Skål International Taipei World Tourism Day Forum 2020

Digitalization, Localization, Branding, Present and future of Taiwan Tourism Digital Transformation for Tourism industry and welcoming disruptive challenges.

With the support from the Ministry of Transportation Taiwan Tourism Bureau, Skål International Taipei had delivered the second annual World Tourism Day Forum. The Forum showcased best practices examples of transformational change from travel & tourism experts domestically and internationally.  

The Year 2020 timeline has so far observed a major disruption and challenge for Global Travel and tourism.  Currently over 30 million people have been inflicted with the pandemic disease, and over 1 million deaths have been observed.  In the past World Tourism Day was a day to celebrate our success and achievement in Tourism development.  This year Skål International Taipei decided to create a platform for Skål members and interested tourism stakeholders to engage and showcase the possibilities of preparing for post-COVID recovery and business development.  Uniting collaboration amongst Asian regional Skål members via online, while encouraging local Skål members and travel related attendees was encouraged.   Attendees were represented from New Zealand, India, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland, Thailand, and etc., were in present to discuss ideas for preparation of change management in the Post COVID-19 era.

Taiwan Tourism Bureau Director General Mr. Shi-Chung Chang has strongly suggested through co-partnership with International Tourism Entities to focus on continued change management:  Taiwan’s current positive best practice in keeping COVID-19 under control is significant trustworthy values for Safety and Health, essential elements for good Tourism Brand equity.

With the supervision of MOT (Ministry of Transportation) TTB (Taiwan Tourism Bureau), Skål International Taipei has also invited with other professional tourism related organization to collaborate in this year 2020 World Tourism Day Forum: DTTA (Dream Travel Taiwan Association), Creative Tourism & Community Design Association in Taiwan, and RTM (Redefine Tourism Mixer). TTB Director General Chang in his opening speech had acknowledged Skål International Taipei significant contribution and dedication towards the tourism development. TTB has been proactively providing varying levels of resource support during this challenging period.  Prior to the pandemic, TTB has been an advocate for the development of eco-tourism and developing more sustainable/experience immersed domestic tourism.

Past NCC (National Communication Commission) Chair, Ms. Nicole Chan, also vice-chairwoman of Digital Transformation Association, was also in attendance.  She had expressed Taiwan’s significant success in combatting the pandemic was also through crossover application of digital tools and management.  Ex-legislator, Karen Yu (余宛如) had stressed that through digitalization, Taiwan can establish and transform itself to the next level.

Skål International World President, Peter Morrison via online Zoom meeting tool, had expressed “There will be no world recovery without Tourism!”. 

Tourism will be the initial light bearer for global economic recovery.  With the doorways of countries being shut closed, global economies will stagnant to minimal activity level.  

Skål International Taipei WTD Forum also had the honor of having two official foreign diplomatic representatives in attendance:  Ambassador of Belize, H.E. Diana C. Haylock and Ambassador of St. Lucia, Edwin Laurent.  In taking consideration of preventative health measures, the event was conducted under a hybrid format, 83 physical attendees at the Howard Plaza Hotel Taipei and over 60 attendees via Zoom online meeting.  

In consideration of the COVID-19 challenge, the two themes of this year’s Forum were digitalization imitative and redefining change for the new norm. Resources should be allocated towards Localize added value experience base for domestic tourism to evolve to the next level. International experts had provided insights of base practice and successful experiences. And above all, different strategies were shared for a practical transformation for the unprecedented post-COVID 19 era.   

During the morning digitalization session, Line Travel Japan CEO Mr. Kei Shibata (Skål Tokyo member) had shared the success of effective mobile communication tool to enhance tourism industry. This includes Location Based Push Messaging, Mobile Wallet x Loyalty Reward Program.  He had simultaneously stressed the importance of both content and influential marketing especially during post COVID-19 pandemic.   This will be a disruptor for more transformational change.  

The other oversea guest speaker via Singapore, Groups 360 Senior VP Mr. Steven Hopkinson had shared the importance of safety hygiene as 1st priority.  As for we had two domestic guest speaker, Mr. Tahan Lin, chairman from Back-Founder and Tripresso, Mr. Dean Wu, Operational Director.  Respectively, Mr. Lin shared that crowdfunding for a social cause was an economy driver.  Mr. Wu shared that digital roadmap for tourism transformational process has been accelerated due to COVID-19 pandemic.  RTM (Redefine Tourism Mixer) founder Mr. Daniel Cheng was the moderator to gather all the speakers to discuss professional predictions and insights towards digital transformation for Tourism.  

In the afternoon session, the theme that was discussed was new definition needed for the post Pandemic era.  Mr. Fabien Clerc, Swiss Tourism in Tokyo (Skål Tokyo Club President) had shared the 5 strategic plan of Switzerland. Specific best practice protocol was shared, with the new branding name called Swisstainability.  Sustainability is the focal value for his home country, and it is also a strength of Swiss Tourism.  Thus, this new lexicon, as they believe that they have the potential of being a global tourism leader.   

The second international speaker from Thailand MICE Chairman, Mr. Sumate Sudasna (Skål Bangkok member and official consultant for Taipei City Mayor Mr. Wen-je Ko) had shared the successes of (TAT)Tourism Authority of Thailand, we travel together initiative.  The stimulus has helped channel domestic tourism from weekend to weekday.  In addition, he had emphasized TAT invested heavily in local infrastructure to catalyze sustainable tourism.  

The third speaker, a longtime resident of Taiwan, Ms. Cheryl Robbins (Skål Taipei member).  She is a Taiwan Aboriginal culture expert where deep insights were shared. The fourth speaker, Mr. Chao-ting Wei, founder of Walk-in Taiwan, had shared some enlighten and inspirational success stories regarding Taiwan local tourism.  The fifth speaker from Hokkaido, Japan, Blandscape CEO Mr. Toshi Inoue had share the importance of mountains in his home country.  

As the final session, Mr. Ken Wu (a famous Taiwan travel blogger and DDTA ex-Secretary-General) was the moderator for a panel of different experts from TTB official, young startup firm, and established hospitality enterprise.

The overall meeting applies the best of local technology using the ‘hybrid’ format to insure safety and hygiene protocol.  A total of 121 in attendance via physical and virtual.  Skål International World President Peter Morrison (New Zealander) was in full attendance till closure.  He praised the quality of the Forum and its significance in alignment with the celebration of UNTWO World Tourism day.  He commented the success of engaging fellow Skål member from the Skål International member community, and more importantly Taiwan’s proven strength, especially the application of Internet technology.  

UNTWO has designated September 27th as the official World Tourism Day.

First and foremost, the objective is to improve the visibility and importance of tourism to both local and global society. Secondly it also has its value in culture, politics, and not the least local and global economy.