Consistent and harmonised travel protocols, enhanced safety measures and the protection of jobs and livelihoods are the main ingredients needed for the restart of tourism.
The sixth meeting of the UNWTO Global Tourism Crisis Committee reminded participants of the need to work together as the only means of advancing the sustainable recovery of the sector.
The meeting produced a commitment to create a new UNWTO Committee on Common Safety Protocols to increase confidence in international travel, as well as firm plans for enhanced consumer protection for consumers and measures to protect jobs.
Setting the tone for the meeting, UNWTO secretary general, Zurab Pololikashvili, made clear that, with many millions of livelihoods at stake, inaction is not an option, and that the rapid and sustainable recovery of tourism is essential.
“Strong coordination is needed to accelerate the lifting of travel restrictions in a safe and timely manner, to increase investment in systems that support safe travel, including testing on departure, and to sustain and support businesses and jobs.
“If we fail to address these three priorities, we will fail to restart tourism, and so fail to save millions of livelihoods,” Pololikashvili said.
Just as people are at the driving force of global tourism, so too has UNWTO stressed that recovery policies must recovery be people-focused.
For starters, restoring consumer trust and coherent and standardized international protocols are mutually reinforcing and critical for the return of tourism.
The Crisis Committee meeting saw UNWTO announce plans for a new International Code for the Protection of Tourists.
This will be the first legal framework to protect tourists’ rights as consumers, harmonizing minimum standards across different countries and ensuring the fair distribution of responsibility to tourists affecting by the pandemic among stakeholders across the sector.
A technical committee for the creation of the code is being set up and will meet before the end of the month.
Alongside this, UNWTO is working to protect jobs and help workers affected by the pandemic find new opportunities.