Diplomatic Courier has been publishing its Chronicling COVID-19 series since May. Over this time, we have been fortunate to work with some knowledgeable writers and great partner organizations across a variety of sectors. This has allowed us to explore the impacts and implications of the pandemic for a diverse array of social groupings and industries, spanning the entire globe. In our fifth and final (for now) volume, we are pleased to partner with APCO Worldwide to explore what COVID-19 has meant to the travel and tourism industry—and how that industry is changing to become more resilient and stronger.

Producing this series has at times been a trying adventure for the Diplomatic Courier team. This is a difficult and confusing time for all of us, but it has felt important and rewarding to bring exposition of the impacts of the pandemic that goes beyond headlines, politics, infection counts, and deaths. The social and economic impacts of COVID-19 are far reaching and we are seeing radical transformation in response to these challenges in nearly every sector. We have been incredibly privileged to work with great partner organizations to bring this series to you. We are especially grateful to close out the series on a strong note with APCO, exploring industries that has been rocked to their very core by the pandemic.

Throughout the production of this volume, we have been struck by the innovations undertaken to survive this trying time. Most striking is how these innovations are poised not only to help travel and tourism endure, but catapult into the future a stronger sector, which will serve customers safely and efficiently.

In this edition, experts from APCO Worldwide and their network take on an array of questions. COVID-19 itself is a daunting challenge, but so are the variety of national policy responses and the need to allay customer anxieties about travel and conditions at destinations. These experts explore technological approaches—how does industry use digital technology to make things safer—and also query what kind of policies governments can take on to encourage safe travel. This is particularly critical when we consider how many national economies rely on tourism for a significant chunk of their GDP.

The good news amid all of this is that destinations around the world have found ways not only to make travel safe, but to address concerns of travelers who rightly want to safeguard their health as they venture back out into the world. Our experts emphasize the need for industry to turn to stakeholders to better understand their wants and needs while also considering both the opportunities and challenges around adopting digital technologies and big data to empower change. While the challenges are almost overwhelming, the industry is responding admirably. This is critical, as seamless travel is necessary not only for our global economic well-being but also for ensuring we remain a global community at a time when world-spanning challenges are proliferating.

Diplomatic Courier is incredibly grateful to APCO Worldwide and all our other partners throughout the series. We are also grateful to you, our readers, for sticking with us. We hope you enjoy this final edition as much as we enjoyed bringing it to you. Please stay as safe and happy as you can as 2020 comes to a close.

Article by