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Continuation of Travel Restrictions Will Have Disastrous Consequences

News In the latest statement of UNWTO, its secretary once again underlined the importance of resuming travel as soon as possible because the consequences of travel restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic are starting to show. Even major tourist hubs deal with troubles, leave alone small and less famous destinations. For example, London hotels have a record-low occupancy these days.

During just five months, from January to May 2020, the fall in tourist arrivals caused by the pandemic cost as much as US$320 billion. The coronavirus pandemic hit the industry much harder than the Great Recession of 2007-2009 – the losses are three times higher this year. At the moment, no one can tell for sure what the rest of the year will be like. Faster resuming of travel around the world will bring back to work millions of people who work in this sector.

However, the lift of travel bans is not the only thing that UNWTO is encouraging countries to do. The organization underlines the importance of international coordination. Instead of “policy moves”, countries should collaborate and set up new safety protocols. Bringing people back to work is only the first step in revitalizing the industry. After that, countries need to encourage people to travel again. This will be possible only if people know that they are safe and can rely on the internationally adopted safety standards in the new normal.

While the wait for an efficient vaccine might take months, there are things that countries can do today. Instead of calculating losses of hotels in Paris or Madrid, countries can implement fast coronavirus testing at airports, use tracking apps, and educate people on how to behave during this difficult period. Governments need to adopt new standards as soon as possible rather than carefully observe them. In recent years, tourism was one of the major contributors to global economic growth.

UNWTO warns that a failure to take these actions will lead to drastic consequences. Many businesses will become bankrupt, and people in the most vulnerable groups will suffer the most. The economic and social consequences of travel bans will be even more devastating in the long run. It is time to take political decisions and work together for a better future for everyone.


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