On January 30, 2020, the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak of COVID-19 as an emergency for public health of international importance and promulgated a set of temporary recommendations. WHO did not recommend any travel or trade restrictions, based on the information available at the time. WHO works closely with global experts, governments and partners to rapidly expand scientific knowledge about this new virus, monitor the spread and virulence of the virus, and advise countries and the global community on measures to protect the virus. health and prevent the spread of the outbreak.
Cooperation is key
The tourism sector has a firm commitment to think first and foremost about people and their well-being, and international cooperation is vital to ensure that the sector can contribute effectively to contain COVID-19. UNWTO and WHO work closely with each other and with other parties to help States ensure that health measures are implemented in a manner that minimizes any unnecessary interference with international traffic and trade.
The tourism response should be measured, consistent and proportionate to the threat to public health, and should be based on a local risk assessment, taking into account each link in the tourism value chain – public entities, private companies and tourists – in tune with the guidelines and general recommendations of the WHO.
UNWTO and WHO are prepared to work closely with all communities and countries affected by the current health emergency, to build a better and more resilient future. Imposing travel restrictions beyond that can promote unnecessary interference with international traffic and negatively impact the tourism sector.
In the difficult times we are going through, UNWTO and WHO join the international community to show their solidarity with the affected countries.