Published on : Tuesday, April 21, 2020
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) convened the Global Tourism Crisis Committee in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The committee was formed to bring together every part of the tourism sector as well as leading international institutions in order to create a united response to mitigate the impact of coronavirus on tourism and prepare the industry for recovery.
As the number of COVID-19 cases continued to rise across the globe, the crisis committee recently united behind UNWTO to support the organisation in urging governments around the world to take action that goes beyond words. UNWTO has requested governments to and begin taking decisive action to safeguard the millions of jobs under threat due to the pandemic.
Tourism is one worst-hit industry among all major economic sectors impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. Therefore, UNWTO has stepped up to ensure that governments do everything possible to safeguard livelihoods and shield the most vulnerable members of society. Additionally, the United Nations specialized agency for tourism also warns about the economic impact that might take a global social and development toll.
UNWTO called upon the governments once again and much widely to showcase actions instead of words. In the third meeting of the Committee, UNWTO urged members to increase pressure on world leaders to reconsider tax policies and employment policies related to tourism and to help make sure that businesses survive to help drive wider recovery efforts.
This new call to action comes as decision-makers face mounting pressure to take firm steps to help curb the COVID-19 disease. Last week, the Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank focussed on financial and economic responses towards the pandemic. Meanwhile, the European Commission has been enhancing political cooperation within the European Union.
Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General, UNWTO said in a recent statement that the coronavirus crisis has shown the strength of solidarity across borders. However, he mentioned that nice words and gestures alone cannot protect jobs or help the many millions of people whose lives are dependent on a thriving tourism sector.
He expressed that governments have an opportunity to recognize tourism’s unique ability to not only provide employment but to drive equality and inclusivity. He said that the tourism sector has proven its ability to bounce back and help societies recover. Therefore, on behalf of UNWTO he shared that if tourism is provided with the right support at present, the sector will lead recovery efforts in the post-pandemic phase once again.
The call to action arrived after UNWTO reported that COVID-19 has brought global tourism to a standstill. The UNWTO “Travel Restrictions” report notes that 96% of all worldwide destinations have introduced full or partial restrictions since the end of January. The Global Tourism Crisis Committee is now working on a Recovery Plan for the sector. The plan is likely to highlight open borders and enhanced connectivity. It might also focus on working to raise consumer and investor confidence.
UNWTO will soon be launching a new Recovery Technical Assistance Package to help countries get back to growth. This will enable its Member States to build capacity and better market and promote their tourism sector in the challenging months ahead.