Published on : Thursday, April 2, 2020
The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) recently released a set of recommendations calling for urgent and strong support to help the global tourism sector. The recommendations are the very first output from the Global Tourism Crisis Committee, established by UNWTO. The committee was formed with high-level representatives from across the tourism sector and from within the wider United Nations system.
The new set of recommendations not only concerns matters related to the recovery of the tourism sector from the unprecedented challenge of coronavirus but also regarding better growth after the trying times are over.
UNWTO has already recognized that tourism and transport are among the worst affected sector by the COVID-19 outbreak. Therefore, the recommendations are designed to support governments, the private sector, and the international community. It aims to help navigate the unparalleled social and economic emergency caused by the coronavirus crisis.
Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General, UNWTO said in a press statement that the specific recommendations give countries a check-list of possible measures to help the travel and tourism sector sustain jobs and support companies at risk at the moment of crisis. He mentioned that the key priorities at present should be mitigating the impact on employment and liquidity, protecting the most vulnerable and preparing for recovery.
He informed that the full impact of COVID-19 on global tourism is still unknown but support must be provided to the travel and tourism sector. He said that the support is required to come back stronger and be more sustainable. He further added that recovery plans and programs for tourism will translate into jobs and economic growth. He also shared that a quick, consistent, united and ambitious response is required for tourism to fulfill its potential to help societies and countries recover from the crisis.
UNWTO will continue to document updated recommendations recognizing the diverse realities in each country as well as the evolving nature of this crisis. The new guide provides 23 actionable recommendations, divided into three key areas:
The first area is related to managing the crisis at hand and mitigating its impact. The main recommendations are about retaining jobs, supporting self-employed workers, ensuring liquidity, promoting skills development as well as reviewing taxes, charges and regulations related to travel and tourism.
The second set of recommendations talks about providing stimulus and accelerating recovery. It focuses on the importance of providing financial stimulus, including favorable tax policies and lifting travel restrictions as soon as the health emergency allows the same. It also urges to promote visa facilitation as well as boost marketing and consumer confidence in order to accelerate recovery.
The final area highlights the need to prepare for forthcoming days. It puts emphasis on tourism’s unique ability to lead local and national growth. It brings into focus the sector’s contribution to the sustainable development agenda and to build resilience learning from the lessons of the current crisis.
The new set of recommendations comes into force as a global economic recession looks likely. UNWTO is of the opinion that due to the labor-intensive nature of tourism, the sector might be hard hit, with millions of jobs at risk; especially those held by women and youth as well as marginalized groups. Therefore, these recommendations call on governments and private sectors to build preparedness plans and to use this opportunity to transition to the circular economy. It also calls for tourism to be placed at the center of national recovery policies and action plans.