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COVID-19 Travel Restrictions: An Open Letter from the WTTC

The World Travel & Tourism Council chief executive, Gloria Guevara wrote an open letter to governments all over the world, in the hopes of addressing the effects of COVID-19 travel restrictions.

The WTTC has claimed that the tourism sector is currently battling the current crisis for survival. Because of this, the council has encouraged governments worldwide to try and save about 50 million jobs.

At present, the tourism industry contributes about 10.4 percent of the global GDP and provides 320 million jobs. And if the government of each country would not act to preserve the said employment rate, the damage would be “incalculable”.

In an open letter, Guevara said:

“No one can doubt that we are in uncharted territory. The coronavirus pandemic means the world is facing a threat on multiple fronts not seen in peacetime. The travel and tourism sector is uniquely exposed, and we estimate 50m jobs globally are at risk. To put it bluntly, travel and tourism is in a fight for survival.

“Travel is the backbone of economies around the world. It brings in essential currency and inward investment, creates jobs and stimulates every sector. WTTC figures show travel and tourism contributes to 10.4% of global GDP and 320m jobs. It is responsible for creating one in five new jobs and, for eight successive years, has outpaced the growth of the global economy.

“Without travel and tourism, economies around the world face an existential threat.

“To counter this, WTTC is calling upon governments of all countries to take immediate action to help ensure the survival of this critical job-creating sector. Not soon. Not in a few weeks. NOW. Any delay will be costed in millions of lost jobs and almost incalculable damage worldwide.

“Now is the time to take action. We propose three vital measures which will protect the survival of the millions of people who rely on travel and tourism for their livelihoods and welfare in the turbulent weeks and months ahead:

“Firstly, financial help must be granted to protect the incomes of the millions of workers in the sector facing severe economic difficulties.

“Secondly, governments must extend vital, unlimited interest-free loans to global travel and tourism companies, as well as the millions of small and medium sized businesses as a stimulus to prevent them from collapse.

“Thirdly, all government taxes, dues and financial demands on the travel sector need to be waived with immediate effect at least for the next 12 months.

“Travel and tourism companies are playing their part to protect their employees.

“Together, these measures could save a sector which is already facing collapse.

“We are calling upon the world to take urgent and immediate action to prevent this global health crisis becoming a worldwide economic catastrophe. Doing nothing is not an option.

“We implore every government to take drastic and decisive action now to preserve and protect the contribution of the travel and tourism sector, on which more than 320m people and their families depend on for their livelihoods.”

Yours sincerely,
Gloria Guevara, WTTC President & CEO

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