ITIC Global did make it to Madrid after all – if only for a virtual tour. An entertaining local guide dialled into the conference to show everyone around his favourite cafés, bars and markets in Spain’s capital, making everyone extremely hungry but also excited to try out his recommendations for themselves at ITIC Madrid in 2021.
Futurist Richard Watson was the first speaker of the day, walking everyone through his prediction of what the future of travel will look like after the pandemic. He spoke about geopolitical instability and heightened crime rates; but, on a less gloomy note, said he believes travel will bounce back eventually, even for businesses. He concluded: “The future will only contain what we put in it now – so we should imagine a future we want and make it happen now.”
A session focusing on industry challenges in Mexico and the Caribbean gave delegates a chance to discuss the ongoing issues of billing and access to care in this region of the world. The expert industry panelists all offered interesting insights into the issue of medical assistance in these often ‘troublesome’ locations, but also noted that the role of travel insurance, medical assistance and healthcare was becoming increasingly front of mind, in light of the travel issues brought about by the global pandemic.
An inspiring talk from US-based triathlon coach Kris Swarthout was next up, in which attendees were instructed to make their mental health a priority by taking 30 minutes each day to do some exercise. “Anything can be exercise,” proclaimed Kris, “so, do the things that make you happy, because those are the things that are going to last.”
A webinar about regional trends in fraud followed, with expert speakers discussing fraudulent trends they have been noticing. From an air ambulance transport that was wrongfully billed at $827,000, to individuals faking documents online, the speakers each went through case studies and discussed ways of preventing fraud in the future.
Rounding off the main sessions for the day was a panel session on cruise ship assistance in which the speakers assessed the impact of Covid-19 on the cruise industry, detailed how the assistance industry had responded to onboard outbreaks, and agreed that now was a time to reassess protocols around cruise evacuations, shore up networks and ensure clearer communication between all involved parties.
All the was left to do on the final day on ITIC Connected was to grab your cocktail shaker and join in the cocktail making masterclass. It was a thoroughly enjoyable and social way to end the day before the start of the 2020 ITIJ Awards. Cheers!