People and their wellbeing must come first, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) said on Tuesday, underlining that it continues to work closely with the World Health Organization (WHO) to further a collaborative response to the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.
With tourism becoming among the hardest hit sectors as the Covid-19 situation evolves, the UNWTO observes that full or partial travel restrictions have been – and continue to be – introduced across the world, with public health as the primary concern.
“By staying home today, we can travel tomorrow. And travelling tomorrow will support jobs, celebrate culture and promote international friendship and understanding,” UNWTO Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili said in a statement.
As underlined by Pololikashvili, tourism is uniquely placed to lead future recovery.
“Our sector will provide the jobs people need to bounce back and will drive economic growth that will help whole communities and countries to recover. But for now, we must be patient and stand ready,” he said.
According to the UNWTO, 80 percent of the tourism sector is made up of small and medium-sized enterprises and millions of livelihoods in the world are left vulnerable due to Covid-19.
The UNWTO has implemented public health protocols based on WHO recommendations and its personnel will be working from home until the end of March. However, the organization remains fully operational.
In these extraordinary times, #UNWTO personnel stay home but we continue serving our Members, the tourism sector and sustainable development.
Making sure we are ready to #TravelTomorrow!
— World Tourism Organization (@UNWTO) March 18, 2020
All UNWTO events planned until April 30 have been suspended and will be rescheduled, based on the latest expert recommendations.