At the height of the pandemic, travel was brought to a standstill. Today recovery is government-led, slow and patchy—and unlikely to return to pre-crisis levels any time before 2024. The economic consequences of this are far-reaching: in 2019 tourism made up 10% of global GDP. As people stay put, companies are finding innovative ways to meet pent-up demand, whether it be the “Flight to Nowhere” movement or the Google Arts Project, which teleports viewers into the Louvre, Rijksmuseum or MoMA. Is now when virtual-reality travel, with its “green lining”, will take off? Does covid-19 spell the end of affordable travel, and who will foot the bill for the customer’s need for flexibility and money-back guarantees? Where does the onus for applying new hygiene and safety standards lie? And how will airport facial-recognition tools and other technology be updated for the face-mask era?
- Ariane Gorin, president, Expedia Business Services
- Joakim Hultin, chief executive, SideHide
- Laurent Gaveau, head of lab, Google Cultural Institute
- Tarik Mohamed,co-founder and chief creative officer, Overview Collective
- Moderator: Simon Wright, industry editor, The Economist