UN World Tourism Organisation Covid-19 Recommendations

Madrid, Spain: The UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has unveiled a 23-point list of recommendations aimed at helping mitigate what it calls an unprecedented global health emergency facing the world with unparalleled social and economic impacts as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The UNWTO recognises that travel and tourism has been hit hard and says it is among sectors most affected by the crisis, with urgent support needed given the millions of jobs that are at risk. However, it adds that the sector is also uniquely equipped to be part of global recovery efforts going beyond tourism.

It highlights the fact that following the global economic crisis, while employment across all economic sectors grew by 11% between 2010 and 2018, employment in accommodation and restaurants grew by 35%.

In 2019, travel and tourism represented 30% of the world’s export of services (US$1.5 trillion) and up to 45% of the total export of services in developing countries.

While many of the UNWTO recommendations are aimed at governments, some also directly address tourism industry stakeholders as well.

Among them are:

  • Calling for countries to work with the private sector to promote fair arrangements for consumers, such as rescheduling cancelled holidays and flight tickets and ensuring consumers are fully protected. Also, the consideration of providing vouchers for cancelled bookings valid until the end of 2020.
  • Include tourism in national, regional and global economic emergency packages, ensuring tourism and transport are fully integrated in them. 
  • Promote financial stimulus for tourism investment and operation, including promoting transport infrastructure such as airports and expressways from a long-term horizon.
  • Approach recovery as an opportunity to jump-start the sector towards a new model of sustainable production and consumption.
  • Support destinations and companies to restore confidence among consumers to restart travel as soon as the health emergency allows. Also creating special promotions for markets and segments that bounce back more quickly, such as special interest travel and domestic tourism – and using social media to promote travel again.
  • Support tourism administrations at national and local levels in boosting marketing efforts.
  • Create a tourism recovery committee with representatives of national and local tourism administrations, other relevant ministries, the private sector and airlines.
  • Ensure sustainability is at the heart of any tourism recovery programme, taking the crisis as an opportunity for transformation.
  • Embracing sustainability more fully, including transitioning to more resource efficient and low carbon tourism operations that will enhance the competitiveness and resilience of the sector as a while, will also help tourism as the sector establishes closer links with the wider United Nations system as it aims to achieve its 17 Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
  • Diversify tourism to avoid dependence on any single activity or market.
  • Ensure the inclusion of tourism in national priorities, reflecting its capacity to create jobs.

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