| Security, growth concerns damaging tourism - industry CEOs

Sydney – Security and sustainable growth are two of the biggest challenges in the travel and tourism industry at the moment, according to Gloria Guevara Manzo, CEO of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).

She said this was according to feedback from CEOs in the industry, including from the hotel and airline sectors.

In her view, the use of biometrics to tackle the security challenge would need more government involvement. She says this offers an opportunity for the travel and tourism industry to work with governments to establish a seamless passenger experience.

“We need to engage more with governments regarding regulation. Just imposing things like visas does not add value to the industry. We need to be proactive at the end of the day,” she said at the recent 74th annual general meeting of the International Air Transport Association (Iata) in Sydney.

“The travel and tourism industry creates one in 10 jobs globally. We unfortunately see this as being taken for granted. We, therefore, need to be more vocal about our role and talk more about the benefits of tourism and travel to communities and countries.”

For her it is crucial for the industry to speak in “one voice” – to align its messages when talking to governments.


Another issue she raised was the overburdening of popular tourist spots. The WTTC conducted a study on the impact of overcrowding.

“In the past it was about public-private partnerships (PPPs), but now it has become about public-private community engagement (PPCs) where the community is part of finding the solutions,” she emphasised.

In her view, the private sector has a very important role to be involved in long term plans to deal with overcrowding challenges.

“We need to learn what the best practice is to deal with overcrowding, because the benefits of tourism are greater than the having to deal with the challenges, but we must look at also spreading the benefits of the job creation and the social impact. Therefore, it is crucial to keep the communities in these tourism areas at the centre,” she said.

“We need to look at what is unique in every destination. This is a partnership that must be very well organised and planned.”

In her view, the WTTC is the best partner for the travel and tourism industry to liaise with governments, especially when it comes to long-term planning to benefit communities by creating jobs.

  • Fin24 was a guest of IATA at its AGM.
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