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The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) President Gloria Guevara opened the G20 Tourism Ministers Meeting with a keynote speech focused on the impact of COVID-19 on the industry and how to move forward.
Guevara emphasized that clear rules and protocols would be needed to restart international travel in a sustainable way. The WTTC believes action is required to save millions of jobs throughout the industry by reopening borders to non-essential travel.
During the meeting, the WTTC highlighted the devasting impact COVID-19 had on travel, including the industry’s contribution to the global gross domestic product dropping by a staggering 49.1 percent last year.
“The guidelines address the importance of sustainability, safe mobility and how we collectively manage future crises while maintaining our resilience and focusing on the digital transition to enable a more seamless travel experience,” Guevara said. “These priorities are aligned with those of the private sector.”
“However, we must not lose sight of the fact that we are not out of the crisis yet, and urgent action is needed now to save the 62 million jobs lost globally last year, with many millions more still at risk,” Guevara continued.
In total, the travel industry lost around $4.5 trillion in 2020, but the widespread coronavirus vaccination programs in the United States and beyond has led to more destinations preparing to reopen to international arrivals.
“We need clear rules and agreements amongst countries to safely restore international mobility, which will in turn enable the return of safe international travel and bring back millions of jobs,” Guevara said. “It will also protect a sector which will be instrumental in powering the global economic recovery.”
Last month, the WTTC held its long-awaited 2021 Global Summit in Cancun, Mexico. The event highlighted the industry’s response to the ongoing pandemic and called for the public and private sectors to work together to aid a post-COVID-19 recovery.