The reopening of tourism: positive signs after 8 months of Covid-19
On 31 December in Wuhan, the onset of new viral pneumonia was reported. After a concert of trials and errors, today a criterion is already imposed, closing borders has not been of much use and the tourism industry sees light at the end of the tunnel
On December 31, 2019, the WHO Office in China detected a statement from the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission for the media published on its website mentioning cases of "viral pneumonia" in Wuhan. On January 1, 2020, the WHO asked the Chinese authorities for information about the case, and on January 4, it published on Twitter what today is a pandemic that has forever changed the dynamics of the world. Almost 8 months after its discovery, it is good to think that we have learned from the successes and mistakes in every context.
Amid the global reopening, WHO itself has already recognized that bans on international travel cannot be maintained indefinitely and that countries need to do more locally to reduce the spread of the Coronavirus within their borders. Then one would have to wonder what has been achieved at the health level in exchange for 7 months where the tourism industry has had the most negative results in its history.
IATA published a report yesterday highlighting that by 2020, the global number of passengers (boarding) is expected to decrease by 55% compared to 2019 and a full recovery is expected to 2019 levels only by 2023. Those numbers logically translates into job losses.
It is worth noting that our industry is essential to drive that economic recovery, generating one in four of all new jobs last year. This has been highlighted by WTTC in its "Economic Impact Report 2020". That report shows that during 2019 tourism made a massive contribution of 10.3% to world GDP.
“It is perfectly possible to fight COVID-19 and support economic recovery through the Travel and Tourism sector at the same time. We urge governments to consider only local blockades as the key to opening the door to a successful path forward, ”said Gloria Guevara, WTTC President & CEO of WTTC.
The WTTC calls on governments around the world to begin a substantial investment program to ensure comprehensive test facilities are implemented at airports, which will help prevent the spread of Covid-19 and see the return of travel. insurance.
“It is imperative that all airports serving international travel implement globally recognized test standards for inbound and outbound passengers. This will provide peace of mind to all travelers, maintain "air corridors" between countries, and eliminate the damage and disruptions caused by forceful quarantines that massively impact the recovery of the Travel and Tourism sector. "
"We will have to live with COVID-19 for the foreseeable future, so we must do everything we can to protect public health and save lives, while restoring consumer confidence, driving global economic recovery and saving the jobs of millions of people whose livelihoods depend on a thriving travel and tourism sector. "
The latest edition of the UNWTO UN World Tourism Barometer shows that the almost complete blockade imposed in response to the pandemic caused a 98 percent drop in the number of international tourists in May compared to 2019. The Barometer also shows 56 Annual% of one year in the arrival of tourists between January and May. This translates into a drop of 300 million tourists and $ 320 billion lost in revenue from international tourism, more than three times the loss during the 2009 Global Economic Crisis.
UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “These latest data make clear the importance of restarting tourism as soon as it is safe to do so. The dramatic decline in international tourism puts millions of livelihoods at risk, including in developing countries. Governments in all regions of the world have a double responsibility: to prioritize public health and at the same time protect jobs and businesses. They also need to maintain the spirit of cooperation and solidarity that has defined our response to this shared challenge and refrain from making unilateral decisions that can undermine the trust and confidence that we have been working so hard to build. "
At the same time, UNWTO also sees signs of a gradual and cautious change in trend, especially in the northern hemisphere and particularly after the opening of borders through the Schengen area of the European Union on July 1.
Although tourism is slowly returning in some destinations, the UNWTO Confidence Index has fallen to record lows, both for the evaluation of the period January-April 2020 and for the prospects for May to August. Most members of the UNWTO Panel of Tourism Experts expect international tourism to recover in the second half of 2021, followed by those who expect a rebound in the early part of next year.