"Covid-19 is climate change on warp speed" (Wagner, Mar.10, 2020). The current pandemic has catastrophic consequences on the hospitality sector. The ways the industry currently deals with the crisis (for example, see: COVID-19 - Survival Guide for the Hospitality Industry) offers a glimpse into the crisis management endeavors in building a business case for disaster and climate resiliency. Climate emergency is not dissimilar to the coronavirus threat, whereby 'both demand early aggressive action to minimize loss" (Cobb, Mar. 12, 2020). However, with hotel companies facing an existential crisis, or large-scale downsizing, what will be left of the sustainability programs and initiatives once this pandemic is overcome? Will we be starting from scratch or is the coronavirus crisis the opportunity to implement a swift change in risk assessment and management facing the climate crisis? What are the key lessons from the coronavirus crisis on how to deal with the climate emergency?
The COVID-19 outcome reminds us how essential it is to manage sustainably all the natural and cultural resources that define each destination – main assets in the hospitality industry. Hence, it is more urgent than ever to establish global strategies for the conservation of historic and natural patrimony, considering these as a main source for sustainable development. It is key to establish governmental policies and public-private alliances around tourism, considering the travel industry as one of the main strategies to reactivate regional economies. Moreover, these are times when the hospitality industry should invest in niche markets (from birding to gastronomy), finding out innovative ways to promote each destination's identity.
The global situation we are living nowadays poses challenging times for us all, but rest assured that we will thrive through solidarity, innovation, and resilience. I am confident that the hospitality industry will soon recover, as we all know how essential it is to travel. Tourism is a source of inspiration for everyone, everywhere, as we humans need to move, to explore, and to experience the diversity of nature and culture abroad. Travel makes us wiser and more empathic. It allow us to feel free. Eventually, COVID-19 will fade away. Your travel bucket list will not.