Stay Ahead: Insights from APCO

Earning Trust and Taking Clear Action are Central to Tourism’s Rebuild

Steve Earl, managing director of APCO Worldwide's London office, highlights how governments and the travel industry will need to earn trust through the actions that they take to revitalize tourism.You can also watch the webinar discussing these findings and other resources on APCO's Coronavirus Hub.
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"Trust was central to restoring a desire to travel, regardless of it being feasible, according to panellist James Watt, a former British Ambassador to Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon. It could only be earned by action that saw the appropriate level of medical provision and quarantine rules in place, but governments would need to be agile in both supporting the travel sector in its economic rebound and adapting to future rises in infections or changing conditions.

He predicted that leisure travel would pick up again relatively quickly once it could resume practically, but that the trust was needed to nurture a “confidence of enjoyment,” given it was a highly personal decision and people would look long and hard at each destination, its facilities and its risks before deciding to book."

How to “Show Up” for This Year’s Pride

John Vollmer, associate consultant, and Howard Pulchin, global creative director, discuss how can brands, companies and leadership can continue to support LGBTQ+ people during the pandemic and throughout the year:​

"The Gay Agenda—the real Gay Agenda—is the human craving to be true to ourselves. It is to receive the same basic human rights others take for granted: Workplace and healthcare protections, the freedom to marry whom we love, the simple pleasure of sharing details of our lives without disparaging remarks and the peace of mind to walk down a street without fear of brutal retaliation. And so, despite our pride, the Gay Agenda is the same as it was during the Stonewall riots. The same as it has been for centuries before.

While Pride is different this year, the meaning behind it is not. Let this be an opportunity to reflect and an opportunity to act. Let it be a chance to use your voice to demand the opportunity for equal treatment so we can be ourselves. Give next year’s Pride reason to be more prideful than ever before." 

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APCO colleagues are sharing on-the-ground insights and analysis on the impact of COVID-19 in markets around the world. Today's dispatch from APCO's Washington D.C. office highlights how augmented and virtual reality use is surging during the pandemic. For more information, please contact Ben Marchman.

Augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), which has often been considered the domain of video games, is one of those digital tools that is seeing a renaissance in the age of COVID-19. Besides offering the obvious benefit of allowing its users the chance to escape the four walls of their home and experience new landscapes, AR/VR technology is giving artists a chance to perform to new crowds across the globe, helping retailers offer new options to homebound customers and even preparing nurses and doctors on the frontline against COVID-19. And, it appears that consumer demand for AR/VR technology is likewise growing. Facebook’s Oculus Quest which was released last year has already sold USD 100 million in content on the platform.
For industries such as travel, retail and others severely hit by COVID-19, AR/VR technology offers a way to provide unique and creative content and experiences to consumers craving something new. The travel industry, for example, an early adopter of AR/VR technology, has jumped at the opportunity to bring the world to consumers with virtual reality excursions that take them to Machu Picchu, Tokyo, or to experience the northern lights. These experiences are more than just distractions, they are helping consumers to start planning travel early and generating excitement for real experiences even when at home. Live entertainment, which has been completely shut down by the pandemic, is finding a resurgence in AR/VR performances across a variety of platforms that give artists new ways to connect with fans and perform from home. Nothing can replace traveling to another country, going to a concert or trying on clothes at a store, but the pandemic has shown that AR/VR can offer new experiences for both consumers and businesses alike that are worth exploring now.

Some Positive News

  • Kids give back: A 9-year-old raised USD 100,000 selling friendship bracelets to help businesses damaged by protests and struggling due to the pandemic, CNN
  • Music as a cure: A UK nurse is writing songs to help people cope with COVID-19 and raise funds to support people for the after-effects of the pandemic, BBC
  • YouTube star dad: A Seattle man who created a how-to video series on YouTube during the pandemic called “Dad, how do I?” answers everyday life questions, Today

More Tips from Around the Water Cooler

  • Health care workers protect us. It’s time to protect them, Harvard Business Review
  • The 10 best industries in 2020 for entrepreneurs to start million-dollar businesses despite the pandemic, Business Insider
  • What we can learn from refugees in the fight against COVID-19, World Economic Forum
  • How superspreading is fueling the pandemic — and how we can stop it, Vox
  • Collective action is our new power language. How will leaders respond?, Quartz


“The lockdown has reduced pollution and revealed once more the beauty of so many places free from traffic and noise. Now, with the resumption of activities, we should all be more responsible for looking after our common home.

  - Pope Francis

“It's very important that we see the survivors of COVID as people who've been through a lot, people who've suffered and people who deserve the care and acceptance of communities as they return. COVID survivors are a symbol of hope for all our communities."

  - Dr. Mike Ryan, WHO Health Emergencies Programme Executive Director
The APCO team is working with clients globally to manage this crisis, and we stand ready to support your needs. For more resources from APCO, including our latest research, information on how we can help or to contact us, visit