Tom Jenkins is the CEO of the European Tourism Association (ETOA), known as the trade association for better tourism in Europe.
ETOA states on its website: “We work to enable a fair and sustainable business environment so that Europe remains competitive and appealing for residents and visitors. With over 1200 members representing most areas of the industry, we are a powerful voice at local, national, and European levels. We welcome a range of tour operators and European suppliers from global brands to independent businesses.
Tom Jenkins was a speaker at the rebuilding.travel webinar yesterday.
He said: “I am sitting in London trying to run a trade organization that is in business to encourage and promoting selling travel and tourism to Europe. I worked 35-40 years in this industry and I never went through anything like this. As a matter of fact no one in our lifetime went through such a crisis.
“After China, Europe was the first continent deeply affected by the medical impact of the coronavirus. Europe was the first continent with a massive outbreak of the virus and a large number of fatalities.
“There was no coordinated European approach. European nations reacted the way states react, uncoordinated, and with a national approach.
“Witnessing Canada rescuing their citizens from Europe, and European countries rescuing their citizens from Canada tells the best place to be in a crisis is to be home.
“Even more significant is the way the government selected to handle the crisis in closing down their economies. The realization is coming back slowly understanding what damage this caused.”
After weeks of lockdown and limited improvements countries suddenly open borders again.
Italy said it could not afford a summer without tourism. Spain, Portugal, and Greece are opening up with a similar message.
Now London decided to lock down and quarantine. Tourism in London is 20% of the economy, 85% of the hotel industry, and 45% of what theaters take in. This decision is a catastrophe. I cannot imagine this lockdown can last for too long.
Tom continued to explain he is working with USTOA, with Canada and WTTC on protocols and re-assurance papers on how to reopen the industry safely. “There is a huge demand, but this will become also yesterday’s story.”
“Social distancing won’t work in travel, social distancing cannot function on planes. Airports cannot function with social distancing.”
Listen to the full rebuilding.travel session with Tom Jenkins, Dr. Taleb Rifai, Alain St. Ange, and many more.
rebuilding.travel is an initiative started by Juergen Steinmetz, publisher of eTurboNews with members in 107 countries.