October'20 Message from the CEO

Daniela Otero

CEO Skål International

            An intense month of October has passed within Skål International. 

            Our organisation has experienced a few weeks of healthy and necessary cross-cutting exchange.

            In the middle of the month, we had an interesting meeting of the Executive Board with the International Councillors and a mass Annual General Assembly a few days ago, which, in a historical move, opened the potential of virtual participation to all Skål International members around the world.

            The enriching exchange of experiences and information, which is always necessary, has increased as a result of this unusual and exceptional global situation.

            The challenge of adaptation after uncertainty

            Today, the only certainty is uncertainty. The pandemic paralysed the economy and is affecting, and will continue to affect, many SMEs, which will force them to reinvent themselves or create a new business model to adapt to new consumer habits and social relationships in a post-COVID-19 era.

            Many of our members are in fact already in this phase, and they are all asking the same question. That question is... What now?

            Products, services or markets may not meet the same demands for which they were created. 

            The coronavirus did not change the rules of the game; it changed the game. It is necessary to adapt to a new social, economic and cultural reality.

            Faced with this scenario, we have witnessed innovative contributions and new ideas from some of our members to reinvent their businesses, and some are even working on analysing the new reality to understand the changes and to detect new trends, new companies and thus incorporate new members.

            In short, to understand and to take on the challenges to be able to modify the reality.

            Thus, we have heard several examples of intelligent and positive attitudes towards the challenging moment through which the world is passing… Without a doubt, a breath of fresh air during our meetings. 

            And outside our organisation, in the many meetings that I hold with other leaders within the industry, we have also shared interesting information. 

            So, we find cases of large companies that are financing surveys to learn about consumer opinion or whether the tourist will want to continue travelling.

            The Travel Leaders Group survey of almost 3,000 frequent travellers, conducted a few weeks ago, in collaboration with the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), found that an overwhelming majority of US and Canadian travellers (99%) are eager to travel again. What’s more, 70% say they plan to go on holiday in 2021.

            The results indicate that 45% of respondents have already made plans or are beginning to make finite plans for their next holiday, while 54% say they dream of being able to travel again.

            We continue to see strong interest in domestic travel, beach and mountain destinations and less crowded destinations in general... these will be the places chosen over the next few months.

            However, consumer uncertainty about possible infections and fear of lockdowns is still strong. That is why, from all forums, we are insisting on the need for rapid testing to replace lockdowns, better contact tracing and industry-wide standards that can be clearly communicated to the public. 

            Only then will we be able to gradually restart Tourism around the world, moving each cog of this necessary machinery that generates millions of jobs around the world... 

            Without a doubt, a challenge that we can all face together. A necessary adaptation which, sticking together, will be more bearable for all of us.

            Daniela Otero,

            CEO Skål International