Gloria Guevara, President & CEO of World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) gave an opening keynote speech at the G20 Tourism Ministers Meeting on May 4, as Ministers gathered to discuss the G20 Rome Guidelines for the Future of Tourism.
WTTC shared that this unprecedented crisis has had a devastating impact on the sector and that clear rules and a protocol to restart international mobility will be crucial to its sustainable and long-term recovery.
WTTC urged that action was needed now to save millions of jobs throughout the sector which depend on the immediate resumption of international travel, and that there will not be a sustainable and resilient future, unless we can recover from this crisis.
Gloria Guevara said: “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. 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.
“During this important meeting, WTTC highlighted the devasting impact COVID-19 has had on our sector, with its contribution to global GDP dropping a staggering 49.1% last year, compared to the overall global economy which dropped by just 3.7%. Furthermore, this incredibly important sector suffered a loss of almost US$4.5 trillion.
“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. It will also protect a sector which will be instrumental in powering the global economic recovery.
“The private sector remains committed to working with the public sector to ensure a swift recovery, which has been significantly boosted by the vaccine rollout. However, there is still much work to be done with many parts of the world still suffering from the pandemic.
“WTTC’s recent Global Summit in Cancun has proven that international travel can safely resume with a combination of vaccines, comprehensive and cost-effective testing, enhanced health and hygiene measures and mandatory mask wearing.”
WTTC thanked Italy, G20 Chair for their leadership and for including the private sector in this important platform and also acknowledged Saudi Arabia who held the G20 Presidency in 2020 and recognised the importance of working with the private sector in tourism in the declaration.
WTTC also recognised the Ministers of Argentina, France, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Singapore, Spain, the UK, the US, and the EU, for their strong partnership with the private sector and particularly with WTTC.