A World Tourism and Travel Council (WTTC) report into the future of the industry in September 2020 identified four trends that will play a decisive role in destination choices. They include a preference for the familiar, predictable and trusted; health and hygiene needs; digitalisation to enable contactless technologies; and sustainability. “From widespread unemployment and anti-racism movements to the restoration of natural habitats and the impact on ecosystems, the world has been reinvigorated to tackle social, environmental and institutional sustainability. In particular, heightened public awareness of the environment and wildlife markets and poaching has boosted advocacy for wildlife protection,” states the report. It explains that the pandemic has also favoured domestic travel, along with outdoor and nature destinations. A survey conducted for the purpose of the study found that 58% of people were thinking more about the environment than they had before the pandemic began.

“The actions taken today are important building blocks for the long-term resilience of travel and tourism.”

World Tourism and Travel Council

Nevertheless, the crisis is seen as an opportunity to improve the industry in the medium to long term, through greater digitalisation and environmental sustainability. For example, the World Tourism Organization has called for support to help employees develop the digital skills they need to make better use of big data, data analysis and artificial intelligence. Resources such as water and energy should be used efficiently and obtained in an environmentally friendly way, while the sector’s processes for waste management and sustainable food procurement need to be improved.

Switzerland Tourism ST is also leading the way on this front with its Swisstainable movement launched in 2021. Switzerland is equipped in many ways to position itself as the most sustainable destination in the world: it regularly tops various sustainability rankings, and recycling is virtually the national pastime. The Swisstainable movement will make better and fuller use of these and other ace cards in tourism marketing. ST shares the World Tourism and Travel Council’s view that the focus on sustainability will enhance the industry’s resilience in the post-Covid world, and that this will pay off in international competition over the long term.