Tourism sector hardest hit by Coronavirus – UNWTO

by Olamilekan Okeowo

The vulnerability of the Tourism sector has made it the hardest hit so far as the effect of the COVID 19 pandemic rages with enterprises, millions of livelihoods in the world affected.

This is according to Secretary-General of the organisation, Zurab Pololikashvili in a recent statement.

‘This pandemic affects every level of society and we stand by those affected in these times. The impact of the pandemic is already slowing economies and has made tourism particularly vulnerable, becoming the hardest hit sector so far. With 80% of the sector made up of small and medium-sized enterprises, millions of livelihoods in the world are left vulnerable” he said.

The secretary-general canvassed that it has become imperative to adhere to full and partial restrictions that have been put in place to combat the spread of the disease.

“We observe that full or partial travel restrictions have been – and continue to be – introduced across the world. These decisions are made with public health as the primary concern. Tourism is uniquely placed to lead to future recovery. Our sector will provide the jobs people need to bounce back and will drive economic growth that will help whole communities and countries to recover. But for now, we must be patient and stand ready. By staying home today, we can travel tomorrow. And travelling tomorrow will support jobs, celebrate culture and promote international friendship and understanding” he said.

He further added that the organisation is working closely with the World Health Organization to further a collaborative response to the pandemic

“People and their wellbeing must come first. UNWTO will continue to work closely with the World Health Organization (WHO) to further a collaborative response to COVID-19. Following a high-level meeting at WHO headquarters in Geneva (10 March), we jointly underscore the importance of international cooperation and strong leadership in these difficult times.
This is a shared challenge and everybody must be part of the solution. Anyone travelling, whether for vital humanitarian missions, essential business or to keep supply chains functioning has a duty of care to themselves and others. There can be no excuses and no exceptions as people around the world are living up to their responsibilities. If you do travel, stay safe and follow the existing simple but effective guidelines.

UNWTO further revealed that the organisation has implemented all WHO recommendations by suspending all planned events until April 30, 2020.

‘UNWTO has implemented public health protocols based on WHO recommendations and we are closely following the measures introduced by the government of Spain, our host country. All UNWTO events planned until 30 April have been suspended and will be rescheduled, based on the latest expert recommendations.
Living up to our social responsibility, and caring for the safety and wellbeing of their families, UNWTO personnel will be working from home until the end of March, and we remain fully operational during these extraordinary times’ he concluded.

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