AssociationThe inter-governmental body also calls for strong support for the tourism sector in order to protect jobs and businesses

Make responsible restart of tourism a priority: UNWTO

By
|
Tourism is beginning to restart in some areas, most notably in Northern Hemisphere destinations, according to the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. Credit: gopixa/Getty Images
Tourism is beginning to restart in some areas, most notably in Northern Hemisphere destinations, according to the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. Credit: gopixa/Getty Images

As tourism slowly restarts in a growing number of countries, UNWTO is emphasising the need to restart tourism in a responsible way, while reiterating its call for governments and international bodies to support a sector that has become a lifeline for many millions and a backbone of economies.

After several months of unprecedented disruption, the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer reports that the sector is beginning to restart in some areas, most notably in Northern Hemisphere destinations. At the same time, restrictions on travel remain in place in a majority of global destinations, and tourism remains one of the worst affected of all sectors.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “The sudden and massive fall in tourist numbers threatens jobs and economies. It is vital, therefore, that the restart of tourism is made a priority and managed responsibly, protecting the most vulnerable and with health and safety as a the sector’s number one concern. Until tourism’s restart is underway everywhere, UNWTO again calls for strong support for the sector in order to protect jobs and businesses."

UNWTOinfograhic1

While April was traditionally one of the busiest times of the year due to the Easter holidays, the near-universal introduction of travel restrictions led to a fall of 97% in international tourist arrivals. This followed a 55% decline in March. Between January and April 2020, international tourist arrivals declined by 44%, translating into a loss of about US$195 billion in international tourism receipts.

At the regional level, Asia Pacific was the first to be hit by the pandemic and the worst hit between January and April, with arrivals down 51% in that period. Europe recorded the second-largest fall, with a 44% drop for the same period, followed by the Middle East (-40%), the Americas (-36%) and Africa (-35%).

UNWTO had earlier outlined three possible scenarios for the tourism sector in 2020, with potential declines in overall international tourist numbers expected to vary between 58% and 78%, depending on when travel restrictions are lifted.

UNWTOinfograhic2

Since mid-May, UNWTO has identified an increase in the number of destinations announcing measures to restart tourism.

The gradual lifting of restrictions in some countries, together with the creation of travel corridors, the resumption of some international flights and enhanced safety and hygiene protocols, are among the measures being introduced by governments as they look to restart tourism.

JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI