WTTC´s Global Summit key take-aways

The ATMEX team had the opportunity to participate in the 20th edition of the World Travel & Tourism Council Global Summit which took place in Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico from April 25-27, 2021.

With more than 600 on site attendees (all COVID free after the quick tests taken upon arrival and registration) and thousands of people who joined remotely, Gloria Guevara, President and CEO of the WTTC, was able to summon and host hundreds of tourism world leaders, from CEOs, entrepreneurs, and Ministers from the public sector, to Presidents and Prime Ministers of several countries, all gathered with the objective to assess the damage caused to tourism by the pandemic which turned into 62 million jobs vanished and a 4.5 trillion dollar loss.  To identify which efforts and actions during the moments of crisis assertively helped the industry and together plan a strategy that allows us to recuperate 100 million jobs. Also, to reiterate that sustainability must be part of the DNA of the tourism industry and to understand how essential  collaboration is between the public and private sectors.   And finally to find a balance where women, who represent the 54% of the tourism industry workforce, receive the same economic remuneration as their male colleagues, have the same opportunities of professional growth and have access to leadership and decision making roles within the industry.

“We can’t, nor should we, go back to 2019.  And this is a good thing.  We need to focus on how we rebuild the future.”.Brian Chesky Airbnb, Co-Founder and CEO

Many were the topics covered by the different panels and during back to back conferences. Here are the main takeaways and trends we find most relevant for our adventure travel sector:

  1.  The digital vaccine passport or green passport that the European Union is promoting will be a reality, several other countries will adopt it.  This will allow that travel barriers like closed borders and quarantines be eliminated for all those travelers who have been fully vaccinated- Coincided Luis Araujo, President of the European Travel Commission; Harry Theocharis, Minister of Tourism of Greece and Fernando Valdes, Minister of Tourism of Spain.
  2. 80% of the 600 attendees to the summit were already vaccinated with both doses. This demonstrates the profile of the new traveler who will be actively contributing to the recovery process and tourism reawakening.
  1. Sustainability must be part of the DNA of the tourism industry.  Both the private and the public sectors agreed unanimously. “There is not a better example of sustainability than peace.  We are messengers of peace.  And although there are many things that need fixing, we should feel proud of what our industry has achieved.” – Luis García Codrón, CEO Europamundo Vacaciones.
  1. Collaboration, collaboration, collaboration between the public and private sectors. Those governments that demonstrated to be efficient in handling the pandemic were the same ones collaborating hand in hand with the private sector and supporting it.
  1. Digitalization and technology are the new tools for travel, but never losing the personal touch.
  1. Ecotourism is the way for tourism to move forward-Muzzammil, Ahussain Executive VP of Seera Group
  1. A new leadership is emerging after the pandemic. A leadership similar to the one needed for a peace negotiation, and women leaders are nailing it, said former Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos. And in tourism this leadership is evident and yet not equally valued nor remunerated, therefore as a corollary of the event the WTTC launched the ground-breaking initiative to support women in travel in tourism.

To learn more about this initiative please go to:


  1. Tourism will never be the same again and travelers have changed forever.  They will want to explore away from the 20 or 30 cities everyone visits and will seek diversity choosing to go to places they would have not considered traveling to before.  Short or extended stays in off the beaten places, small towns and rural areas, that is already a huge trend.  What motivates them? Reconnecting with the most basic…nature, oneself and our loved ones. – Brian Chesky Airbnb, Co-Founder and CEO. To watch Brian´s full conversation go to: https://youtu.be/zA1qDOOJhdQ

“We miss what has been taken away. Human connection. Mass travel will give way to meaningful travel” .- Brian Chesky

  1. Something clear showing up in the new trends is that travelers don’t want to feel like outsiders in the places they visit, but want to feel like locals.  This means a deeper immersion in the host destination, a genuine interaction with the communities, and the interest to learn more and respect the local cultures.- Brian Chesky Airbnb, Co-Founder and CEO
  1. To rebuild traveler´s trust in travel, clear, uniform and assertive communication is key, either coming from the host destinations and local authorities, as well as from tourism service providers and travel advisors. This, added to flexible cancellation and postponement policies, will eliminate the fear and uncertainty travelers might be feeling when thinking of planning a trip.
  2. People as never before are eager to reconnect with their family members and friends whom they haven’t seen for a long time. This is motivating them to turn away from mass travel and look instead for meaningful travel which allows them to strengthen unbreakable bonds and create unforgettable memories mostly in open natural areas and rural places
  1. Today´s travelers want to be acknowledged not as a booking number more, but as individuals whose interests, needs and expectations are taken into consideration when planning a trip. They definitely want to make it personal.  And to tackle this demand no one better to help out than the travel advisors whose work needs to be valued and fairly remunerated as never before.  Brian Chesky Airbnb, Co-Founder and CEO and Robin Tauck, Co-Owner Tauck Inc.

“Don’t be afraid to do things differently.”.- Martina Navratilova

If there was something that most of the tourism leaders agreed upon was that small groups, sustainability, contact with nature and deep cultural immersion are the biggest trends today’s travelers are interested in. These same trends are the pillars and what define our adventure travel sector. Furthermore, the general message was that 2021 and the next 3 years tourism will not only recover but experience exponential growth. All this is music for our ears however we will face challenges which include huge responsibilities: Mexico and Latin America need to be ready to cater to this demand correctly, favoring our natural areas and less known towns and rural areas and yet protecting them as well as our cultural resources and local communities.

We want to congratulate our friends and partners in the WTTC team for putting together a memorable and inspiring event which marked the “starting flag” for the recovery process of our industry. Bring it on!



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