Very much affected by the Covid crisis, the tourism sector is showing its "health" by continuing to encourage customers to maintain the illusion of travelling and moving around the world. Here are some of the most relevant ideas that have emerged in recent days to revive tourism and restore its image.
Creating Green Zones
Creating interconnected European Green Zones to boost tourism is the idea put forward by Miquel Oliu-Barton, Professor of Mathematics at the Dauphine University in Paris and Bary Pradelski, Professor of Economics and member of the Oxford Institute. The two researchers have published a curious report that looks for new ways to avoid the tourism crisis that the Old Continent will experience this year. The idea is simple: to enable people to move between green spaces in different European countries through a network of regions certified by the EU institutions. "This proposal could save the summer tourist season in southern Europe, thus mitigating the huge economic costs that the closure of international tourism could entail for these countries," the report says.
Temporary offices in hotels
Australia's struggling hotels are doing everything possible to innovate to stay in business, converting serviced suites into residential apartments or temporary offices, allocating beds for the homeless and offering special discounted isolation packages for long-term stays.
One even offers, when COVID-19 regulations permit, dinner in a hotel room, with a small supplement for the night, while others have "micro-wedding" packages for a terrace ceremony and rooms.
Many hotels turn rooms into day offices, with Wi-Fi included, to give people an alternative to working from home, especially if they don't have enough space, or need quiet, to work efficiently.
Mediamatic ETEN, a restaurant in Amsterdam, offers a vegetarian menu served to customers while they sit in their own quarantine greenhouse.
At the moment the service is only offered to family and friends of the staff, and everything is booked, according to the restaurant's website.
As many places begin to relax restrictions on social distance, this type of greenhouse dining may well take off.
Overnight stays for health care workers
For every day and every night, for the great example of dedication and responsibility they set, some hotel chains offer health care staff a well-deserved rest. Hilton and American Express will donate one million hotel nights to healthcare professionals working on the response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Rooms will be available for doctors, nurses, paramedics, emergency medical technicians and other workers until the end of May, according to Hilton.
Defining good health practices and disseminating them widely
Tourism professionals are organizing to propose a guide to good health practices. This is to be encouraged, for example by means of a label for which companies could be accompanied, and which would be harmonised with publication on a dedicated government website. Massive communication on these provisions should be carried out and assumed by the State. It is under these conditions that professionals, employees and consumers will be able to regain the confidence to travel.
The Kaspersky company is launching a programme to promote tourism start-ups.
Eugene Kaspersky has decided to help a sector that has been seriously affected by the coronavirus crisis: tourism. The entrepreneur and IT security expert is also a passionate traveler who loves adventure tourism. It is to support the restart of this sector at half-mast that he decided to found Kaspersky Exploring Russia, an accessible and open online incubator.
Airlines have donated equipment and repatriated nationals
In addition to repatriating French citizens stranded abroad, airlines around the world have been working with China through a veritable air corridor to transport medical equipment. They have also often donated items that are normally offered on board aircraft, such as single-use cutlery, duvets, pillows, complete toiletries...
Hotels transformed into hospitals
There are now dozens of hotels that have offered their services to turn themselves into hospitals, but we must pay tribute to the first one who did so, businessman Kike Sarasola, CEO of the Room Mate hotels; a few hours later, other hotels in Barcelona and other cities were added. It is also worth mentioning the multinational chain Accor, which includes brands such as Pullman, Novotel, ibis in Spain and Portugal that have made hotels located near hospitals available to the authorities. In Spain, the Iberostar group donated food and textile materials such as sheets and towels, as well as 88,000 pairs of gloves, 28,000 masks and 800 litres of hydroalcoholic gel, among other protective and cleaning products.
Cruise ships have also become involved
The cruise sector was one of the most affected by the health crisis caused by the coronavirus, with ships wandering the seas in search of a port that would accept them, and cancellations everywhere. This situation led to many ships docking and some companies decided to collaborate as much as possible to overcome the pandemic. For example, the company CroisiEurope, the world leader in river cruises, has made the ship "Botticelli", currently moored on the Seine, available to the French health authorities for the rest of the French medical teams.
Some major shipping companies, which can no longer navigate, have made their ships available to governments and health authorities for use by hospitals to mitigate the effects of this crisis. This is the case, for example, of Carnival Cruises, the shipping company with the largest fleet and the largest number of passengers. The ships have comfortable cabins for the isolation of patients and are also available for the establishment of intensive care units. The idea is that the ships will be able to dock in the ports of the communities that need them. Not only in the United States, where Carnival is based and where a large part of its fleet is located, but they have offered to go wherever it is needed, and so far Genoa has already requested a ship. Services will continue to be provided by the ship's crew and would include cleaning, food and beverage management, etc.
Auction of gastronomic experiences
Who has never dreamt of a private visit to the Palace of Versailles? A chair designed by Hedi Slimane? An immersion in the Château de la Colle Noire by Dior Parfums? These few experiences and exceptional objects were within everyone's reach during the exceptional auction "Les talents s'engagent" by Laurence Benaïm. The journalist brought together the jewel of creation (Alber Elbaz, Christian Louboutin, India Mahdavi ...) to concoct a series of lots designed to satisfy fashion, design and gastronomy enthusiasts, all to the benefit of SOS Ehpad.
The money raised enabled the purchase of protective equipment and a better quality of care for the elderly.
Propose hand washing
It may seem trivial, but suggesting that you wash your hands is also a welcome gesture.
Lush, a beauty and skin care company, has announced that it will allow all passers-by to wash their hands in any of its stores in an attempt to help contain the spread of the coronavirus. Signs in store windows announce the initiative and explain step-by-step how to wash your hands effectively. Small gestures are sometimes more meaningful than large positioning campaigns.
UNWTO proposes to travel tomorrow
For several months now, we have been aware of the hashtag #STAYATHOME, a global campaign that advocates social distancing to stop the spread of the Coronavirus. The World Tourism Organization, UNWTO, adds that "staying at home today means being able to travel tomorrow". The campaign aims to look to the future and promote a rapid recovery of the sector worldwide, reinforcing values such as solidarity and respect, concern for the environment, continued learning, promotion of decent jobs, support for development and sustainability, and the creation of new opportunities for all. The campaign also includes the dissemination of UNWTO's recommendations to support tourism in these difficult times, including the need for financial and political support for stimulus measures aimed at the tourism sector, and ensuring the momentum of sustainable development for all future industry strategies.
Free drinks to boost catering in Spain
Bars and restaurants are undoubtedly an important part of the tourism sector. Initiated by the Cruzcampo and Amstel brands, more and more major brands are joining the #FuerzaBara movement every day, offering their products free of charge and without interest to thousands of establishments throughout Spain so that bars are better prepared for their reopening. After an initial contribution of more than 15 million barrels of beer from the two leading brewers and with the support of Heineken España, new partners have joined the initiative to supply the bars with products.
Taxis made available for health sector staff
Taxi drivers and collaborative platforms such as Cabify or Uber also contribute to the fight against the virus. They offer free travel to healthcare workers at their workplaces or to the homes of infected people who need to be checked. For its part, Hyundai is making its fleet of cars available to hospitals in the Community of Madrid for hospital staff who care for patients on the front line, thus avoiding the use of public transport to minimise the possibility of contagion.
Agencies and tour operators with original ideas
Proposals from travel agencies and tour operators also abound. A major Spanish travel agency, Nautalia, with more than 200 sales outlets in Spain, became the first to ask in an advertising campaign not to travel during the quarantine period in order to avoid further coronavirus infections. Nautalia, which launched an innovative way of marketing travel a few years ago, now says that "For the first time, staying at home is helping to save lives". For its part, the Exotica agency offers a different way to discover a country from home every week, with a song, a book, a typical meal and a drink that can be made from home.