The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) have urged G20 nations to develop clear and coordinated travel rules to help rescue millions of jobs in the sector.
Italy has assumed the presidency of the G20 and tourism ministers gathered to discuss the G20 Rome Guidelines for the Future of Tourism.
Gloria Guevara (pictured), WTTC president and chief executive, gave an opening keynote speech at the tourism ministers’ meeting on Tuesday, May 4.
She said: “The guidelines address the importance of sustainability, safe mobility and how we collectively manage future crises, while maintaining our resilience and focusing on the digital transition to enable a more seamless travel experience.
“However, we must not lose sight of the fact that we are not out of the crisis yet, and urgent action is needed now to save the 62 million jobs lost globally last year, with many millions more still at risk.”
The WTTC highlighted the “devasting” impact of the pandemic on travel and tourism, with its contribution to global GDP dropping by 49% last year, compared to the overall global economy which dropped by 3.7%. The sector suffered a loss of almost $4.5 trillion.
Guevara added: “We need clear rules and agreements amongst countries to safely restore international mobility, which will in turn enable the return of safe international travel and bring back millions of jobs.
“WTTC’s recent Global Summit in Cancun has proven that international travel can safely resume with a combination of vaccines, comprehensive and cost-effective testing, enhanced health and hygiene measures and mandatory mask wearing.”
UNWTO secretary-general, Zurab Pololikashvili also addressed the meeting, stressing the continued need for “common, harmonised criteria for the easing of travel restrictions, and for increased investment in systems that support safe travel, including testing on departure and on arrival”.
He welcomed the G20 Rome Guidelines for the Future of Tourism and called for “schemes aimed at supporting the survival of tourism jobs and businesses to be sustained and, wherever possible, expanded, especially as millions of livelihoods continue to be at risk”.