The European Commission has adopted Recovery Assistance for Cohesion and the Territories of Europe (REACT-EU), with an earmarking amount of € 55 billion for the recovery of the European economy after the crisis and The € 750 billion Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) that will help make Europe greener, digitalisied and more resilient. It is the largest package of incentives ever funded in Europe.
The pandemic has posed many questions to tourism, among the most pressing ones are survival and recovery, along with transforming the tourism industry into a more resilient and more sustainable one.
The pandemic has posed the biggest challenge to tourism to date and a crisis that has been going on for the second year in a row now. According to the UNWTO, from January to May this year, international revenues decreased by 85 % compared to 2019, and by 65 % compared to 2020. Despite the difficult situation in tourism sector due to the Covid-19 pandemic, optimism is on the rise and so are optimistic forecasts of key international tourism institutions. According to the ETC survey on Europeans' travel intentions, around 70 % of Europeans surveyed plan to travel in the next 6 months, half of whom want to visit another European country. The last quarterly ETC report also states optimistic expectations, with demand for travel expected to increase significantly in the second half of 2021, although according to the ETC, international arrivals in 2021 will still be 49 % below pre-pandemic levels. At the same time, consumer behavior has changed dramatically due to the pandemic and other challenges.
“The last ‘corona’ years have undoubtedly been a great test for European and thus for Slovenian tourism, but I would like to recall the well-known fact that tourism is known as a sector that reacts very quickly to changes in society and adapts to them. This is why I believe that it will be the same this time. With a 70% drop in overnight stays of foreign guests in Slovenia, the recovery will of course be a bit longer, but we must be aware that the trends according to which tourism will develop in the future are something we have been practicing in Slovenia for the last seven years. Boutique, sustainable, safe, tailor-made experiences in tourism are the foundations on which we have built our success already in the past strategic framework. It is also important to emphasize that, according to the findings of Eurostat, we are the country that has increased the volume of domestic tourism to the greatest extent – also thanks to timely and appropriate measures of the state. In the year and a half of the epidemic, the government has supported tourism with one billion funds, thus proving that it is aware of the strategic importance of the industry for the national economy and believes in its further development.”
Last year, the pandemic plunged tourism into the biggest crisis so far and showed the great economic importance of tourism and its impact on other activities. Many companies are struggling to survive. A precondition for the resumption of tourist flows as soon as possible is coordinated action and intensive coordination between European countries on flow restrictions. At the same time, the pandemic brings challenges and new opportunities for more sustainable, resilient and inclusive tourism. The behaviour of tourists has changed dramatically due to pandemics, climate change and other challenges. For the successful transformation of tourism, it is necessary to redefine performance indicators and better business models that will enable a sustainable and digital transformation. There is a need for close cooperation between all stakeholders: government, tourism organizations and businesses, local communities and employees. To gain back the trust of tourists and to seek the satisfaction of the local population, it is necessary to create better tourism, but we do not want to return to the old tracks. It is therefore necessary to think in advance about the coordinated shaping of the European future of tourism, which is a key theme of this year's panel."