WTTC Calls On Industry To Unite At JAPEX

The head of the World Travel and Tourism Council is imploring those in the tourism industry to work together to offset the impact the coronavirus pandemic has on travel, warning that an already brutal toll could become considerably worse, reports Press Today’s Ian Stalker.

Gloria Guevara said during a Nov. 10 panel discussion during Jamaican tourism show JAPEX that 142 million tourism jobs have been “impacted globally” by the pandemic and warned of a forecast that said that figure could reach 174 million positions.

It’s “very important” for those in tourism to work together in order for there to be a recovery, she said.

Among other things, Guevara called for a co-ordinated approach to the reopening of borders and replacing “blanket quarantines” on newly arrived visitors for a more “targeted” approach that the WTTC says would be more effective. The WTTC argues that governments consider “quarantines of positive cases” of people with coronavirus, rather than quarantining all who cross borders.

The tourism promotion body is also pushing for “air corridors” between countries with “similar circumstances” that it believes would be a boost for travel, and said “uniform protocols” among countries when it comes to safety measures to contain the spread of coronavirus are needed.

Despite the current gloom among many working in tourism, Guevara said the WTTC is seeing some hopeful signs, with some countries having “been able to move toward recovery…We have seen some light at the end of the tunnel.”

Domestic tourism is being credited with helping restart tourism in some counties.

Adam Goldstein, global chairman of Cruise Lines International Association, told viewers that “cruising is down virtually 100%” as a result of the pandemic.

But Goldstein labeled cruising resilient and said he knows there’s “pent-up demand” for that type of holiday, adding “public sentiment is increasingly in our favor…We look forward to quickly recovering from this misfortune with our destination partners.”

Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association president Pablo Torres Sojo told the audience that Caribbean tourism has seen plenty of crises over the years and the region is now seeing a “slow and steady” increase in bookings for air travel to the Caribbean.

The most important factor in attracting tourists now is convincing them their health won’t be at risk on a holiday, he said.

Torres Sojo also praised what he called the “tremendous power of the Caribbean brand.”