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Consumers consider health and hygiene when selecting travel destinations

Many of the significant considerations taken into account by consumers when selecting travel destinations are health-related; while at the same time, there is an overall positive resident sentiment about travel and tourism in the Asia Pacific region above global averages, with most residents ready to welcome visitors again with due attention to the traveller impact on environment and cleanliness.

These are some of the results from the recently launched report, The Impact of Health and Hygiene on post COVID-19 Destination Competitiveness in Asia Pacificpublished by the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) with contributions from the cofounders of the Global Health Security (GHS) Index, a project of the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) and the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security (JHU); TCI Research, Tripadvisor, and the World Economic Forum. 

“Despite much remaining unknown about the future of travel post COVID-19, this timely report highlights emerging trends about health and hygiene in travel and tourism concerning traveller booking behaviour and resident sentiment,”  said PATA Chief of Staff Trevor Weltman. “Such insights can assist destination managers and marketers get ahead of the curve to rethink, rebuild, and reposition their destination’s focus on health and hygiene beginning now.”

This report recommends that destination managers and other tourism stakeholders across the Asia Pacific region begin creating close partnerships with public health officials, tourism supply chain businesses, and local communities to commence a coordinated renewal of traveller confidence in the health and safety of their destination. Destinations that meet these expectations through investing in hygiene and safety measures and clearly communicate these changes to travellers and residents alike, will be well-positioned to win in the post COVID-19 travel era.

The methods of analysis used in the report include social listening, sentiment analysis, and surveying. Furthermore, Part III of the report, which provides a destination competitiveness analysis, is a re-weighting of the “Health & Hygiene” pillar of the World Economic Forum’s 2019 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI). The TTCI is a world-leading T&T index comprising four subindexes, 14 pillars and 90 individual indicators that benchmarks T&T competitiveness of 140 economies to measure the factors and policies that enable the sustainable development of the sector.

Ultimately, multi-sectoral coordination between ministries of health, agriculture, tourism, and trade, and communication of the outcomes of these policy actions to the broader community, including travellers, will be critical to meeting these goals and restoring confidence in the tourism industry. “These preliminary findings are shared to provide an enhanced understanding of where the industry is heading, as well as an initial roadmap for how to get there,” added Mr. Weltman.  

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