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Road to Recovery: Key Issues Guiding the Future of the Travel Industry

The future of tourism industry: trends, changes, sustainability and more.

April 1, 2021

Even as more and more flights take to the skies every day, there are some uncertainties about the Travel industry’s future. Whether it is the experts, economists, or trade leaders, no one can reach a consensus on when and how business travel, in particular, will return to its pre-COVID figures. 

However, there is hope on the horizon. Countries worldwide are slowly opening their borders, allowing tourism and business travelers to bring in the necessary revenue. Although changing based on individual nation-wide COVID cases, travel requirements for Dubai and other places are becoming more lenient and accepting. 

New and Positive Changes in the Business Travel Industry

The rollout of vaccination is turning out to be a significant factor in helping boost leisure and business travel. Providing ease of mind, it will have a compelling effect on removing the need for quarantine upon arrival in the coming months. As a result, companies holding back their employees due to extra hotel costs and health risk factors are now gearing up to resume face-to-face communication with their clients.

If there was ever a more apparent sign of the importance of business travel, it is the investment that countries and airlines are putting into making travel and transactions for their largest growing revenue sector safe and personal. 

Focusing on corporate travel, Singapore recently announced their Connect@Changi initiative, allowing business travelers to stay at the airport and conduct in-person meetings without the need for a 14-day quarantine. Among the features planned are hotel-like rooms, in-room food delivery, and conference chambers with glass panels and individual ventilation.          

The lull in business during the year gone by has also given several organizations the time to integrate contemporary features into their workings to streamline tedious procedures. All-in-one business travel management solutions like SoldoutNight can now help companies and their employees with travel bookings, unused ticket management, and expense reporting, among other features. 

CERAWeek 2021

A panel discussion held on 1st March 2021, as part of CERAWeek by IHS Markit, highlighted some of the issues being faced presently by the corporate travel community. 

Removing any doubts about companies adopting the virtual meeting module extensively, Scott Kirby, CEO of United Airlines, stated that

“Ultimately, we are social creatures, and as good as these events are, they are not the same as being there in person.”

Commenting further on the Aviation industry, he expects leisure travel to improve by 2022. An increase in the global frequency of business trips might take slightly longer. 

Sustainable Aviation Fuels  

During the same CERAWeek conversation, which included Royal Dutch Shell’s CEO Ben van Beurden, a discussion on sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) also took place. 

Talking about continuing efforts in normalizing bio-fuels to help reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, Beurden said,

“if you want to be a force for good in society, then, of course, you have to go with where society wants to go.”

He further stated that net-zero is a “moral imperative for a company that wants to be on the right side of history.”     

As a keynote speaker at CERAWeek, Bill Gates, in his defense for lowering the “green premium,”spoke earlier about jet fuel made using petroleum being three times cheaper than SAFs. And yet, it was imperative to invest in low-carbon fuels that will help achieve worldwide net-zero goals. 

The airline industry is already implementing sustainable measures and continues to analyze the best possible options for the future. When speaking on this topic, Jack Kirby mentioned that while hydro and electric power might work for shorter flights and smaller planes, a combination of SAFs was the only viable option for larger planes as used by United Airlines.