Tourism unites claiming a peaceful world

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Tourism unites claiming a peaceful world
Source: Twitter @UNWTO
March 09, 2022

The sector calls to defend peace, respect the sovereignty of nations and human rights


The tourism industry began the year with an encouraging performance on its way to recovery, even so, it sees that progress threatened by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a situation that has aroused the rejection of the most representative organizations.

The UNWTO Executive Council has decided to hold an Extraordinary General Assembly of the UNWTO to address the suspension of the membership of the Russian Federation. The first UNWTO Extraordinary General Assembly will be convened in the coming days. This was the first time in UNWTO history that the Executive Council met to address a request to consider the suspension of a Member of the Organization.

Held in Madrid at the request of several UNWTO members, the Executive Council met amid continued global concern and condemnation of the Russian Federation's unilateral actions.

“War is never a solution! Not now, not never. But it is clear that not everyone is committed to this ideal,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili. He added: “For this reason, UNWTO, and I as the voice of the Organization, must be loud and clear: if you are a member, then you commit to our rules. And it must embrace our values. So when members go against our goals, there must be consequences.”

The aggression against Ukraine is incompatible with the Charter of the United Nations and contravenes the fundamental objective of the UNWTO enshrined in article 3 of its Statutes, which establishes “the promotion and development of tourism with a view to contributing to economic development, understanding peace, prosperity and universal respect and observance of human rights”, as fundamental principles of the Organization.

Strengthening global governance
UNWTO fully supports the UN General Assembly resolution and the UN Human Rights Council vote. Ukraine's sovereignty, political independence and territorial integrity, within its internationally recognized borders, must be defended, and the United Nations call for the peaceful resolution of the conflict must be followed.

Last week, the United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly in favor of a Resolution demanding that Russia "immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw all its military forces from the territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders." The UNGA reaffirmed the paramount importance of the UN Charter in promoting law among nations.  

Also last week, the UN Human Rights Council condemned the Russian Federation's actions "in the strongest possible terms." Its members voted to establish a special commission to investigate alleged human rights violations, including possible war crimes, in Ukraine.

In accordance with its Statutes, the UNWTO General Assembly has the sovereign responsibility to decide on the suspension of the affiliation of any Member State, if it determines that the Member persists in a policy contrary to the fundamental objectives of the Organization, as enshrined in article 3 of its Statutes.

Strong rejection of WTTC
“All our hearts go out to Ukraine,” said Julia Simpson, since 2021 President and CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and keynote speaker at the ITB Ministerial Roundtable. She stressed the importance of strong cooperation to revive the travel and tourism industry. What once again became clear was how vital it was to make the travel and tourism industry more crisis-resistant and more resilient. "I believe that crises can only be overcome by cooperating and trusting each other," said the official.

As with the pandemic, the war would have an industry-wide impact, with rising oil prices, for example. “The coronavirus pandemic has caused huge losses in the travel and tourism sector, but we had reason for optimism. However, now there are new challenges. 2022 is about to see a strong recovery, as long as governments continue to open borders and lift travel restrictions, which could give the economy, society and jobs a huge boost.” According to the WTTC, to reach pre-pandemic levels this year, governments must continue to focus on vaccine deployment and allow free movement of fully vaccinated travellers. "The EU travel pass would make things easier," Simpson said.
“As travel restrictions are eased and consumer confidence returns, we expect pent-up tourism demand will be met. Coupled with a strong consumer-led economic recovery, which we expected, this would create an upbeat outlook for the sector. It would be necessary to wait and see if the war, with its currently unforeseeable economic consequences for the entire world, would destroy these hopes.
Hotel owners in the crisis region were showing their solidarity. In Kiev, houses for journalists, stranded tourists and NGO workers were kept open; in Poland, hotel owners were helping refugees.
In principle, the industry was well prepared for crises, Simpson said. However, governments and tourism companies needed to work more closely to be prepared for the kind of unpredictable events of recent years. Simpson: "It's becoming apparent now that there are many good and faithful relationships that have been nurtured over the years that we can now build on."

IATA's strong support for Ukraine IATA
Director General Willie Walsh said: "I am shocked by Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine and stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian people under siege. Aviation promotes peace and freedom by uniting people. But these past few days have seen the peace shattered, the human cost of which is terrifying. My heart goes out to all the people of Ukraine, including industry partners and colleagues."

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