UNWTO and WHO: UN agencies call for risk asse...

UN agencies call for risk assessment for travel measures

Photo: UNWTO

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have called for the lifting of travel bans as they do not provide added value and continue to contribute to economic and social stress. The two UN agencies are collaborating on a global trust architecture for recovery of the travel sector.

UNWTO and WHO agree on the importance of easing or lifting travel bans. They suggest blanket restrictions to be replaced with risk-based, evidence-informed, context-specific policies. "Guided by UNWTO, global tourism has followed WHO advice from the very start of this crisis", said UNWTO Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili. He underscored the need to "continue to do so, and to open up again, safely and responsibly, and allow tourism to deliver on its unique potential as a driver of recovery and growth".
„Open up again, safely and responsibly“
Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General, UNWTO
The two UN agencies also stressed the need for clear and consistent rules relating to health and travel. There is a need for building a global trust architecture for societies and economies in the context of the pandemic, and there is a "real opportunity for tourism to contribute to that process, with UNWTO playing a critical role", said Dr Michael Ryan, executive director of WHO's Health Emergencies Programme.

Tourism has the potential to act as a force for development and opportunity, the agencies state, as highlighted in the sector's enhanced relevance in the wider United Nations development agenda. Destinations around the world report increased tourist arrival numbers on the back of easing or removing restrictions. This trend offers the potential to kickstart economic recovery and put social development progress back on track, UNWTO and WHO point out.