The World Travel & Tourism Council has implored governments around the world in an open letter to take drastic and immediate action to protect and preserve the tourism sector.
In an unprecedented move, the WTTC has claimed the tourism sector is in a fight for survival and urged governments to pursue a raft of measures to preserve as many as 50 million jobs at risk globally.
WTTC figures show tourism contributes 10.4 per cent of global GDP, and 320 million jobs.
WTTC is calling upon governments of all countries to take immediate action to help ensure the survival of this critical job-creating sector.
Any delay will be costed in millions of lost jobs and almost incalculable damage worldwide.
In an open letter to governments around the world, WTTC chief executive, Gloria Guevara, said: “No one can doubt that we are in uncharted territory.
“The coronavirus pandemic means the world is facing a threat on multiple fronts not seen in peacetime.
“The tourism sector is uniquely exposed, and we estimate 50 million jobs globally are at risk.
“To put it bluntly, tourism is in a fight for survival.
“Travel is the backbone of economies around the world.
“It brings in essential currency and inward investment, creates jobs and stimulates every sector.
“WTTC figures show tourism contributes to 10.4 per cent of global GDP and 320 million jobs.
“It is responsible for creating one in five new jobs and, for eight successive years, has outpaced the growth of the global economy.
“Without tourism, economies around the world face an existential threat.
“To counter this, WTTC is calling upon governments of all countries to take immediate action to help ensure the survival of this critical job-creating sector.
“Not soon. Not in a few weeks. Now.
“Any delay will be costed in millions of lost jobs and almost incalculable damage worldwide.
“Now is the time to take action.
“We propose three vital measures which will protect the survival of the millions of people who rely on tourism for their livelihoods and welfare in the turbulent weeks and months ahead.
“Firstly, financial help must be granted to protect the incomes of the millions of workers in the sector facing severe economic difficulties.
“Secondly, governments must extend vital, unlimited interest-free loans to global tourism companies, as well as the millions of small and medium sized businesses as a stimulus to prevent them from collapse.
“Thirdly, all government taxes, dues and financial demands on the travel sector need to be waived with immediate effect at least for the next 12 months.
“Tourism companies are playing their part to protect their employees.
“Together, these measures could save a sector which is already facing collapse.
“We are calling upon the world to take urgent and immediate action to prevent this global health crisis becoming a worldwide economic catastrophe.
“Doing nothing is not an option.
“We implore every government to take drastic and decisive action now to preserve and protect the contribution of the tourism sector, on which more than 320 million people and their families depend on for their livelihoods.”
The World Travel & Tourism Council represents the global tourism private sector.
Members include over 200 chief executives, chairpersons and presidents of the leading tourism companies from all geographies, covering all industries.
Find out more on the official website.