LONDON — The World Travel & Tourism Council is calling on UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the G7 heads of state, to lead a coordinated response to restart international travel safely, which it says will be critical to the global economic and social recovery.
WTTC made the plea in an open letter, just days before leaders are due to meet for the G7 Summit in Cornwall, England.
The letter laid out the critical role the G7 must play to drive real change and save the global Travel & Tourism sector by safely restoring international travel and mobility through three key measures:
- The first is to put Travel & Tourism at the heart of all governmental decision making globally, recognising its economic and social importance and committing to stronger global public-private collaboration.
- Secondly, to commit to implementing a consistent framework to safely reopen international travel, through the use of testing, health & hygiene protocols, and digital health travel passes to ensure the safe and seamless flow of people.
- Finally, to reopen international borders between countries with similar successful vaccination rollouts and low levels of infection, such as the US and the UK. This move would unlock both inbound and outbound travel and provide a significant boost to both economies, based on clear, consistent metrics and following a data-driven approach, says the WTTC.
“With the global Travel & Tourism sector hanging by a thread, Boris Johnson is in a unique position to lead the G7 response to restart international travel and save the millions of jobs and livelihoods that depend on a thriving sector,” says Virginia Messina, WTTC Senior Vice President and Acting CEO.
“The situation is critical, so we must put Travel & Tourism at the heart of all governmental decision making globally and agree a consistent framework to reopen international borders.
“The risks of not doing so are enormous. In the G7 countries alone, the sector accounts for 5.11% of the total economy and almost one in 10 of all jobs globally (9.07%). If we don’t save international travel, we simply won’t achieve global socio-economic recovery.
“However, we can and should harness the opportunity presented by the hugely successful vaccination rollout, to remove travel restrictions and build bridges not walls, which will allow the safe and free movement of people who are fully vaccinated or can show proof of a negative test.
“We urge Boris Johnson‘s government which led the world by administering the very first COVID-19 vaccination dose, and the other Leaders of the G7 to take this courageous step and save a sector which will be crucial in saving their economies.”
According to WTTC’s latest Economic Impact Report (EIR), in 2019, Travel & Tourism contributed to 10.4% of global GDP and created more than 330 million jobs, that’s one in ten jobs across the world.
However, following a year of global lockdowns and closed borders, some 62 million jobs in Travel & Tourism have been lost around the world, with many more at risk, and the sector’s contribution to global GDP has slumped by US$4.5 trillion (-49.1%).
Earlier this week the WTTC launched a new campaign calling on governments around the world to restart international travel and enable the world to ‘Reunite’ once again.
The WTTC says the Reunite campaign will showcase the importance international travel has on individuals and businesses, and encourage travellers to share with the world, the positive impact travel makes to their lives and mental well-being.
Through its social media channels, ‘Reunite’ will urge people from all corners of the globe to share their own stories of how tourism has made a difference and changed their lives.
WTTC is encouraging travellers from around the world to get involved and share their stories using hashtags #reunite.
Meanwhile the ‘Reunite’ video is available on all of WTTC’s social media channels including the WTTC YouTube channel.