Pandemic containment measures should not dent travellers' confidence, says UNWTO Secretary General
Madrid/IBNS: A government’s response to COVID-19 should not undermine solidarity and confidence among people, said World Tourism Organisation’s (UNWTO’s) Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili during his recent visit to the Balearic Islands, an archipelago of Spain in the Mediterranean Sea.
Many European countries are now ready to open their tourism sector with the onset of summer, to offer relief to the much battered sector.
According to a UNWTO report, tourism accounts for 27 million jobs in these countries and supports many businesses.
Teams from UNWTO led by the Secretary General have been personally visiting key tourism centres in Europe to check if all pandemic containment measures are in place as well as make people confident about travelling beyond their homes.
On a recent official visit to the Canary Islands, UNWTO witnessed first-hand how the restart of tourism can be managed responsibly.
“During this week’s visit to the Balearic Islands we are also seeing how the enforcement of strict health and hygiene protocols are the right partners for the reopening of tourist destinations,” said Secretary General Pololikashvili, “Governments have a duty to put the wellbeing of their citizens first. At the same time, they also have a responsibility to protect livelihoods and businesses.”
According to him, a government’s response ‘also goes hand-in-hand with a responsibility to preserve the spirit of international solidarity that has characterized our response to this shared crisis, a response that has included international institutions, the civil society at large and individual citizens’.
“Again and again, the pandemic puts us to the test and proves that we are stronger if we act together and not in isolation,” he said.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, UNWTO has been calling for governments to work together and with the private sector to get tourism moving again.
The Secretary General pointed out that it is not too late to ensure the economic and social benefits because tourism has a long history of delivering returns before the end of the high season.
“For this, however, we need even greater cooperation and for both individual and joint actions to be considered and proportionate,” he pointed out.