The restart of tourism is seen as the return of hope and opportunity for many millions of people around the world. This week has Europe been leading the way in the restart tourism. Destinations throughout the Schengen Zone are once again open and this will hopefully have a significant impact on economies and livelihoods.
For Spain, host country of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), and Portugal, the occasion has been marked by a special ceremony. The presence of King Felipe VI and President Pedro Sánchez of Spain alongside President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and Prime Minister Antonio Costa of Portugal shows the significance of tourism’s restart for both countries.
The European Commission has provided an unprecedented degree of economic support for the sector. At the national level, France has backed tourism with actions giving the sector and the businesses that make it the economic help they need to survive and lead recovery.
“It is only right that we remain cautious. This crisis is far from over,” said Zurab Pololikashvili, UNWTO Secretary-General. “In other regions of the world, borders remain closed to tourism and the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread. The human toll, economic cost and social impact are still growing. This is no time for complacency, and even where the worst appears to have passed, the threat of the pandemic returning means we must act responsibly and make public health our priority.”
Tourism has stepped up to meet the challenge posed by the Covid-19 pandemic with determination. For many countries, the restart of tourism will hopefully be seen as a step towards ending uncertainty and replace it with a renewed sense of confidence.