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UNWTO Creates Tourism Crisis Committee to Help in Covid-19 Recovery

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) on Friday announced its plans to create a “Global Tourism Crisis Committee” which will evaluate and advance recommendations for the recovery from the health crises caused by the Covid-19 virus.

The UN’s key tourism related agencies will all be participating, along with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the main representatives of the airline and maritime transportation sectors, as well as the private sector. Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis will participate in the committee as the Chair of UNWTO’s Regional Commission for Europe.

The announcement followed a high-level virtual meeting held on Thursday, chaired by UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili, and which brought together key UN agencies, the chairs of its Executive Council and Regional Commissions, and private sector leaders from IATA, CLIA, ACI and WTTC.

Tourism is the economic sector that has been hardest hit by COVID-19 and all participants accepted an invitation from the UNWTO Secretary-General to become part of a Global Tourism Crisis Committee, formed as UNWTO prepares to launch a global guide for recovery,” the UNWTO said in an announcement.

The UNWTO-led Committee will hold regular virtual meetings, reflecting the need for coordinated and efficient action by the private and public sectors, governments, international financing institutions, and the United Nations.

UNWTO: Recommendations for recovery

UNWTO held a virtual meeting for world tourism leaders. Photo Source: UNWTO

Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis (center) participated in the UNWTO’s high-level virtual meeting as the Chair of UNWTO’s Regional Commission for Europe.

In the coming days, UNWTO will release a set of recommendations for recovery from the health crisis. The document will highlight the steps governments and other authorities need to take to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the tourism sector and to then accelerate recovery.

“This unprecedented public health emergency has already become an economic crisis which will come at a social cost,” said UNWTO’s Zurab Pololikashvili.

Participants in Thursday’s coordination meeting agreed that the Covid-19 outbreak is “a shared challenge that can only be tackled by working together”, with recovery dependent on a joint effort on a scale never seen before.

“The livelihoods of millions of people and their families are at stake, be it in urban centres or in remote communities where tourism is sometimes the main income generator and a vehicle for social inclusion, protecting heritage and kickstarting development”, Mr Pololikashvili said.

Moreover, during the meeting all welcomed UNWTO’s tagline to ‘Stay home today so you can travel tomorrow’, which is promoted on digital media through the hashtag #TravelTomorrow.

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