Governments urge to establish ‘green lanes’ to boost tourism recovery, bilateral travel

Tourism strategies to support industry recovery and the use of technology and analytics to create resilience, took centre stage on the second afternoon of Arabian Travel Market’s virtual event, ATM Virtual.

The ‘Bouncing back: tourism strategies for the future’ session, which took place on Tuesday, June 2, discussed the long-term tourism development strategies put in place by the region’s governments to provide a catalyst to recovery when travel patterns return to relative normality.

The panel, which was moderated by industry consultant Gemma Greenwood, included Fahd Hamidaddin, Chief of Investment, Strategy and Tourism Marketing, Ministry of Tourism Saudi Arabia and Keith Tan, CEO, Singapore Tourism Board.

“We are trying to do things at a bilateral level with countries that we feel we can move forward with. We have announced initiatives such as ‘green lanes’ and introduced the idea of ‘travel bubbles’. For example, in our negotiations with China, we have agreed common standards to permit travel and we hope to replicate this with other countries, not dissimilar to the idea of free trade agreements,” said Tan

“We all agree that we don’t want to develop a patchwork of different standards and requirements. But this is not going to be easy,” he added.

Discussing the measure implemented by Saudi Arabia, Hamidaddin highlighted the importance of the industry and the need for government support to help the tourism industry recover.

“We look at the tourism sector from a strategic perspective in Saudi Arabia, but we also realise that this sector contributed 20% of all jobs in the last five years, across the world, underscoring the importance that must be placed on the sector by governments,” said Hamidaddin.

“Our job is to help the private sector survive and weather as much as we can during this pandemic. As such, Saudi Arabia launched a US$61 billion stimulus package that went into multiple tracks, including waiving licensing and tourism fees as well as deferring VAT and government fees for all SMEs, helping those most in need,” he added.

 

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