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Reopening Tourism: Global Guidelines by UNWTO

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has released a set of guidelines to help the tourism sector emerge stronger and more sustainably from the unparalleled crisis caused by Covid-19.

Produced in consultation with the Global Tourism Crisis Committee, the guidelines aim to support governments and the private sector with a comprehensive set of measures designed to help them open tourism up again in a safe, seamless and responsible manner.

“They are the product of the enhanced cooperation that has characterized tourism’s response to this shared challenge, building on knowledge and inputs from across the public and private sectors and from several UN agencies as part of the UN’s wider response,” UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said.

The UNWTO’s guidelines highlight the need to act decisively, to restore confidence and to embrace innovation and the digital transformation of global tourism.

Safe and security protocols for tourism recovery

The new guide, a follow up of the recommendations for action already endorsed by the UNWTO’s Global Tourism Crisis Committee, is focused on seven priorities for tourism recovery based on the pillars of mitigating the economic impact, developing safety protocols and coordinated responds and fostering innovation.

7 priorities for tourism recovery

1. Provide liquidity and protect jobs.
2. Recover confidence through safety & security.
3. Public-private collaboration for an efficient reopening.
4. Open borders with responsibility.
5. Harmonize and coordinate protocols & procedures.
6. Added value jobs through new technologies.
7. Innovation and Sustainability as the new normal.

The UNWTO’s global guidelines focus on:

1. Safe and Seamless Border Management (air, sea and ground travel)
2. Private Sector – Crosscutting Measures
3. Safe Air Travel
4. Hospitality
5. Tour Operators & Travel Agencies
6. Meetings & Events
7. Attractions & Thematic Parks
8. Destination Planning & Management

The guidelines highlight the importance of restoring the confidence of the travelers through safety and security protocols designed to reduce risks in each step of the tourism value chain.

The protocols proposed by the UNWTO include the implementation of check procedures where appropriate, including temperature scans, testing, physical distancing, enhanced frequency of cleaning and the provision of hygiene kits for safe air travel, hospitality services or safe events.


The UNWTO Guidelines also highlight the opportunity to foster a digital transformation of destinations, companies and employees with initiatives such as the free online training with the UNWTO Online Academy and the implementation of apps such as the Hi Card to improve international interoperability at the airports and hotels. The role of technology in promoting social distancing in hotels and tourist destinations is also highlighted.

This comes as UNWTO strengthens its partnership with Google. Through this enhanced collaboration, the UN agency will work with Google to promote digital learning and online skills training so as to provide new opportunities across the global tourism sector.

According to the UNWTO, depending on when travel restrictions are lifted, international tourist arrivals could fall by between 60 percent and 80 percent.

“This puts 100-120 million jobs at risk and could lead to US$ 910 billion to US$ 1.2 trillion lost in exports,” the UNWTO says.

The UNWTO’s guidelines can be downloaded below:

UNWTO Global Guidelines to Restart Tourism

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