The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has launched a new report to help the sector’s stakeholders understand how cyber resilience is shaping the travel and tourism sector and plan for a safer and more robust future.
The report – ‘Codes to resilience’ written in collaboration with Microsoft – draws on comprehensive research and in-depth interviews with cyber security experts in leading travel and tourism organisations such as MasterCard, JTB, and Carnival Corporation, among others.
It shows that whilst the COVID-19 pandemic has propelled the world and the sector into a more digital future, with the opportunities provided by digitalisation, new challenges have emerged, especially in cybercrime.
The report shows how digitalisation has become a strong enabler of business within the tourism sector and, given the international nature of the sector, it looks at the role of legislation around individual data protection. According to the report, mitigating cyber risk must remain a priority for the sector.
Julia Simpson, WTTC President and CEO, said: “Technology and digitalisation play a key role in making the whole travel experience more seamless, from booking a holiday, to checking in for a flight or embarking on a cruise.
“But the impact of cyberattacks carries enormous financial, reputational and regulatory risk.”
This critical report reveals four key issues to address in order to improve cyber protection and enhance resilience: securing identity data, securing business operations, understanding the impact of COVID-19 and managing global legislation.
According to the report, certain actions can help businesses better prepare to repel an attack, while laying the foundation to support long-term cyber resilience. Educating and training all staff, expanding risk security beyond the physical workplace, employing a zero-trust approach to cyber security, and transparency, among others, have been recommended by industry experts as good practices.
Cyber resilience is a crucial element to the future of the tourism sector, as cyber systems continue to facilitate and enhance activities between the sector’s stakeholders.
The cost of cybercrime
During a panel session at the tourism body’s Global Summit event, held in Manila last week, industry leaders heard that cybercrime had cost the global economy US$1 trillion and could reach a staggering US$90 trillion by 2030.
According to the WTTC Economic Impact Report, in 2019, before the pandemic stopped travel in its tracks, the travel and tourism sector generated more than US$9.6 trillion to the global economy.
However, in 2020, the pandemic brought the sector to an almost complete standstill, causing a massive 50% drop, representing a severe loss of nearly US$4.5 trillion.
Digitisation has played and will continue to play a pivotal role in travel and tourism’s growth and recovery from COVID-19. It is therefore essential for the sector to integrate cyber security and cyber resilience to continue its recovery from the pandemic while supporting its growth in the future.
To read the report in full, click here.