The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has warned governments around the world that new border closures “could seriously jeopardize global economic recovery. In this regard, it has called on country leaders to implement more proportionate and local measures.
In the face of new border restrictions and closures due to the emergence of Covid-19 outbreaks globally, the WTTC sees the path to global economic recovery as being in jeopardy. It therefore urges the authorities to adopt “a more carefully thought-out approach and introduce localized measures only when necessary”. According to the WTTC, this would avoid general restrictions and slow down the fragile economic recovery, as well as not paralyze again the “wounded and abused” tourism sector. Likewise, WTTC is betting on the opening of “city-to-city” air corridors between global financial centers, such as London, Frankfurt and New York. This would help restart business travel, “which is crucial to driving economic recovery.
Unfortunately, several countries around the world are experiencing local outbreaks of coronavirus, which is leading several governments to reconsider reintroducing new travel restrictions. According to the latest statistics from Johns Hopkins University in the United States, the global number of deaths from Covid-19 has exceeded 606,000, while the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus currently exceeds 14.5 million people.
“Governments should not close off access to other countries altogether,” said WTTC President Gloria Guevara. “Regional border measures should only be imposed if necessary, so that the recovery of a country’s entire economy is not compromised in the future,” she stressed. In Guevara’s view, enforcing restrictions on the entire territory of a country “is too blunt a measure that benefits no one; not even travelers, the local population, the economy or a faltering sector. These measures “could undo significant efforts to revive Tourism, which has recently shown encouraging signs of having passed the worst of the pandemic, and which in turn have brought hope to millions of people around the world who depend on the Sector for their livelihood.
“Tourism is fundamental to boost economic recovery, it generated one in four of all new jobs last year,” Guevara said. “Our 2020 Economic Impact Report shows that during 2019 the Sector provided 330 million jobs worldwide and made a massive contribution of 10.3% to the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP),” he says. Thus, the WTTC president calls on governments to consider only local blockages as the key “to opening the door to a successful way forward.
Unification of criteria in Europe
On the other hand, the WTTC has also called for European countries to adopt more unified travel rules to counter the confusion of travelers and tourists who are faced with “a bewildering array” of recommendations. The organization has expressed concern that the uneven patchwork of reopened borders would “deter travelers and suppress the resurgence of tourism. “Unless European governments make a greater effort to align their policies, the fragile recovery will falter and decline, putting 16 million jobs in Travel and Tourism at risk,” they say.
The research led by Guevara has estimated that each 2.7% increase in tourists would generate or recover one million jobs in the sector. Governments working together with the right coordinated measures “could stimulate an increase in travel of up to 27%, creating the enormous amount of ten million jobs,” they stress.