The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) on Wednesday warned that taking excessive health measures to face the current outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) may lead to negative repercussions on the tourism sector. The organization also reminded that travel restrictions have not been recommended.
In a joint statement released with the World Health Organization (WHO), the UNWTO underlined that international cooperation is vital and that both organizations are committed to working together in guiding the travel and tourism sectors’ response to the coronavirus.
“The tourism sector is fully committed to putting people and their well-being first… UNWTO and WHO are working in close consultation and with other partners to assist States in ensuring that health measures be implemented in ways that minimize unnecessary interference with international traffic and trade,” the statement read.
According to the statement, UNWTO and WHO stand ready to work closely with all those communities and countries affected by the current health emergency, to build for a better and more resilient future.
“Travel restrictions going beyond these may cause unnecessary interference with international traffic, including negative repercussions on the tourism sector,” UNWTO and WHO said.
The statement reminds that on January 30, WHO’s director general declared the outbreak of COVID-19 to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern and issued a set of Temporary Recommendations. The organization did not recommend any travel or trade restriction based on the current information available.
“Tourism’s response needs to be measured and consistent, proportionate to the public health threat and based on local risk assessment, involving every part of the tourism value chain – public bodies, private companies and tourists, in line with WHO’s overall guidance and recommendations,” the statement read.
The joint statement of UNWTO and WHO come after the first cases of coronavirus were confirmed in Spain and Greece.