The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic had a devastating impact on the travel industry. International travel ground to a halt in 2020 as four-fifths of countries around the world closed their borders in an attempt to slow down the spread of the virus. The UN World Tourism Organisation estimates that international arrivals fell by 70-75% in 2020.
With border restrictions lifted across the EU and the UK, passenger travel is rapidly ramping up. Airlines and travel carriers are coping with a number of challenges, including increased demand, rising oil prices, staff shortages, flight cancellations, and transition to low-carbon.
This event will bring together travel industry professionals, consumer advocacy experts, and policymakers to discuss how the EU and UK travel industries are coping with the post-COVID rebound in tourism and how we can better build resiliency for the future. We will explore how travel providers can adapt to meet fast rising demand, scale up staffing, and deal with the impact of the war in Ukraine. We will also discuss how to protect passengers in times of uncertainty and explore how travel between the EU and UK is changing.
What will it take for the travel industry to recover? What steps are airlines and airports taking to minimise the chaos? Can we safeguard against future shocks? How can we create better assurances for consumers protection?
Ben Clatworthy – Ben is the Transport and Travel Correspondent for The Times. Ben began his career as a researcher at the BBC, before moving to The Times in 2016. Ben extensively covered the massive impact the Covid pandemic had on the travel sector, most notably on the aviation sector and the UK outbound tourism market. He also charted the changing rules imposed by European countries, as well as interviewing ministers in Spain, Greece, Portugal and Italy on the evolving situation.
ON THE PANEL:
Rhea Chatterjee – Rhea is the Assistant Section Secretary to the Civil Aviation and Tourism Services Sections of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF). Rhea’s strategic research was a key contributor to the ITF’s successful Ryanair campaign. Prior to joining the ITF, Rhea worked at the International Labour Organization (ILO). She has also organised in unions representing tourism and hospitality workers, refuse workers, and has participated in work to improve women and young workers’ participation and voice in the workforce across a number of sectors.
Simon McNamara – Simon is the UK & Ireland Country Manager for the International Air Transport Association (IATA). He has previously worked as the Director of Communications at Flybe and from 2012-2017 was Director General of European Regions Airline Association.
Bob Schumacher – Bob is the Director of Sales (United Kingdom, Ireland, Israel Jordan, South Africa and Off-line markets) for United Airlines. In this role, he is also responsible for United’s B2B marketing activities in Europe, as well as trade contact centres. Previously, Schumacher was Senior Director UK & Ireland for Continental Airlines. Prior to this, Schumacher worked for UK charter airline Air 2000, (now renamed and part of the TUI Group), and before that for British Midland at the newly-opened London City Airport. Bob is Chair of the Board of Airline Representatives, BAR-UK.
Pierpaolo Settembri – Pierpaolo is an EU official since 2007, currently working as Head of Unit for Coordination and Planning in the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE). In the Commission, he worked as Assistant to the Director-General in DG MOVE and as a coordinator for G7/G20 matters and external policies in the Secretariat-General. He previously worked also in the General Secretariat of the Council, dealing with development cooperation and international trade. Prior to joining the EU institutions, he has been a Fulbright Scholar and Global Emile Noël Fellow at New York University, and a researcher at the European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA) in Maastricht and at LUISS “Guido Carli” in Rome.
Christopher Snelling – Christopher joined Airport Operations Association (AOA) in May 2020. Previously he was Head of UK Policy at the Freight Transport Association where he worked for 14 years. Through his time there, Christopher led on policy issues across road, rail sea and air, with special focuses on environmental, fiscal and infrastructure issues. Prior to FTA, he worked for almost 10 years in public affairs, for RAC and a leading consultancy. He started his career as a researcher in the House of Commons.