2020 has been a box of surprises, with historically low numbers and above all with random closings and openings at the mercy of the decisions of the authorities in each country. Undoubtedly there was a lot of learning and today the scenario is very different from that of March. In these months the tourism industry has shown the character to compose itself and get back on its feet.
The road to recovery from next year is not at all easy, considering that according to the latest UNWTO Barometer, it has returned to 1990 levels. The most doubts are the new strain of the virus and the restrictions that are imposed in the first months of 2021. The speed with which the laboratories that produce the different vaccines can give certainty about their effectiveness and can distribute them globally with speed will also be vital. There is a lot of concern at this point and different authorities have given their point of view in the last hours.
Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary General of the World Tourism Organization, said: “Without a doubt, the news of a vaccine against the COVID-19 virus gives us reason for cautious optimism. However, the restart of tourism, and the many millions of people who depend on it cannot wait for mass vaccinations to become a reality. ”
“The time has come to rethink the quarantine rules for tourists. Embrace innovation and new solutions to test travelers before or after their trips. In parallel, travel restrictions must be relaxed or lifted in a responsible and coordinated manner. as soon as is safe and feasible. ”
“The important steps that have been taken to ensure better coordination and refusing to sit still are the precursors to preparing for the new year. 2021 could be a critical year for the restart of tourism, but only if we continue on this path.”
“The foundations are there for this to be a turning point. It is a moment to guide our sector towards greater sustainability and inclusion and realize its enormous potential to generate lasting development and change for all. We cannot waste this opportunity “.
“Now, as we pause and reflect, I send my best wishes from Madrid. Wherever you are, and however you celebrate, I wish you all a safe and restorative holiday period.”
Rafael Schvartzman, Regional Vice President for Europe at IATA said: “This latest situation reinforces once again the urgent need for a coordinated survey of routine traveler testing. Governments must cooperate to establish a mutually recognized testing capacity so that borders can remain open to the vast majority of healthy passengers. COVID-19 is likely to be with us for some time, so instead of travel bans, governments should adopt more flexible and practical policies to manage risks in a way that allows people to work and travel safely. . ‘Test, test and test again’ has been the WHO mantra for almost a year, and we implore governments to act on this advice. ”
Gloria Guevara, President and CEO of the WTTC stated: “While protecting public health is paramount, blanket travel bans cannot be the answer. They have not been the solution in the past and they will not solve anything now.
“” If a comprehensive and rapid response testing regime were implemented at airports across the country to screen all travelers before departure, it would ensure that only infected with COVID-19 are isolated and prevented from traveling. There would be no need for countries to introduce harmful and counterproductive wholesale bans for UK travelers. ”
“People should not be discouraged from traveling because they simply cannot find or arrange to be tested at a local laboratory or testing center. We need to make it much easier for travelers to get proof before their trip.
“” Travelers do not pose a greater risk than other members of the community if they follow all internationally recognized health security protocols, including mandatory use of masks and periodic testing.
“” While we understand the concern and need to curb the spread of COVID-19, the increasing number of abrupt travel bans are incredibly damaging and financially damaging. We must not underestimate the dire social impact of increasing isolation and its effect on mental health ”
“All sectors of the economy, not just travel and tourism, will suffer, as will those countries that impose the ban when their own economies will feel the impact of border closures and loss of business.
” “The travel sector and tourism will be critical to driving economic recovery, so it is absolutely crucial that action is taken now to save it. Otherwise, it will collapse and millions of people will lose their jobs. ”
The truth is that the story from now on has yet to be written and the government authorities have the opportunity to have learned from the mistakes of the past, there is still reason to be optimistic for what is to come.