In his keynote address to the virtual audience at ACTA’s Travel Industry Summit held in mid-November, G Adventures founder, Bruce Poon Tip said that COVID-19 has presented an opportunity for both the travel industry and the planet.
Who would have thought we’d be where we are today, Poon Tip asked, noting that back in the spring, he never imagined that the industry would have been closed down for so long.
And he pointed out that right now, the industry is under a lot of pressure because it simply is not clear “where we’re going.”
However, he told his audience that G Adventures is beginning to see ‘green shoots’ as the industry works to get travel restrictions, like quarantines, lifted; and he points to the idea of travel corridors as a possible option, while making it clear that rapid testing is key.
Bottom line, said Poon Tip: “We need to get planes back up in the air.”
But G Adventures founder also told those attending the virtual event that COVID-19 has brought the industry together, as we have come together to fight it.
He pointed out that “this is going to be over” with the arrival of a vaccine and by late spring or early summer, the early adopters will travel, with larger numbers of people looking to travel in the late fall of 2021.
Yet Poon Tip also noted that before the pandemic, the industry wasn’t in “such a great place” as it was more intent on “selling amenities” than the destination – pushing for more growth, and forgetting about what had drawn most people into this industry — the passion and love of travel.
And if anything comes out of this, Poon Tip hopes that it will be that people will be more connected with the destination.
In this respect, he emphasized the importance of travel advisors in restoring this passion; and praised them for getting people home when COVID-19 hit, and said that the industry needs to continue with it message that having a travel professional will keep travellers safe and give them an advocate when they have problems.
As Poon Tip sees it, COVID-19 has offered travel agents an opportunity to have a renewed dialogue with their customers.
For more on ACTA’s Virtual Summit, check out this week’s CANADIAN TRAVEL PRESS.