THE World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has released a raft of recommendations calling for urgent support to global tourism and boost the sector fight against the threat of Covid-19.
Such recommendations are the first output of the Global Tourism Crisis Committee established by UNWTO with high-level representatives from across the tourism sector and from within the wider UN system.
Mindful of the effects that the deadly virus has had on tourism and transport, the recommendations are designed to support governments, the private sector and the international community in navigating the unparalleled social and economic emergency.
“These specific recommendations give countries a check-list of possible measures to help our sector sustain jobs and support companies at risk at this very moment. Mitigating the impact on employment and liquidity, protecting the most vulnerable and preparing for recovery, must be our key priorities,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili through a statement posted on the global tourism organisation’s website.
“We still do not know what the full impact of Covid-19 will be on global tourism. However, we must support the sector now while we prepare for it to come back stronger and more sustainable. Recovery plans and programmes for tourism will translate into jobs and economic growth,” added the secretary-general.
According to Mr Pololikashvili, for tourism to fulfil its potential to help societies and whole countries recover from the Covid-19 crisis, governments’ responses towards the deadly virus need to be quick, consistent, united and ambitious.
Among the recommendations outlined by the UNWTO is retaining jobs, supporting self-employed workers, ensuring liquidity, promoting skills development and reviewing taxes, charges and regulations relating to travel and tourism.
Through the recommendations, the global tourism organisation has also emphasised the importance of providing financial stimulus, including favourable tax policies, lifting travel restrictions as soon as the health emergency allows for it, promoting visa facilitation, boosting marketing and consumer confidence to accelerate recovery.
UNWTO estimates international tourist arrivals could decline by 20-30 per cent in 2020 as a result of Covid-19 impact. This translates into a loss of $300bn/- to $450bn/- in international tourism receipts (exports).
In Tanzania, tour operators announced a halt in their operations starting April 1 to mid-May, and then await government directions.
They also resolved to retain as many staff as possible during the period of closure, which coincides with the low tourism season.