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Skift was founded on a simple premise: Travel is the world’s largest industry and yet, no one seems to treat it as such. Over the past eight years, our goal as a publication has been to cover this industry in the way it deserves: To scrutinize its various sectors under the microscope, while also staying maniacally focused on the macro impact the industry has on the world.
Then came the unprecedented crisis we are now living through, one which first and foremost affected the travel industry, and then radiated out into all corners of the economy. In a way, the tragedy proved the very thesis of Skift. That is, the world — and its economy — is facilitated by travel. Without it, things quickly and literally come to a halt.
So where does that leave the media that covers the travel industry? How do we cover this crisis, and eventual recovery, with the right mix of skepticism, optimism, realism, and maybe even a cautious dose of hope? How do we avoid being cheerleaders, while still believing in the power of travel? And what role does the media play in making the travel industry a better one when it finally gets to the other side — whenever that is.
To answer some of those questions, three members of the Skift team recently joined Forward_LIVE, an international community and a space for debate to share knowledge and new ideas in the travel industry. Joining the conversation was Rafat Ali, Skift’s co-founder and CEO; Tom Lowry, editor-in-chief; and Rosie Spinks, global tourism reporter.
They discussed the state of travel media — as well as media covering travel — during the coronavirus crisis. Topics included when the mainstream media does (and doesn’t) pay attention to the travel industry, the traditional trade media’s limitations in covering the industry, as well as how Skift views our role moving forward.
“Historically, the role of the travel in the larger world is not recognized. It’s the biggest global force, it’s the biggest globalization engine,” Ali said. “And yet it doesn’t get addressed at the policy level, at the local level, state level, national level, international level with the heft that it should. And so ironically, one of the things that we’ve been writing about is that the world is now realizing that travel is the most consequential sector in the world — by the fact that the world is not traveling.”
You can watch the 30 minute chat in the video above. Thank you to Fabian Gonzalez of Forward_LIVE for having us.