Firstly, our primary concern is our annual general meeting, which is due to happen in Lugano from 5–7 June. Unfortunately, it may be postponed because it is increasingly unlikely that all Covid-19 restrictions will be lifted in Switzerland, Italy and Europe as a whole. We are currently looking at replacing the event with an online conference and we advise all our members and potential attendees to look out for this.

Secondly, at EHMA we are reviewing our principles as an organisation and presenting them to the management council at the end of the month. We plan to update our values in accordance with the events of the past year, and we are outlining a new vision for the organisation that accounts for the dramatic changes and variations within the hotel sector today.

In an industry that has been significantly impacted by the coronavirus and other long-term factors, it is our responsibility to adapt to meet the evolving challenges of the people we aim to help: general managers and hoteliers across Europe.

Thirdly, in terms of developing the association, last month we signed agreements with the École hôtelière de Lausanne and the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration. These will enable current and past EHMA members to access webinars on hotel and hospitality education. We think this can bring value to young managers in particular and really enrich the offering that EHMA puts on the table. In addition to this, as president I am participating in some webinars myself.

Ultimately, we have the opportunity to offer all our members an number of activities to help them stay informed and develop their skills and expertise as general managers and hoteliers.

Lastly, I’d like to implore all hoteliers to remain optimistic in these challenging times, particularly as more and more vaccines are being rolled out around the world. We have to keep the faith in our business, because normality will return: hopefully in the autumn we will be ready to welcome back tourists again. We have spoken to travel agents in the US, as well as senior managers across the hotel and travel industry, and there is definitely huge demand for people to travel – particularly from North America to Europe.

I believe that during the summer – and hopefully at full speed again in the autumn – we will have business returning to normal levels when social distancing measures are reduced. We have to keep hold of the situation for another two or three months, but we are all starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.