NEW YORK — Finn Partners has created a global travel advisory board, whose members include international industry experts, as part of the agency’s ongoing effort to position the sector for post-pandemic success.

Dr. Taleb Rifai, a former World Tourism Organization secretary general, and David Scowsill, former president/CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council, are founding members of the board.

Debbie Flynn, Finn’s travel & tourism global practice leader, is leading the initiative, the goal of which is pooling expertise from Finn’s global health, tech, public affairs and sustainability practices supporting travel clients in their recovery from the devastating impact of Covid-19.

“The travel industry will rebound at different speeds, by country and by sector, over the next two to three years,” Scowsill (pictured) said. “Domestic travel is already rebounding, as consumers stay closer to home. International leisure travel will start to return as infection rates come down, vaccines get rolled out and testing regimes are put in place in each country.

"Key to everything will be communication — by governments, by tourism boards and by travel suppliers — to ensure that consumers will regain trust, feel safe, and travel with confidence once more,” he said.

Travel & tourism, among the sectors hardest hit by the pandemic, accounts for 10% of the global GDP, meaning its recovery is key to averting further economic disaster. The UN’s World Tourism Organization estimated that international travel dropped 70% in 2020, bringing it back to levels of 30 years ago.

Said Flynn: “Since the beginning of the pandemic we have found in particular our work for the 15 plus tourism boards we represent globally has required collaboration from many other Finn practice areas, in particular health, tech and sustainability. Dr. Taleb and David, with their many years of combined government and private sector experience, will be an essential part of the future advisory and communications role we will be playing at every level of government that crosses with tourism.”