The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has released a set of guidelines to help tourism sector emerge stronger from COVID-19. The guidelines highlight the need to act decisively, to restore confidence and, as UNWTO strengthens its partnership with Google, to embrace innovation and the digital transformation of global tourism.
The guidelines were formulated in consultation with the Global Tourism Crisis Committee and aim to support governments and private sector to recover from an unparalleled crisis. Depending on when travel restrictions are lifted, the United Nations specialised agency warns that international tourist arrivals could fall by between 60 per cent and 80 per cent. This puts 100-120 million jobs at risk and could lead to US$ 910 billion to US$ 1.2 trillion lost in exports.
Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General, UNWTO said, “These guidelines provide both governments and businesses with a comprehensive set of measures designed to help them open tourism up again in a safe, seamless and responsible manner. They are the product of the enhanced cooperation that has characterised tourism’s response to this shared challenge, building on knowledge and inputs from across the public and private sectors and from several UN agencies as part of the UN’s wider response.”
Safety and security protocols for tourism recovery
The new guide, a follow-up of the Recommendations for Action already endorsed by the Committee, is focused on seven priorities for tourism recovery based on the pillars of mitigating the economic impact, developing safety protocols and coordinated responds and fostering innovation. The guidelines highlight the importance of restoring the confidence of the travellers through safety and security protocols designed to reduce risks in each step of the tourism value chain. These protocols include the implementation of check procedures where appropriate, including temperature scans, testing, physical distancing, enhanced frequency of cleaning and the provision of hygiene kits for safe air travel, hospitality services or safe events.
Innovation key as UNWTO builds on Google partnership
The UNWTO guidelines also highlight the opportunity to foster a digital transformation of destinations, companies and employees with initiatives such as the free online training with the UNWTO Online Academy and the implementation of apps such as the Hi Card to improve international interoperability at airports and hotels. The role of technology in promoting social distancing in hotels and tourist destinations is also highlighted.
This comes as UNWTO strengthens its partnership with Google. Through this enhanced collaboration, the UN agency will work with Google to promote digital learning and online skills training so as to provide new opportunities across the global tourism sector. “We are thrilled to be working more closely with Google. The past weeks have highlighted the enhanced role technology plays in our lives and furthering the digital transformation of tourism will make the sector more resilient and create opportunities for people all around the world,” added Pololikashvili.