Webinars and predictions

It is all still about the virus

by Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Georg Arlt FRGS FRAS

Webinars, online conferences, Zoom panel discussions – we are all getting used to meet each other as electronic ghosts rather than in the flesh. The electronic meetings are however not only saving tons of time, money and pollution, they also provide form of non-hierarchical communication not given in face-to-face events. Signe Jungersted, a Danish colleague, can be granted the invention of integrating (not very subtly) emoji-coded speaking notes into the Zoom background. Others take their machine into beautiful nature settings to stand out of the crowd. Sli.do and similar software allow you to collect the most popular questions during the live session and for those, who could not make it at that time or are living in the wrong time zone, recorded versions are still available afterwards.

Still that means missing out on the biggest joy in the world, which is – according to Al Pacino, may he live another 80 years – finishing the second whisky and knowing that the third one is coming, in the company of colleagues after a long conference or fair day.

I am looking forward to my next active participation in a webinar, which will be the second in the AGB Webinar Series called Road to Tourism Recovery. It will take a 90 minutes look at the recovery of tourism and in particular the key Chinese tourism segment. It is running on May 7th, starting at 09:00 h Central European Summer Time / 15:00 h Hong Kong time. The panellists will be Ben Lee, Managing Partner at IGamiX, Prof. Glenn McCartney, Associate Professor of International Integrated Resort Management at the University of Macau, and myself. To register for free, please use: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_mJ7qRgeVRTCnpSQr-bTx7g.

Most of the webinars of course cover the topic of post-virus tourism, even though nobody has really any clue of what exactly will happen in the coming months. Christian Watts, CEO of Magpie, published a great graph in an article titled The only travel industry prediction you need, available on https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/only-travel-industry-prediction-you-need-christian-watts/?articleId=6655721642020478976.

Source: The only travel industry prediction you need, Christian Watts, April 14th, 2020, LinkedIn

It looks very smart and precise, but, as he writes in case you don’t get the point of the graph: “The axes are not marked. The timeline is not defined, and the detailed numbers are to throw you off track and add credibility. I assume the detailed number part worked as intended.”

I fully agree with Christian. We have to talk about the future – that is the job of experts and scientists, but should not pretend to know that by 2022 the number of arrivals in the Asia-Pacific region will be according to the middle scenario exactly 849.19 million. You may have noticed in the past that COTRI’s forecasts rather would say approximately 850 million in such circumstances. That sounds less precise, but, after the biggest Black Swan since “Little Boys” appearance over Hiroshima, is still coming with a double-digit percentage of uncertainty.

Hopefully, this will be another lesson of CoViD-19: Nassim Nicholas Taleb was right, when he wrote in his book The Black Swan in 2007, that the world is not moving forward in a linear way, but that history is shaped by Highly Improbable events.

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Georg Arlt and the COTRI WEEKLY wish you a healthy week.