Well, here’s a first.
The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) is gathering in Cancun this week for its annual global summit.
Yes, physically. In person. At a venue.
In her opening remarks, WTTC’s president and CEO, praised the industry’s private sector for “its steadfast and united approach during the COVID-19 pandemic” and told the hundreds of CEOs, business leaders and tourism ministers gathered for the event that “together they would lead the way for the sector’s recovery.”
Guevara also focused on the terrible human impact of the pandemic and travel restrictions which had devastated the sector and the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people around the world; people who depend on travel and tourism to survive, to provide for their families.
WTTC’s boss pointed out that among these were the disproportionate number of women who had been hit hard by the pandemic. Women account for 54% of the sector’s employment, which is why WTTC had chosen Cancun to launch its Women’s Initiative, focusing on policies which can help empower women.
Said Guevara: “While 2020 was not the year we expected it to be, it was a year during which people really came together. We saw our sector join forces to support our workforce and the local communities that host us.”
Guevara continued: “From using our facilities as emergency hospitals and offering hotel rooms to doctors and nurses; to providing free meals to millions and transforming convention centres in medical facilities. We have seen an amazing response.”
However, Guevara cautioned that: “What is clear is that we are not going back to 2019; we are moving forward. Travel & Tourism will come out of this crisis stronger and better. But to do so, it is crucial we continue working together to achieve recovery both financially and socially. We need to be united.”
And she added: “That is why we have chosen our theme for this year: Uniting the World for Recovery. By turning this crisis into an opportunity, we can make sure we become more inclusive and more sustainable.”
Guevara told her audience in Cancun that: “As we accelerate our recovery, we need to redouble our efforts to remove barriers to mobility, remove quarantines, focus on testing and accelerate the vaccination rollout globally, while continuing to support safety protocols.”
And she concluded: “Our sector is one that provides opportunities, reduces poverty, brings hope, and not only changes lives, but changes the world. This is the beginning of a new chapter, the beginning of the recovery. We have much work to do and if we are united we can change the lives of the millions that depend on us.”