COVID-19: Courage During Uncertain Times

Alina Xiang
President & CEO
March 27, 2020

I am writing to you from my home in Irvine, California where my family and I are doing our part by staying home. It’s been an agonizing few months as COVID-19 wreaks havoc on both lives and livelihoods across the globe. For us in the travel and tourism sector, this has been a particularly unsettling time, one with serious financial implications that impact us all personally and professionally.

I worry about the health and safety of my teams across China, India and the U.S; I worry about the recovery time and how quickly consumer confidence and purchasing activity will return; I worry about how cash flow is impacting businesses across our sector. And I know I’m not alone.

Tourism professionals who have weathered the aftermath of 9/11, the recession, terrorist attacks, natural disasters and more have never seen anything quite like this. There is no case study or best practice manual to navigate a world on lockdown. Staying home is the opposite of what we’re charged to do as destination managers and job creators.

While it’s hard to see beyond the crisis—especially as the outbreak evolves globally—history has shown us that there will be a recovery.

As global and local leaders work toward suppressing the virus and shortening the duration of the economic shock, we too can take steps toward preparing for an economic restart. How we choose to respond now will have a lasting impact.

While the road ahead will be difficult, I know we can do this by taking care of our teams, our clients and our partners to the best of our abilities. Tough decisions will undoubtedly need to be made, but we must have the courage to keep going. The passion we all feel when we travel, discover, taste and connect is a flame not easily extinguished.