Tackling the challenges facing industry recovery
Logistics and supply chain issues, labour shortages and inflationary pressures on consumer spending were among the key themes discussed in The APTRA Exchange, a session arranged in cooperation with the Asia Pacific Travel Retail Association (APTRA).
The conversation was led by Dermot Davitt, with speakers including APTRA President and King Power Group (Hong Kong) CEO Sunil Tuli, Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) CEO Liz Ortiguera, Diageo Global Travel APAC, MENA and India Commercial Director Sandra Tassilly and Partnerwise Boardroom CEO Salvatore Arico.
Sunil Tuli introduced the session, saying: “As we began to emerge from the crisis at the beginning of this year, there was excitement everywhere. Things were coming back. Travel was starting again, restrictions were being lifted slowly but surely.
APTRA President Sunil Tuli: Critical to air the issues facing the regional industry
“However, were we ready for it? Are we ready for it now? Staff were let go. So they found other means to survive. Now that things are coming back, there is a massive shortage of manpower, be it at security, baggage handling, immigrations, service staff at retail and F&B outlets.”
He touched upon the war in Ukraine, the energy crisis and supply shortages, noting that the aim of the session was to try to understand the problems that lie ahead and develop collaborative solutions to navigate the headwinds.
Liz Ortiguera noted that many more travellers, especially affluent ones, place a premium on conscious travel and sustainability today.
Liz Ortiguera: The behaviour of travellers is changing and the character of recovery is going to be different than what went before
Ortiguera said that key markets to watch in 2023 include West Asia, South Asia, Middle East and Polynesia. But she said that the picture is dynamic because of the many changes in border and visa policies.
She said: “We are seeing a travel surge right now but that will calm down. For now rising prices are based on capacity. We have seen business class fares rise to two to five times more than before the pandemic.”
She also highlighted new consumer trends, including a focus on experiences and wellness, conscious consumers and conscious communities.
On the supply chain challenge, Sandra Tassilly said of COVID-19: “It forced us to have a growth mindset, in which we became extremely agile and ensured trusted communication with our customers and our retailers.
Sandra Tassilly: Building stronger partnership in the channel through the crisis
Salvatore Arico: Scarcity of resources is a key challenge
APTRA Exchange speakers, from left: Sunil Tuli, Liz Ortiguera, Sandra Tassilly, Salvatore Arico and Dermot Davitt
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