UNWTO Creates Guidelines for Restoring Global Tourism

The United Nations’ World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has released a set of guidelines to support governments across the world and the private sector in grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The guidelines feature eight core tenets that will aid cities across the world in restoring the health of their tourism industries. The first guideline revolves around safe and seamless border management for air, sea and ground travel. This guideline encourages cities to continuously update their border protocols to reflect the most recent public health evidence-based risk assessments, which will ensure that their travel restrictions remain proportional to any variations in public health threats. It further calls for cities to install touchless travel technology and provide reliable travel information to the private sector. 

The second guideline focuses on implementing harmonized health, safety and hygiene protocols in the private sector internationally to inform and protect customers/workers from the spread of COVID-19. To do this, the guideline calls for companies to promote touchless technology, up-to-date safety plans and frequent communication. 

The third guideline encourages air travel safety by promoting higher cleaning standards, limiting movement/contact among passengers and providing everyone with protective equipment like masks. 

The fourth guideline calls for the hospitality industry to promote frequent room cleanings, physical distancing in common spaces, contactless check-ins and other practices to keep guests informed about hygienic protocols.

The fifth guideline encourages tour operators and travel agencies to use digital communication means and develop more individualized sightseeing experiences, particularly in rural areas. 

The sixth guideline urges businesses to develop a phased approach for holding meetings, beginning with hosting exclusively digital events and slowly building towards traditional mid-size ones. It additionally asks that meetings offer packed meals if necessary rather than buffet service or coffee breaks.

The seventh guideline encourages attractions and thematic parks to implement safety measures like social distancing and mask requirements as well as to practice hygienic measures like frequently cleaning high-touch surfaces. It further suggests that they should monitor their venue capacity to ensure that social distancing can adequately be practiced. 

The eighth guideline calls for the destination planning and management industries to promote communication and coordination as companies adapt new safety measures.  

The UNWTO created these guidelines after predicting that international tourist arrivals could drop by 60-80% depending on when travel restrictions are lifted. The UNWTO estimates that this puts 100-120 million jobs at risk and could lead to $910 billion to $1.2 trillion (in U.S. dollars) being lost in exports. 

For more information about the guidelines, visit the UNWTO’s website here

Article written by Amelia Winger on behalf of the Global Philadelphia Association