COVID-19: UNWTO forms Global Tourism Crisis Committee

- A Monitor Desk Report 26 Mar, 2020 | 1058 Views|-+
Dhaka: Tourism is the economic sector that has been hit hardest by COVID-19. Therefore, the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has formed a Global Tourism Crisis Committee.

For this purpose, UNWTO hosted a high-level virtual meeting on March 19 bringing together key UN agencies, the chairs of its Executive Council and Regional Commissions and private sector leaders.

All participants accepted the invitation from the Secretary-General of the organisation to become part of the committee formed as UNWTO prepares to launch a global guide for recovery.

The UNWTO-led Committee will hold regular virtual meetings, reflecting the need for coordinated and efficient action by the private and public sectors, governments, international financing institutions and the United Nations.

Since the start of the pandemic, UNWTO has been working closely with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to guide the tourism sector as it faces up to the COVID-19 challenge.

The first meeting, hosted in Madrid but conducted virtually for reasons of public health, further emphasised the call for international cooperation to underscore a united response based on the latest public health recommendations and reflecting the deep economic ripple effect and social cost of the pandemic.

Without any certainty over how long this crisis will last or what the final economic and structural impact on tourism might be, all participants were united in their deep concern over the millions of jobs that are at risk of being lost.

With small and medium-sized enterprises making up 80 per cent of the sector worldwide, the wider social impact of the crisis will go far beyond tourism, making it a key concern for the international community.

Tourism has proven in the past to be a reliable partner to lead recovery for societies and communities, but only if the economic policies of governments and the support packages of donor and financing agencies reflect how the sector touches on every part of society.

This requires political recognition and cooperation across ministries, involving the public and private sectors and set against the backdrop of wider action plans by financial institutions and regional bodies.

In the coming days, UNWTO will release a set of recommendations for recovery. The document will highlight the steps governments and other authorities need to take to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the tourism sector and to then accelerate recovery.

The meeting will be factored into UNWTO’s recommendations. These will be complemented by a dynamic component aimed at engaging with innovators across the world through an innovation challenge centred on tourism’s response.

Launched with the support of WHO, this challenge will identify new ideas that can be implemented to help tourism return to sustainable growth.

The UN’s key tourism related agencies will all be participating in the global coordination committee meetings, along with WHO and the main representatives of the airline and maritime transportation sectors, as well as the private sector.

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