The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) on Thursday approved Greece’s proposals to restart tourism in 2021 and adopted them as recommendations for its members, an announcement by the Greek Tourism Ministry said on Friday.
Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis on Thursday presented a package of proposals during the virtual meeting of the Global Tourism Crisis Committee, an affiliate of the UNWTO. The meeting focused on the discussion of solutions to the biggest challenges standing in the way of international travel returning in the post-Covid-19 era.
Minister Theoharis, who is also chairman of the committee’s Technical Committee, presented proposals based on four core areas following international health and aviation regulations. The Greek proposals included the need for governments to provide financial support to companies operating in the sector to overcome the crisis and protect jobs. Also underlined was the importance of employing technology (digital green certificates) to facilitate travelers’ journeys and restore their confidence.
“The proposals of the Greek tourism minister were unanimously approved by the plenary of the UNWTO’s Global Tourism Crisis Committee and are now recommendations to its members,” the ministry said.
More specifically, Theocharis’ proposals for the restart of tourism focused on the following four core areas: the resumption of safe, cross-border travel; promoting safe travel at all points of the tourist journey; providing liquidity to tourism businesses and protecting jobs; and restoring confidence in travel.
According to Theoharis, for the resumption of safe, cross-border travel and promoting safe travel at all points of the tourist journey, digital health solutions, or otherwise digital vaccination certificates against COVID-19, will ensure the fastest possible restart of free movement between states.
Regarding the support of businesses in the sector, the Greek tourism minister said liquidity programs should be a priority, in order to support the working capital of vulnerable tourism enterprises.
“It is equally important to increase access to financial instruments, such as subsidized loans, for those tourism businesses that create jobs,” he said.
On supporting jobs, Theoharis said that developing skills and promoting digital transformation, guarantee the technological transition of tourism companies and lead them to become more competitive.
“The provision of free access to training programs, with the support of digital platforms, such as those offered by the UNWTO Academy for digital education, is a step in the right direction,” he said.
On restoring confidence in travel, the Greek tourism minister stressed the importance for tourists to be fully informed of the health/safety protocols of each destination and to be aware of their rights for possible trip cancellations or reschedulings.
The UNWTO’s ninth Global Tourism Crisis Committee meeting was attended by member states of the committee and a group of international organizations, including the World Health Organization, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the World Travel and Tourism Council, the International Maritime Organization, the International Cruise Line Association, the International Airports Council and the International Air Transport Association (IATA).