UNWTO calls for harmonizing protocols and ensuring financing for tourism companies

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The ninth meeting of the Crisis Committee advanced solutions to the biggest challenges that stand in the way of the return of international travel.

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has reconvened its Global Tourism Crisis Committee to lead the industry in harmonizing travel and health protocols and securing vital funding for businesses struggling to survive a historic crisis.

The ninth meeting of the Crisis Committee advanced solutions to the biggest challenges that stand in the way of the return of international travel.

Committee members, drawn from political leaders, international organizations, including UNWTO sister agencies, finance and the private sector, discussed the Crisis Committee Recommendations, which focus on four core areas: resuming travel. cross-border insurance; promote safe travel at all points of the tourist trip; provide liquidity to tourism businesses and protect jobs, and restore confidence in travel.

The virtual meeting was co-sponsored by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Opening the procedure, the Minister of Tourism, His Excellency Ahmad bin Aqil Al Kateeb, said: “Saudi Arabia has been collaborating with partners from the public and private sectors, both regionally and globally, to accelerate the resumption of international travel. Facilitating safe travel and smooth travel is the only way to restore trust between travelers and tourism businesses, which will ultimately be the engines of the industry’s recovery. ”

Harmonized protocols and confidence building
The Committee endorsed the proposed EU Digital Green Pass as an example of combined protocols for other regions to follow. Addressing the meeting, EU Vice President Margaritis Schinas said that “we can make the summer of 2021 the beginning of the post-pandemic era, one that is safer, more sustainable, more resilient and more prosperous.” He stressed that “the tourism sector can – and must – be at the forefront of this effort, leading the recovery of the European and world economy.”

Mr. Schinas also described the work being done to increase consumer confidence in tourism, already devastated by issues related to cancellation and reimbursement of travel services, noting: “UNWTO’s efforts to develop a International Code for the Protection of Tourists are very welcome ”. The historic legal code is one of several key UNWTO initiatives aimed at restoring confidence in international travel.

Also at the Committee, UNWTO and IATA (the International Air Transport Association) announced the upcoming launch of a new Destination Tracker. This tool will be available on the websites of both organizations and will provide comprehensive and up-to-date information on airline and destination restrictions and requirements, allowing tourists to make informed decisions.

Recommendations for recovery
The Recommendations of the UNWTO World Tourism Crisis Committee highlight the importance of basing policies on current international health and aviation regulations, including, but not limited to, the provisions of the World Health Organization (WHO) and those of the International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO), in particular its guidance on takeoff and the work of its Civil Aviation Recovery Task Force (CART). The Recommendations also call for the creation of Public Health Corridors, the implementation of digital health solutions, and the development of a common system of “traffic lights” as a recognizable risk management framework. Introducing the Recommendations, the Greek Minister of Tourism and Chairman of the Technical Group of the UNWTO Crisis Committee, Harry Theoharis, said that ”

Financing the survival of tourism
Through the World Tourism Crisis Committee, UNWTO also advanced its work to address one of the other key challenges facing global tourism, namely the sudden disruption of tourism cash flow and the need to support companies and protect jobs. Together with ICAO and WHO, UNWTO is one of the only UN agencies working with the OECD on its International Mobility Initiative. UNWTO also works closely with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

The OECD and EBRD contributed again to the last Crisis Committee meeting, promoting coordinated efforts to support tourism businesses through the current crisis and also to build future resilience and achieve greater sustainability, including through investment promotion. greens in the sector. The Committee was also updated by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), with their representatives focusing in particular on the potential role of innovation, green investments in tourism and business support, now and during recovery.