How IITA and its global partners are working to ensure the inbound travel industry emerges stronger than ever
With each crisis situation over the years, we have learned lessons and experienced changes in the travel industry and often in our businesses. We can expect the same from COVID-19.
Our sector – inbound travel to the United States – has been hit particularly hard, and it will take time to get back to the levels of international visitors we were enjoying. But we will get there, and we can help shape the path forward if we concentrate on the keys to recovery: consumer confidence, effective collaboration and innovation.
Consumer Confidence. IITA immediately began gathering expertise from our members and collaborating with other travel leaders on standards and best practices to restore consumer confidence. Travelers need to feel safe and protected when they begin to travel again, which requires consistency across the industry for health and safety procedures.
IITA worked with the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) to establish ”Global tour Operator Protocols for the New Normal” and the US Travel Association on its recently published ”Industry Guidance for Promoting the Health and Safety of All Travelers in the ‘New Normal.”
The industry’s proactive measures in collaboration with health experts and government officials should further instill confidence in our international guests.
Effective Collaboration. IITA members represent the most experienced international travel experts from the three industry sectors involved in product development: inbound tour operators, travel suppliers and destination marketers. Travel organizations in these three areas must work effectively together to develop interesting itineraries, unique activities and culturally attractive products and services for international travelers.
IITA members have committed to uphold the industry’s health and safety standards to ensure consistency throughout the U.S. travel product. With the current landscape, U.S. inbound operators are critical partners for international operators to make appropriate recommendations to keep their customers safe while traveling in the U.S.
Innovation. Each time we go through crises, we must find new ways of doing things and make the most of leaner resources. IITA has partnered with the OpenTravel Alliance to promote the benefits of open source technology standards and to ensure they are developed with tour operators’ input and interests. Open source standards will make technology solutions more cost effective and seamless for integration among travel companies.
Technology has been forcing change in travel distribution for several years, but many of us never seem to have time to make the necessary changes in our businesses. Now is the time for travel organizations to seize the opportunity to reshape their companies and integrate technology solutions that will make them more profitable and ready to do business in the new age.
Belonging to IITA helps inbound travel organizations stay on top of the challenges and prepared to serve and welcome international visitors. IITA members are partners you can trust.
Peter van Berkel
International Inbound Travel Association