As the world grapples with Covid-19, The UN Secretary General has issued a call for the most disruptive startups and entrepreneurs to contribute towards lessening its impact on tourism.
It’s an urgent call because The World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) expects tourist arrivals to go down by 20 per cent to 30 per cent in 2020 when compared with 2019 figures.
The UNWTO has also pointed that in 2009, on the back of the global economic crisis, international tourist arrivals declined by 4 per cent, while the SARS outbreak led to a decline of 0.4 per cent in 2003.
However, the tourism sector proved its resilience with international arrivals surging up until 2019 signalling years of sustained growth. This was made possible only through global cooperation and the unique ways in which each nation put itself out there for travellers to explore.
Here are a few examples of how tourist destinations bounced back from bad news.
People power: Iceland
A land of many active volcanoes, Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull eruption of 2010 forced many European countries to close its airspace for several days. It was the largest air-traffic shutdown since World War II and came right after the financial crisis of 2008.
To get the tourism industry back on its feet, Icelanders got together to highlight the best of their nation under a common website — Inspired by Iceland — to persuade tourists to visit the country again. Live webcams were set up to reassure the world that Iceland wasn’t drowning in ash.
A music concert streamed live to a global audience brought back travellers — thousands of them from other European countries — and pumped in an additional £127.4 million (S$230 million) to Iceland’s economy.