right balance between technology and service and ensure that the skills of the future workforce reflect this.

6. We are seeing a shift from controlled, centralised businesses, to those which value transparency and lateral economies of scale. Companies that look outside themselves, provide external leadership, and are not afraid to do things differently are those that will succeed.

You can view the Summit livestream videos on demand on the WTTC website.

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(L-R) WTTC President & CEO David Scowsill opening the Global Summit 2016 in Dallas; Marriott International CEO Arne Sorenson, Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, and Nick Ross discussing the US perspective; UNWTO SG Taleb Rifai, Hilton Worldwide CEO Chris Nassetta, and Nick Ross discussing the international perspective in T&T.
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(L-R) Erika Karp enlightening the audience on the links between capitalism and tourism; Bill Marriott and Geoffrey Kent, just before Mr. Marriott was honoured on stage for his incredible contributions to the industry.
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(L-R) Raisuddin Bhuiyan shares his incredible story and message of a world without hate with the Summit audience; Fabien Cousteau shares his hope for sustainable tourism; the Tourism for Tomorrow Award winners on stage following the winner announcements.
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(L — R) The Priceline Group CEO Darren Huston and HardTalk’s Stephen Sackur; Silversea Cruises Chairman Manfredi Lefebvre, Royal Caribbean Cruises COO Adam Goldstein, Carnival Cruise Lines CEO Arnold Donald, and Peter Greenberg discussing the Cruising industry; Nick Ross with panelists Dara Kosrowshahi (Expedia, CEO), Chip Conley (Airbnb, Global Head of Hospitality & Strategy), Michel Taride (Hertz International, President), and Will Coleman (McKinsey and Co, Partner).
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(L — R) Karen Katz (Neiman Marcus, President & CEO), Nancy Nasher (NorthPark Center, President & Owner), and Stephen Sackur; Phillip Jones (Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau, President & CEO).
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(L — R) Closing remarks from WTTC’s new chairman Gerald Lawless; H.E. Ms. Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, Minister of Tourism, Kingdom of Thailand, announcing the next Global Summit in Thailand, 26/27 April 2017.

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