The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) launched a major new report at its Global Summit in Manila today, to help the sector’s stakeholders understand how cyber resilience is shaping the Travel & Tourism sector and plan for a safer and more robust future.
The report, ‘Codes to resilience,’ in joint efforts with Microsoft, draws on comprehensive research and in-depth interviews with cyber security experts in leading Travel & Tourism organizations such as Mastercard, JTB, and Carnival Corporation, among others.
The report shows that whilst the COVID-19 pandemic has propelled the world and the sector into a more digital future, with the opportunities provided by digitalization, new challenges have emerged, especially in cybercrime.
The inaugural report focuses on three key areas considered critical for the sector: cyber resilience, key issues and six best practices based on the lessons learnt prior to and during the pandemic.
The report goes on to show how digitalization has become a strong enabler of business within Travel & Tourism, and given the international nature of the sector, it looks at the role of legislation around individual data protection.
According to the report, more than seven out of 10 (72%) SMEs in the UK, the U.S., and Europe, have fallen victim to at least one cyberattack, and with SMEs representing 80% of all Travel & Tourism businesses, mitigating cyber risk must remain a priority for the sector.
Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, said: “Technology and digitalization play a key role in making the whole travel experience more seamless, from booking a holiday, to checking in for a flight or embarking on a cruise.
“But the impact of cyberattacks carries enormous financial, reputational and regulatory risk.”
This critical report reveals four key issues to address in order to improve cyber protection and enhance resilience: securing identity data, securing business operations, understanding the impact of COVID-19 and managing global legislation.
According to the report, certain actions can help businesses better prepare to repel an attack, while laying the foundation to support long-term cyber resilience. Educating and training all staff, expanding risk security beyond the physical workplace, employing a zero-trust approach to cyber security, and transparency, among others, have been recommended by industry experts as good practices.
Cyber resilience is a crucial element to the future of Travel & Tourism, as cyber systems continue to facilitate and enhance activities between the sector’s stakeholders.
During a panel session at the tourism body’s Global Summit event being held in Manila today, industry leaders heard that cybercrime has cost the global economy $1 trillion and could reach a staggering $90 trillion by 2030.
According to the WTTC Economic Impact Report, in 2019, before the pandemic stopped travel in its tracks, the Travel & Tourism sector generated more than $9.6 trillion to the global economy.
However, in 2020, the pandemic brought the sector to an almost complete standstill, causing a massive 50% drop, representing a severe loss of nearly $4.5 trillion.
Digitization has played and will continue to play a pivotal role in Travel & Tourism’s growth and recovery from COVID-19. It is therefore essential for the sector to integrate cyber security and cyber resilience to continue its recovery from the pandemic while supporting its growth in the future.