The United Nations, of which UNWTO is a part, was established to promote peace among nations and allow us to work together to build a better future for all.
75 years on, UNWTO’s Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili, reflected on the importance of keeping this mission alive. “The ideals that lie at the heart of the United Nations system: solidarity, cooperation and the drive for equality are the same ideals needed to ensure our recovery from the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said. “Around the world, millions of people are waiting for tourism to restart. Their livelihoods depend on it.”
While some actors have suggested caution, the UNWTO believes it has the responsibility to move forward and to bring the rest of the sector, as well as political leaders along.
The sixth meeting of UNWTO’s Global Tourism Crisis Committee emphasized how determined every part of global tourism is to get moving again. The Committee succeeded in bringing together a wide range of voices, reflecting the diversity of tourism itself. These included both political and business leaders, those in a position to transform ideas into action.
“We will draw on both the power of the private sector and the determination of governments to introduce a new set of Common Safety Protocols for tourism,” said Pololikashvili. “These will provide a clear and harmonized set of safety and hygiene protocols, vital to increase confidence in international travel.”
We are working closely with airlines, airports and tourism accommodation providers to make clear that tourism is proactively leading the way in adapting to our new reality.Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General UNWTO
Pololikashvili acknowledged that people don’t just want to feel safe when they travel. They also want to be reassured that they will be supported in times of uncertainty.
UNWTO will also establish an International Code for the Protection of Tourists. Work is being conducted to ensure all UNWTO’s Member States, not just those in the EU zone, are included in plans to for the safe relaunch of free movement of people across Europe.
Misinformation about the health risks of Covid-19 puts lives at risk. “And misinformation about the safety of international travel place livelihoods in jeopardy, too,” stressed Pololikashvili.
From the start of this crisis, the UNWTO has been a trusted, verified source of information for every part of the tourism sector, as well as for governments and international organizations. The data and insights collected by the UWNTO have guided tourism’s response.
The UNWTO reiterated its support of the “Verified” campaign, launched by Secretary-General António Guterres to prevent the spread of false information while respecting freedom of opinion.
“We are working closely with airlines, airports and tourism accommodation providers to make clear that tourism is proactively leading the way in adapting to our new reality,” said Pololikashvili. “The benefits of restarting tourism will help us begin the next 75 years of the United Nations’ mission to bring peace and prosperity for all. A determination to leave nobody behind.”