“The random power of disruption is no stranger to our own sector as it thrives on disruption. We expect it and we have learned to deal with it. The world’s most successful tourism companies are those which will embrace disruption and focus on the benefits of reinvention and innovation.”
That was the message from World Travel & Tourism Council president David Scowsill as he opened the organisation’s Global Summit in Madrid today.
The theme of this year’s WTTC Global Summit is ‘Disruption and Reinvention,’ which will be discussed by 50 leaders from across politics, celebrity, business and the tourism sector.
Speakers include José Manuel Barroso, former president of the European Commission; Ana Botín, executive chairman, Banco de Santander; Petra Nemcova, founder, Happy Hearts Fund; and Richard Leakey, founder, Turkana Basin Institute.
Scowsill told the 1,100 delegates that disruption and reinvention of the sector, of whole industries, of business models was a positive, organic process driven by the consumer:
“Reinventing the customer experience is key, because at the heart of this era of almost unparalleled disruption, are the shifting trends and expectations of the consumer.
“We must never lose sight of that.
“It is the consumer who drives all this change, and it is the consumer that leaps quickly to new brands that satisfy their demands.
“Observers over the years have prematurely announced the demise of charter airlines, tour operators, leisure travel agents, and global distribution systems – all of which have not only survived and thrived.
“Indeed, the dismantling of existing business models, fuelled by today’s enabling digital technologies, is cutting a disruptive swathe through so much or our industry, from hotels to cruising to car rental to airlines.
“The fast growth of mobile applications is rapidly changing consumer habits, and not just amongst younger travellers.
“It is becoming a serious game-changer for our industry.
“Social media has come of age as a powerful two-way communications channel, which is a significant force to be reckoned with.
“Everywhere we look; the traditional is being contested and disrupted by the shock of the new.
“In response, established industry players continue to reinvent the way that they do business.”
The 2015 WTTC Global Summit, which is the most influential annual gathering of tourism leaders, is being hosted by the Comunidad de Madrid and Ayuntamiento de Madrid, supported by the Ministerio de Industria, Energía y Turismo del Gobierno de España.
The World Travel & Tourism Council is the global authority on the economic and social contribution of tourism.
It promotes sustainable growth for the industry, working with governments and international institutions to create jobs, to drive exports and to generate prosperity.
WTTC’s annual Global Summit brings together over 1,000 delegates to discuss the opportunities, challenges and issues facing the industry, while its Tourism for Tomorrow Awards recognise the industry’s power to be a positive force in sustainability.
For almost 25 years, WTTC has been the voice of this industry globally.