World Panel
Viewpoint 2 April 2020

COVID-19: A stress test for sustainable development in hospitality?

Sustainability in Hospitality

— 22 experts shared their view

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This viewpoint was created by
Willy Legrand, Professor of Hospitality Management at the IUBH International University
Sam Laakkonen
Contingent Managing Director - Sustainability at Techstars

My focus is technology innovation and it seems that COVID-19 has already inspired a lot of new thinking and solutions. It has been extremely uplifting recently to see viable new concepts including more effective technology-driven infection testing, machine learning-based predicting of virus transmission hotspots and leveraging AI to reduce the development cycle of new vaccines. Many of these recent innovations can also be applied to other problems and there are already use cases for climate change-related issues. Possibilities in leveraging new technology combined with the aggressive intervention tactics applied to the pandemic, offer us perhaps one of the best blueprints for dealing with climate change. I, therefore, believe that if the hospitality industry is able to look past the short term catastrophic consequences and is able to shift thinking to “ensuring making a profit today does not endanger our ability to make a profit tomorrow”, there might perhaps be a silver lining to the current crisis. 

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