UNWTO unveils new global guidelines to help reopen tourism

MADRID — New tourism guidelines have been released by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) to help the tourism sector emerge stronger – and safer – from COVID-19.

Produced in consultation with the Global Tourism Crisis Committee, the guidelines aim to support governments and the private sector to recover from an unparalleled crisis.

Depending on when travel restrictions are lifted, the United Nations specialized agency warns that international tourist arrivals could fall by between 60% and 80%, putting 100-120 million jobs at risk.

“These guidelines provide both governments and businesses with a comprehensive set of measures designed to help them open tourism up again in a safe, seamless and responsible manner,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili. “They are the product of the enhanced cooperation that has characterized tourism’s response to this shared challenge, building on knowledge and inputs from across the public and private sectors and from several UN agencies as part of the UN’s wider response.”

Here are some highlights of the UNWTO Guidelines:

  • Guidelines focus on seven priorities for tourism recover based on the pillars of mitigating the economic impact, developing safety protocols and coordinated responses, and fostering innovation.
  • Restoring the confidence of travellers will be done through safety and security protocols designed to reduce risks in each step of the tourism value chain. These protocols include the implementation of check procedures where appropriate, including temperature scans, testing, physical distancing, enhanced frequency of cleaning and the provision of hygiene kits for safe air travel, hospitality services or safe events.
  • The guidelines strengthen UNWTO’s partnership with Google, highlighting the opportunity to foster a digital transformation of destinations, companies and employees. This includes initiatives such as the free online training with the UNWTO Online Academy and the implementation of apps such as the Hi Card to improve international interoperability at airports and hotels. Through its collaboration with Google, the UN agency will work to promote digital learning and online skills training to provide new opportunities for the global tourism sector.

The UNWTO Guidelines are the latest regulations unveiled by global tourism authorities in recent days. Last week, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) unveiled the world’s first global safety and hygiene stamp while top leaders in Canada’s tourism and travel sectors also announced the formation of the Canadian Tourism Roundtable to help streamline and clarify travel rules.

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