Aviation experts discuss ways to reinvigorate industry
A two-day Aviation-Tourism Recovery Forum hosted by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport and Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism wrapped Wednesday with experts from around the world providing possible solutions to revive the aviation and tourism industries.
Experts from around the world, including Conrad Clifford, regional vice president for the Asia-Pacific region at the International Air Transport Association (IATA), and Fang Liu, secretary general of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), took part in the online event held to discuss the serious situation faced by the aviation and tourism industries following the Covid-19 outbreak.
The IATA is a trade association representing around 260 airlines from around the world, and the ICAO is a specialized agency of the United Nations.
“To safely recover the aviation industry that has become stagnant due to Covid-19, taking preventive measures [against the virus] and pushing for a harmonized recovery system to regain travelers’ trust in air travel should be prioritized,” said Land Minister Kim Hyun-mee in a statement.
“This year has been the worst year in aviation history for all airlines,” said Clifford during the first session of the speech on Tuesday. “We estimate that within the second half of the year, airlines will burn through something like 77 billion dollars of funds — mostly just [by] sitting on the ground... Airlines don’t have the financial reserves to wait for vaccines to be available sometime next year. Most important of all, borders need to be reopened so airlines can get back to flying and generating incomes again.”
He added that “international travel is safer than other activities which have restarted.”
Vinoop Goel, IATA’s Asia-Pacific regional director of airports and external relations, said that “international travel is safe. It should not be subject to measures that are more restrictive than those applied in the domestic economy,” while pointing out quarantine periods as one of the factors driving down travel demand on people’s concerns for catching the virus.
He suggested establishing a baseline level of risk, like determining the impact of risk mitigation measures and identifying secondary risks such as false positive cases.
During the second session held Wednesday, Prof. Jeong Ran-soo, an adjunct professor teaching tourism at Hanyang University, suggested the introduction of insurance for tourists and to provide restrictive tour programs flying on chartered planes with minimal contact points.
“Once the vaccine becomes prevalent, the purpose of the tourism industry should be reconsidered. Instead of focusing on the quantitative growth of the tourism industry, which has been the case over the past years, demands for more varied types of tours should be met from group sightseeing, like tourists looking for long-term travel or business travel,” Jeong added.
BY JIN MIN-JI [firstname.lastname@example.org]
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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