The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) is calling on the U.S. government for strong leadership and unprecedented international collaboration, to save the struggling travel and tourism sector and recover the millions of jobs already impacted.
More than 100 of the world’s major travel and global business leaders, from major airlines, airports, hotels, tour operators and travel companies, have backed the unprecedented move.
The industry leaders signed and sent the letter, which called for urgent coordinated action, to U.S. President Donald Trump and six other Heads of State of the G7 group of countries, as well as Australia, South Korea and Spain, the world’s major source markets.
The letter called on U.S. leadership during these critical times and was also sent to Former Vice President Joe Biden, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and other such international opposition leaders, highlighting the non-partisan nature of the crisis.
If the global leaders fail to come together, WTTC anticipates irreversible damage to the travel an tourism sector.
Furthermore, as the crippling travel restrictions remain in place, the number of jobs losses around the world will continue to increase.
According to WTTC’s 2020 Economic Impact Report, during 2019, Travel & Tourism was responsible for one in 10 jobs (330 million total), making a 10.3% contribution to global GDP and generating one in four of all new jobs. Moreover, it is one of the most diverse sectors, employing people from all socio-economic backgrounds regardless of age, gender or ethnicity, and includes 53% women and 30% youth employed across the sector.
Despite Travel & Tourism’s crucial importance to the local and global economies, WTTC is gravely concerned there is no clear or internationally coordinated effort to protect this uniquely exposed sector.
The council’s president and CEO, Gloria Guevara said: “As the Travel & Tourism sector buckles under mounting pressure, and the global economy struggles to survive, we have to ask – who is in charge of getting us out of this crisis and will lead the world to save the jobs and secure the futures of the many millions of people globally?”
Guevara continued: “We have reached a stage where critical action is urgently needed. While we recognize each country must protect their own citizens and the priority to date has been domestic matters, any measures taken in silos moving forward will only worsen the plight of millions of ordinary people.”
The WTTC’s boss said that: “We need to transcend politics and put the millions of livelihoods, which have been affected by COVID-19, front and centre. From cabin crew to hotel staff, travel agents to call centre agents, waiters to housekeepers, receptionists to drivers, hotel managers to chefs, and the many more unsung heroes who depend on a thriving Travel & Tourism sector.”
And she added: “The voices of ordinary people must be heard, and we are calling on them to let world leaders know, in no uncertain terms, that the time for action is now.”
Among those backing the WTTC call were the business leaders of major airlines, such as WestJet, British Airways, Emirates, Etihad, and Virgin Atlantic.
Business leaders from top international hotel groups, such as Accor, Best Western, Hilton, Hyatt, InterContinental, Marriott, Meliá Hotels and Radisson have also supported the initiative.
Endorsement has also come from major tour operators and travel companies, such as American Express, Carlson Wagonlit, Expedia, Travelport, TUI and Uber.