The World Tourism Organisation has released a set of recommendations calling for urgent support for the global tourism sector. If followed, the WTO hopes the sector will not only recover from the unprecedented challenge of Covid-19 but to “grow back better”.
The recommendations are the first output of the Global Tourism Crisis Committee, established by UNWTO with high-level representatives from across the tourism sector and from within the wider United Nations system.
Recognising that tourism and transport has been among the hardest hit of all sectors, the recommendations are designed to support governments, the private sector and the international community in navigating the unparalleled social and economic emergency that is Covid-19.
“These specific recommendations give countries a check-list of possible measures to help our sector sustain the jobs and support the companies at risk at this very moment,” said Zurab Pololikashvili, UNWTO Secretary General. “Mitigating the impact on employment and liquidity, protecting the most vulnerable and preparing for recovery, must be our key priorities.”
Last month the UNWTO argued that global tourism arrivals could fall by nearly a third this year in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Recognising the diverse realities in each country as well as the evolving nature of this crisis, the document will continue to be updated.
“We must support the sector now while we prepare for it to come back stronger and more sustainable,” Zurab added. “We still do not know what the full impact of Covid-19 will be on global tourism. However, we must support the sector now while we prepare for it to come back stronger and more sustainable. Recovery plans and programmes for tourism will translate into jobs and economic growth. For tourism to fulfil its potential to help societies and whole countries recover from this crisis, our response needs to be quick, consistent, united and ambitious.”
The recommendations for action are the first comprehensive set of actions governments and private sector actors can take now and in the challenging months ahead.
In all, this new guide provides 23 actionable recommendations, divided into three key areas:
- Managing the crisis and mitigating the impact:Key recommendations relate to retaining jobs, supporting self-employed workers, ensuring liquidity, promoting skills development and reviewing taxes, charges and regulations relating to travel and tourism. The recommendations are made as a global economic recession looks likely. Given its labour-intensive nature, tourism will be hard hit, with millions of jobs at risk, especially those held by women and youth as well as marginalised groups.
- Providing stimulus and accelerating recovery:This set of recommendations emphasises the importance of providing financial stimulus, including favourable tax policies, lifting travel restrictions as soon as the health emergency allows for it, promoting visa facilitation, boosting marketing and consumer confidence, in order to accelerate recovery. The recommendations also call for tourism to be placed at the centre of national recovery policies and action plans.
- Preparing for tomorrow:Emphasising tourism’s unique ability to lead local and national growth, the recommendations call for greater emphasis to be placed on the sector’s contribution to the sustainable development agenda and to build resilience learning from the lessons of the current crisis. The recommendations call on governments and private sector actors to become build preparedness plans, and to use this opportunity to transition to the circular economy.