At an event to launch the 5th Global Travel & Tourism Summit, which will take place from April 8-10, 2005 in New Delhi, India…
At an event to launch the 5th Global Travel & Tourism Summit, which will take place from April 8-10, 2005 in New Delhi, India, a panel of industry leaders all pointed to the huge potential offered by the industry.
The panel discussion, which took place at the World Travel Market in London, was moderated by television journalist Gwenan Edwards and covered issues ranging from open skies policy to the new dot-travel initiative.
The panel debate was an example of the discussions that will take place on a much larger scale at the 5th Global Travel & Tourism Summit, under the theme ‘Realizing the Potential’, when over 500 of the most influential people in the industry will gather to discuss the major issues confronting Travel & Tourism.
The panellists were:
Renuka Chowdhury, Minister of Tourism, India
Renuka is a vocal supporter of Travel & Tourism in India.
Mrs Wang Ping, President, Chamber of Tourism Commerce, China
Mrs Wang Ping has held many major political positions.
Stelios Haji-Ioannou, Founder and Chairman of easyGroup
In addition to founding easyJet, Stelios is now considering easyBus, easyCruise and easyHotel, among others.
Lalit Suri, Chairman & Managing Director, Bharat Hotels
Lalit is also an MP and Chairman of WTTC’s India Initiative.
Peter Wong, Chairman MK Corporation
Peter is a Chinese hotel investor and public company director.
Ronald N. Andruff, President & CEO, Tralliance
Ron is the man behind the new ‘.travel’ Internet domain.
Panel Discussion Highlights:
The panel covered the following topics: the potential of Travel & Tourism to create jobs and prosperity, Open Skies, Technology, Infrastructure and topics for discussion next April. Below are selected quotes and highlights from the panellists on various issues.
Renuka Chowdhury explained that India offers a huge market of over a billion people who all speak English and a democratic environment where the rule of law prevails. In the long term, she considered that it could employ more people than both agriculture and manufacturing.
Mrs Wang Ping said: “Today private enterprise represents 40 per cent of our economy and in the next few years we expect it to go to 60 per cent. We see Travel & Tourism as very important part of that and as essential in addressing unemployment. We follow WTTC forecasts and by 2010, we expect China to welcome more than 100 million visitors and to be a huge origin market.
Stelios Haji-Ioannou said: Travel & Tourism is already a huge industry and most of the world has yet to travel.”
Stelios directly challenged the Indian minister of tourism to `open her skies`, by which he meant having a market where anyone could start an airline and fly from one point to another. Renuka Chowdhury responded that with 629 chartered flights now servicing India and the government’s investment in building or refurbishing 21 new airports, the country was indeed beginning to open up. She also went on to say that …there will be an announcement in India`s budget in February that will deliver results [in this regard].
All agreed that the travel industry is the big success story on the Internet. Ron Andruff said that he expected the whole sector to migrate towards ‘.travel’, as its classification systems will greatly assist consumers to search and find what they want on line. However, the panel has still to be convinced of the impact of mobile technologies on the volume of travel business transacted on the Internet.
Both India and China are investing heavily in infrastructure. In India, 21 airports are being built or refurbished and China will soon have 50 new airports. However, Peter Wong stressed the importance of striking a balance between growth and the environment. Renuka Chowdhury agreed and said that “sustainable development” and “preservation of national cultures and identities” are essential.
Issues for the future Summit
There was a consensus that the challenges facing Travel & Tourism, such as security, must be on the agenda for Delhi, as must the control of disease propagation.
Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.