WTTC Releases New Cyber Risks Report for Travel & Tourism Sector

WTTC Releases New Cyber Risks Report for Travel & Tourism Sector

At its 21st Global Summit in Manila last week, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) released an important new report in aid of informing the sector’s stakeholders about the ways in which “cyber resilience” is influencing the global Travel & Tourism industry, and helping them to plan for a better and safer future.

Called ‘Codes to Resilience’, the report was produced in partnership with Microsoft, relying on extensive desk research and in-depth interviews with some of the sector’s leading cyber security experts, who work for leading Travel & Tourism companies like Mastercard, JTB and Carnival Corporation, among others.

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The WTTC’s report focuses on the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic forced businesses worldwide, including the travel sector, to move their transactions more into the digital space. And, while increased digitalization presents new ways and opportunities for conducting business, it also opens up a new set of challenges, especially relating to cybercrime.

The inaugural ‘Codes to Resilience’ report is divided into three sections: cyber resilience, key issues and seven good practices. The last portion outlines the important “pillars of effective and resilient cyber systems”, based upon lessons the organization has learned both prior to and amid the pandemic.

“Digitization has enabled the sector to enhance its offering to consumers and its opportunities for employees however, it has also introduced new risks,” reads the report. “These risks pose tremendous financial, operational and reputational threats to the sector, requiring they be proactively identified and addressed to ensure the long-term resilience of Travel & Tourism.”

According to its findings, 72 percent of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) throughout the U.S., U.K. and Europe have already fallen prey to at least one cyberattack in the past. And, since SMEs constitute 80 percent of all Travel & Tourism businesses, guarding against cyber incursions needs to remain a sector priority.

The pivotal report outlines four key issues that must be addressed in order for any organization to strengthen cyber protection and enhance its resilience: securing identity data, securing business operations, grasping the impact of COVID-19 and managing global legislation.

“Technology and digitalization play a key role in making the whole travel experience more seamless, from booking a holiday, to checking in for a flight or embarking on a cruise,” said Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO. “But the impact of cyberattacks carries enormous financial, reputational and regulatory risk.”

Even prior to the pandemic’s influence, the level of cybercrime was on the rise, with a 67percent increase in cyber breaches across all industries seen from 2015 to 2019. In 2019, the average number of cyber breaches across all sectors grew by 11 percent, while the average dollar amount cybercrime cost an organization was calculated to be US$13 million.

The full contents of the ‘Codes to Resilience’ report can be downloaded for free right here.





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