The World Travel & Tourism Council has praised the UK’s tourism minister for his support in the organisation’s mission to help the sector recover around the world.

Nigel Huddleston MP took part in a recent meeting of the G20 tourism ministers, to discuss WTTC plans to resume international travel and rescue 100 million jobs around the world.

The WTTC said the event – chaired by HE Ahmed Al Khateeb, Saudi Arabia’s tourism minister – was a “huge milestone”, with G20 ministers listening to chief executives from major international markets for the first time.

Gloria Guevara, president and chief executive, said: “We would like to thank Nigel Huddleston…for participating in this historic meeting, for his leadership and for his continued support and commitment to travel and tourism.

“We also express our gratitude for recognising that cooperation between the public and private sectors will be critical for the recovery.

“The UK is the sixth largest economy in the world in terms of travel and tourism contribution to GDP and third in Europe. It is therefore a strategic ally to strengthen the recovery of travel and tourism activity in the region.

“Nigel Huddleston’s leadership is instrumental and essential for us to be able to work towards a single agenda and the reactivation of international travel to benefit the millions of people in the UK who depend on this sector.”

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Following the meeting, the UK government created a Global Travel Taskforce to study options for a possible testing regime.

The taskforce will report to the prime minister no later than early November, setting out recommendations for how the UK can support the recovery of international travel.

It will consider a testing regime for international arrivals; steps to facilitate business and tourist travel; and measures to increase consumer confidence.

Huddleston said: “Supporting our travel and tourism sectors to recover from the devastating impact of Covid-19 will require sustained international cooperation by national governments and the business community.

“I have been pleased to contribute to significant progress made under Saudi Arabia’s leadership of the G20 this year.”

However, many within travel have criticised the approach of the UK government during the pandemic.

In response to the announcement of the taskforce, Advantage Travel Partnership chief executive Julia Lo Bue Said commented: “We are now seven months into a pandemic with a government that appears to have no thought-out strategy or concrete timescale on testing for travellers which is creating confusion and frankly utter chaos.”