Key topics of discussion included tomorrow’s drivers in the travel, tourism and hospitality industry: talent, innovation and sustainable development - how to turn discussions into practical business applications by „walking the talk“ and creating new business models and action plans to become more attractive to Young Talent.
Three days of meetings provided a rich diversity of outstanding keynote speeches, interactive debates, breakout sessions, a CEO Think Tank, an academic meeting and a Start-up Innovation Award. The approach was three-generational with well-established industry figureheads interacting with the Next Generation and Young Talents from multiple disciplines.
The need to balance tourism growth and sustainability
The Queen Mother of Bhutan outlined Bhutan’s secret to success, an insistence on sustainable growth and national happiness and Taleb Rifai, Secretary General of the UNWTO emphasised that, in spite of existing challenges, tourism remains an overwhelming social power for good world peace and not just an economic driver.
Key challenges continue to be sustainable development and how this can be put into practice and not just spoken about, and “walk the talk” was the strapline of the Forum as a whole. Public and private sectors were urged to collaborate closely to identify urgent solutions to this problem. The enormous growth in our industry forces us to do more than we do today.
The sharing economy is influencing the future
Leading economist Jeremy Rifkin spoke about capitalism having given birth to the sharing economy and now being responsible for the welfare of this child. This shift is the key disrupter for how industry’s deal with the expectations and aspirations of Generation Y, which will be dominated by access to mobility rather than ownership. The impact of the sharing economy was reviewed from many different angles with the example of an extended European Union of over 1 billion inhabitants being highlighted as a prime digital target group. Airbnb Regional Manager Europe, Christopher Cederskog, showed a great interest of cooperating with existing businesses.
This social shift is a key driver for transformation, calling into question all conventional principles of marketing and commerce. The pyramid has been completely inverted with the consumer in the driving seat of all decision-making processes and becoming more important as opinion-formers than the brands marketing themselves. Whilst rating sites and companies such as Airbnb are perceived as a threat by traditional suppliers and operators they also present new opportunities for these companies to market themselves differently to new target audiences. The key to success is understanding clients’ expectations and exceeding them and about creating trust.
Academia and industry: hand in hand
The new academia meets industry meeting and many discussions between academia and industry showed the potential for better cooperation. Academia could play more of a role in assisting the sector/companies through research/training. There needs to be more in-depth exchange and a better understanding of each other’s expectations. Both sides have to make sure that we attract, foster and retain the best Young Talents for our industry, with private and public sectors seeking practical and inspirational solutions. The fast growth of our industry will demand for more Young Talents in the future.
World Tourism Forum Lucerne’s talent management programme again made an important contribution to this goal by inviting the best Young Talents and Next Generation representatives to Lucerne.
Guest Country Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan was the guest country at World Tourism Forum Lucerne 2015 and wooed the audience with its delicious cuisine and imagery. It is World Tourism Forum Lucerne’s clear intention to involve not only developed countries but also developing countries. The organizers are open for interested countries to become guest country of World Tourism Forum Lucerne 2017.
A visionary reflection on tomorrow’s way of travelling
Together with the existing Premium Partner of World Tourism Forum Lucerne (Etihad, Korn Ferry, PWC, myclimate, Europcar and Swisscontact/SECO) and the international media partner BBC World News, World Tourism Forum Lucerne is going to build on existing assets: personal exchange at top level and across industries and generations, strategic reflection, fostering Young Talents and identifying the brightest Start-up companies in the world. TheWTFL Think Tank will be strengthened as a visionary space for thinking about the future of the industry, and the strong involvement of Academia will make sure that we make the best use of the opportunities this cooperation can offer.
World Tourism Forum Lucerne is and will always be an independent organisation. We think this is of key importance for an open minded and future oriented exchange across industries and generations.
The next World Tourism Forum will take place from 3–5 May 2017, with the first interim Think Tank taking place in Baku, Azerbaijan in March 2016. The first World Tourism Forum China will take place in September 2016.
Lucerne, 27 April 2015
Martin Barth, General Manager
Reto Wittwer, Chairman of the Advisory Board