Inaugural Conference

INAUGURAL CONFERENCE:

Enrique Navarro and Marc Fuster tell us how extremely sensitive tourism is to health shocks. The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly affected, not only because of the risk that tourists are affected at the destination, but also because of the mobility restrictions that have been carried out by the governments of each country.

In June, the Government launches a Plan to promote the tourism sector around 5 lines of action:

  • Regain confidence in safe destination.
  • Marketing and promotion.
  • Improvement of the comprehensive knowledge model.
  • Measures for the reactivation of the sector.
  • Improvement of the competitiveness of the tourist destination.

It has been seen how the pandemic has boosted the scientific effort, and this effort should be extended to other fields, such as tourism research. It is the moment to unite diverse investigations, to network and to innovate in the strategies.

It is expected that in 2021 we will receive a package of aid, with two clear packages: digitization and sustainability. Examples of sustainability would be drones to monitor beaches, safety use times on these, control their pollution. On the other hand, from the point of view of digitization, create digital markets where tourists can learn and acquire everything they want for their experience. Create an information system that offers us systems of recommendable activities where companies can join together to offer all kinds of activities and that serve the public administration to recommend them.

Another bet for the future, and present, for the tourism sector is rural tourism, since it has fewer crowds and open environment. Work, promote and study on this type of tourism so that it can be developed and carried out in the best possible way.

TABLE 1: COVID, guilty or innocent?

We begin this table with Covadonga Ordoñez giving a short introduction about the topic of this: COVID19, guilty or innocent?

On the other hand, introducing his colleagues, Professor Tomás Mazón (retired but currently carrying out an investigation on COVID19) explains his extensive curriculum. Secondly, Dr. Josep Bernabéu Mestre, doctor of medicine and professor of science medicine. Thirdly, we are received by the speaker Victoria Puche Francés, general director of the hotel "Maya Alicante" and the hotel "Gala", being also director of the provincial association of hotels in Alicante.

Let's solve the question of the theme of this table which is the following:

COVID19, guilty or innocent?

Tomás Mazón answers, explaining that after retiring he has been investigating COVID19 and the tourism that he has sent to hotels in Spain. In the investigation, he wonders if the clientele has changed as a result of COVID. The conclusion he was able to draw is that foreign tourism has disappeared and that national tourism does not help. Furthermore, Spaniards do not travel as much and have less purchasing power, therefore, they spend much less.

Many hospitality professionals have had to lower prices to attract the attention of tourists. Tomás Mazón also wondered at some point the needs of customers in the hotel due to COVID19: gel, cleaning, distance ... but what he is most concerned about is the cancellation policy. In the short term, not all jobs will be recovered, and in the medium term either, due to new technologies. The big question to answer is, how has the public and private sector managed this?

Criticisms against the central government, the private sector is doing well because companies are the ones that contribute capital and those who care the most that everything goes well since their profit depends on it.

The last question and perhaps the one that concerns us the most is the following:

Will tourism be the same again?

The general answer is yes, but we cannot know the exact moment. Therefore, we should not feel worried about something that is destined to happen.

Mazón ends by encouraging us to keep hope.

On the other hand, Josep informs us about the direct impact of the pandemic on tourism. This forces us to reflect on the future of tourism by changing the model or not, if it is necessary to broaden our view, it also explains if the pandemic could have been avoided, at this time it is of great importance to correct the causes that have led to the arrival COVID19. Action must be taken and sustainable development sought. We must think about the transformation of the global economic system. There is an action that is totally interesting and of great relevance and that is that rural tourism has to be complemented with the rest of types of tourism, thus creating a window of opportunity with:

  • Promotion of gastronomic tourism
  • Sustainable gastronomy local product.

Although we have a great advantage and that is that we have all the elements to create a differentiating offer in gastronomy and we must rethink the way of doing politics and public-private collaboration. We also have to establish objectives and design an action plan with public-private collaboration and establish measures to ensure compliance, and the key to this is to establish a dialogue between all the organizations involved in tourism.

Victoria Puche launches to answer the first question explaining that the tourist crisis comes as a result of the health crisis, stating that although we have been becoming leading gastronomic references and we must continue working on it, both that and the rest of the factors that are They are perfecting in tourism. The second question: there are more tour operators for sun and beach tourism than rural tourism because the former is more crowded and that is, on average, those who book a rural destination do so without a tour operator.

Mrs. Puche also states that sustainability is very difficult to implement in hotels that are not so large and they ask for financial help for this.

Antonio Pérez Pérez also answers the first question by emphasizing people, and it is that he exposes that the warmth of people who meet people is the basis of tourism.

We have found 9 months exempt from international tourism although some destinations such as Benidorm anticipated the measures taken by the government in March. He explains all the advantages of Benidorm by saying everything that they have carried out this summer to sustain themselves despite the crisis and that is that it is not only just the data but the analysis of the data.

Covadonga  as moderator summarizes with the word hope for the future, with everyone's involvement, dialogue, listening to the other parties to propose solutions with a common goal, the common goal of returning to the top.

Victoria, for her part, encourages students to continue with the tourism sector, encouraging us not to give up, explaining with determination that there is going to be a recovery and that it will probably be much better.

Lastly, there is the mayor of Benidorm Antonio Pérez Pérez, who since 2015 has been vice president of the commission.

TABLE 2: Post-COVID 19 age

It´s formed by: Indira Amaya, Carlos Pérez, Raquel Huete, Mayte García Córcoles.

The debate of table number 2 begins with Indira Amaya who points out that we are facing a key moment to look for alternatives and see how we are going to face the immediate future with a tourism point of view, from 2021 onwards. It ensures that as tourism agents and as a society as a whole, we cannot think of rural tourism as an immediate alternative, but rather with prior planning, study and prior analysis. Also, Indira points out that there is no intention to compete with the coast.

Next, she gives the floor to Carlos Pérez, who affirms that we have never found ourselves in a scenario like the one we are right now and obviously, the tourism model has been seriously affected and modified. He claims that he has witnessed multiple last minute hotel cancellations due to COVID.

Third, Raquel Huete takes the floor, she maintains that Alicante is a great province and that we must protect it, she emphasizes that it is important to ensure sustainable and respectful consumption.

Fourth, Mayte García Córcoles adds to the debate that she is enthusiastic when she thinks about the future and sees what has happened as an option to learn and adapt to changes, and points out that this year 2020 has been a tough year with complicated SWOFTs and certainly unpredictable. She makes a note about the effort they have had to do adapting to the new circumstances of COVID, registering ERTEs, monitoring all the information, adjusting taxes, etc. However, she affirms that the tourism sector is a “sector of smiles”, and it can be said that the most versatile people are being demanded. When a person is really prepared it would be easier to get a job in the sector at the moment.

TABLE 3: bank of experiences 

The following questions will be discussed at this table:

  • What are the most important and effective actions that are being taken in this COVID-19 scenario and how is a post-COVID-19 scenario viewed in tourism?
  • What solutions can technology, medicine and business ethics provide to create safer environments for the health of tourists?
  • What can we do to continue presenting the Spain brand as safe tourism, recover international tourism and continue promoting national tourism?
  • Is it possible to put together a roadmap for a Post COVID-19 tourism scenario that is sustainable socio-economic-environmental and transdisciplinary?

Ana Ibáñez as moderator introduces Pablo Guzmán, Enrique Medina, Ángel Rodríguez, Montserrat Rodríguez Crespo and Rosalía Mayor, who is missing but is being replaced by Pablo, who comments that it has been a pretty bad year for tourism, providing data . In summer his hotel has worked very well, he is happy. His hotel has had to close after fighting a lot not to avoid it, he says that the situation is hard but it will open again and with much more energy. During the first lockdown, they kept the hotel closed until the 26th of June 2020 with the uncertainty of if customers would arrive, but it was finally better than expected. His theory is that tourism is not dead, it is waiting. Then the number of contagio increased and they had to close. He hopes to recover international tourism and looks to the future with positivity and optimism.

On the other hand, Enrique Medina explains his project to clean and disinfect viruses using ions in an environment. He also intends the sterilization of masks and sanitary materials, to be reused. His team is generally made up of engineers who develop the technology but need to test it, they are currently testing it and continue to do so, in fact, they have received quite a few awards for these projects.

They were in a very good position in the aeronautical market until the pandemic arrived and from that point they decided to use their resources to try to improve the current pandemic situation.

Mr. Ángel Rodríguez, for his part, begins by launching a message of encouragement to tourism students. In his particular case, he comments that Meliá was one of the first to take the first security measures with COVID19 since they have hotels in Asia. As a first measure, Meliá created a program of sanitary measures that were in balance with the customer's enjoyment. Stay safe with the Meliá certification program. They want to keep their team of workers, even if they are doing ertes, they want to get back all their workers. While they are being given training courses to achieve versatility. What was previously unthinkable with 10% occupancy is now fortunate. Lastly, he talks about digitization, which is very expensive and they have already started but are still working on it. The safe destination is key for tourists to come to Spain, and he is aware that it has not been done well so far but he is hopeful that this will resurface. Ángel does not consider the end of this model of tourism , he believes that it will never end, in fact, he ends up trusting that we will come out of this crisis with positivism.

Montse comments that effective actions are being taken to try to save tourism, but with the difficulty that befalls us, she sees it as very complicated for the POSTCOVID scenario. She considers the role of technology and medicine essential to create safer environments but it also has to be the citizen who puts part of their effort in this. In addition, she proposes to train tourism students very well, who will be the ones to sustain this crisis. This is the time to train more.

It is important that political decisions offer security to the tourist to travel.

She sends a hopeful message to the tourism sector.

Elvira Rodríguez begins by stating that tourists feel distrustful when traveling, but that the sector has the help of journalists to build trust. It is important to tackle problems before they come. She proposes an advertising campaign accompanied by actions to promote the good image of tourism and the confidence of tourists. She says that these days people pay much more attention to influencers than to any other type of communicator. She trusts in the help that all professionals who are somehow involved in tourism can provide to return to tourism and also in a sustainable way.

Table 4: Possible road map toward the formation of a “Neo-Neo” proposal. Viable tourism.

We begin with the moderator Rosario Navalón presenting her companions: Herick Campos, Jorge Pereira, Carlos Ramos, Alba Navalón and Cristina Arroyo.

Doctor Jorge Pereira takes the floor, he starts by sharing a presentation. He will focus on the issue of resilience, especially in those things that were doing well before the pandemic.

Business profitability is composed of the general environment, the specific environment and the company (competitive advantage).

In the post covid phase , to return to the previous situation, it is necessary to invest in dynamic capacities, so that change becomes routine in the company.

He adds that dynamic capabilities are people, human resources, are going to have a positive influence on digitalisation. In addition, human resources should be focused on trying to address sustainable practices. These two capacities together with quality result in costs.

Human resources and quality management explain sustainability, that impacts on differentiation. 

Jorge concluded by saying that to be resilient we need to regain competitive advantage.

 

The second speaker is Alba Navalón, begins by saying that there is a symbiosis between economy, tourism and health.

Tourism must contribute to sustainability and resilience. She highlights some strategies such as strengthening leadership, that is to say, being able to generate change be active and proactive, involving the local population.

Another strategy would be to support local industry, there is a need for active policies to support workers, invest in innovation, provide economic support to businesses.

Finally, it is a good time for companies to integrate sustainability.

Alba points out that despite the vaccine, there will be a time when we have to coexist with the covid, and behaviors during travel will change. Therefore in this new era there are some variables to attend to such as: the massification of the destination, the number of guests, activities with the necessary social distance.

She concludes saying that the crisis may offer a great opportunity to restore tourism to a better path.

 

Next, it is Carlos Romero's turn, he points out that this is a great opportunity to reflect and continue sharing a recently released study. This is a questionnaire aimed at destinations that are part of smart cities. The most affected have been accommodation, catering and events. In addition, in the summer months, international tourism has fallen a lot, national tourism has remained a little more. The biggest impact has been on urban destinations, after sun and beach and inland destinations. He adds that many destinations have been caught without elaborate contingency plans. However, the destinations that have developed it have focused on the adequacy of protection equipment for public spaces, risk assessment and mechanisms to collect information on the pandemic. The sun and beach destinations have taken initiatives in time, then inland and finally urban. 

Tourism hasn't been the generator of large outbreaks of contagion, but it has been greater in urban destinations. Therefore the problems are different according to the typology. Some of the difficulties that have arisen are disinformation, shortage of human resources, lack of coordination, and lack of communication with the private sector. The pandemic requires high adaptive capacity and a breakthrough in digitisation.

The penultimate speaker is Herick Campos, who begins by saying that it can always be improved, models such as the sun and beach or the residential are valid, since we are a reference at national and international level. Try to make a model of co-management with companies and universities. It is very important to have a road map, to analyze where we are, hospitality, a law that implants sustainability, the ethical code of the Comunidad Valenciana. Finally, is also important the strategic plan for tourism , which defines what we want to be. 

He insists we are the first community to have a tourism network. 

He concludes saying that the most difficult thing for a manager is to know that there is a roadmap that you cannot abandon at the same time as there is a crisis. We must learn from this pandemic.

 

Finally, it is the turn of Cristina Arroyo, who begins by sharing a presentation focused on the tourism management models that are valid until now, in particular in the Comunidad Valenciana. From their point of view, it has been.

In the community has taken one of the measures that promoted exceltur that is intra-community tourism, in the community the "Bon Viatge" has been a success. She adds that rural tourism has benefited this summer. 

New model respecting the needs of the environment and people, that is, covering expenses and making money by offering quality and making it a more sustainable destination

The pandemic has brought some changes, teleworking and less office or business travel. The safe reopening of international borders. Bringing quality and safety to health. Encouraging personal and work conciliation.

 

Table 5: We are more.

The debate begins and all the committees that have participated in this event are presented.

Table 5: We have the speakers Andrea Muñoz (student of tourism), Antonio Aragón (student of tourism), Renzo Nassutti (student of tourism), Jaime Rodes (student of tourism), Cristina Galbis (student of tourism), Priscila Gamero (student of tourism), Antonella Barsaglini (student of Advertising and Public Relations), Mar Navarro (student of Advertising and Public Relations and Stefan Carrizo (member of ROND).

 

First Ana Irles speaks and thanks all the speakers for their participation, she gives the floor to Andrea Muñoz to tell her experience in the event as a speaker and participant of the scientific committee, then Antonio Aragon speaks and tells us his experience as a speaker, passing the word to Renzo Nassutti who is part of the organizing committee and tells details about the creation of the event, like Jaime Rodes who is part of the computer logistics. Cristina Galbis and Priscila Gamero have continued with the experiences that make up the organizing committee. They have given the floor to Antonella Barsaglini, a student of Advertising and Public Relations, who has been part of the communication committee and has created an advertising strategy together with her partner, the speaker Mar Navarro in order to enhance the visibility of the event in social networks.

 

They give the floor to Stefan Carrizo who tells us a little about the platform. 

Finally, there is a making off video (a video uploaded on youtube) in which you can see different images of the students who have participated in this event. Ana speaks and thanks the organizers, participants and teachers.