Underlining the importance of the global travel and tourism sector as a leading employer and economic driver, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is once again urging governments to take stronger actions to support recovery after the coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis subsides.
“Nice words and gestures will not protect jobs or help the many millions of people whose lives are dependent on a thriving tourism sector,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili.
“Governments have an opportunity to recognize tourism’s unique ability to not only provide employment but to drive equality and inclusivity. Our sector has proven its ability to bounce back and help societies recover. We ask that tourism is now given the right support to once again lead recovery efforts.”
In this direction, the UNWTO is urging members to increase pressure on policy- and decision-makers to rethink tax and employment strategies relating to tourism and to help make sure businesses survive to help drive wider recovery efforts.
Following a meeting this week, the Global Tourism Crisis Committee of which Greece is a member is backing the WTO, urging governments to “go beyond words” and begin taking decisive action to safeguard the millions of jobs under threat as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Tourism is among the worst affected sectors, the UNWTO notes, warning at the same time of the social and development repercussions of the economic impact particularly in view of the fact that 96 percent of all worldwide destinations have introduced full or partial restrictions since the end of January.
Pololikashvili is calling on governments to lift travel restrictions as soon as it is safe to do so.
Meanwhile, the crisis committee is drawing up a global tourism recovery plan to focus on open borders and enhanced connectivity while also working to boost consumer and investor confidence.
The UNWTO will also be launching a new recovery technical assistance package aimed at enabling member states to build capacity and better market and promote their tourism sector in the months ahead.