October'21 Message from the CEO

Daniela Otero

CEO, Skål International

Vaccines and the reopening of borders are spurring a recovery of tourism.

According to the most recent World Tourism Barometer from the UNWTO, it is estimated that 54 million tourists have crossed international borders in 2021, which represents a 67% reduction relative to the same point in 2019 but is the best result since April of 2020. 

Of the destinations that shared their data, the majority had recorded a moderate rise in the number of international arrivals compared to 2020. 

Confidence for travel is slowly growing

This improvement is supported by the reopening of numerous destinations to international travel, particularly in Europe and the Americas. The loosening of restrictions for vaccinated travellers, coupled with advances in the administration of vaccines against Covid-19, has contributed to a growth in consumers’ confidence and a gradual reestablishment of safe movement in Europe and other parts of the world. However, most destinations in Asia remain closed to non-essential travel.

Resumption of in-person activities

In the coming weeks, we will see a resumption of in-person activities in the tourism sector, which is another good indicator of the reactivation of travel at a worldwide level.

Thus, after a hiatus of many months, Europe’s Skålleagues had met in person at the Skål International Europe Congress, which took place on 21-24 October in Venice, Italy.

Additionally, the Future of Tourism World Summit, an in-person event held in Barcelona on 26 and 27 October, centred the discussion around topics such as international cooperation as a key element in the recovery of tourism, and the reinvention of MICE tourism and new tendencies therein.

Another highly anticipated event is this year’s WTM (World Travel Market) in London, which will take place on 1-3 November, and where Skål International will have a stand and offer a series of activities coordinated by the UK’s National Committee. We hope you will join us!

Also, from the 10th to the 13th of November, the Tourism Innovation Global Summit will be held for the second consecutive year in Seville, Spain, with Skål International serving as a strategic partner. 

Looking towards the future

As for the outlook on the final quarter of the year, according to the conclusions of the UNWTO’s Panel of Tourism Experts, 53% think that this period will be worse than was projected, while 31% predict better results towards the end of the year.

An uptick is expected to occur when the previously suppressed demand for international travel is unleashed in 2022, particularly during the second and third quarters.

Regardless, 2022 is already expected to be a year of important changes in the tourism sector.

Among these changes are the expanded use of health passes for work, leisure and dining purposes, a development now taking place in several European countries, and the implementation of new practices such as ETIAS’ electronic travel authorization. 

The new travel permit will be implemented as a tool for making European travel safer. This permit, together with the health-related measures that are likely to support mobility and the lifting of restrictions in the remainder of 2021, could ultimately result in a more prosperous 2022 for the tourism industry.

Price will also continue to be a determining factor in the market, and thus the companies in this sector will have to adjust their business models to offer increased flexibility in their terms of reservation – for example, by making cancellations, changes, and reimbursements easier to stimulate demand and increase travellers’ confidence.

We encourage you to continue working towards the recovery of this industry. Everyone can play a part in this. Together, we can ensure that activities are safely resumed, and that the recovery is complete.

Daniela Otero

CEO, Skål International