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Economic recovery will not be possible if further country-wide border closures are enacted to curb the spread of the coronavirus, according to a statement from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).
Instead, COVID-19 matters should be handled directly by the regional authorities in any given destination, and local measures should be instituted “only when necessary,” the organization said.
“Taking a more carefully calibrated approach to strategically combating coronavirus spikes with local measures, rather than country-wide closures, will contain COVID-19 and preserve a country’s attempt to kickstart their economy by continuing to attract travelers to unaffected areas,” said Gloria Guevara, president and CEO of WTTC.
Such a move, WTTC predicts, would reawaken the hard-hit tourism sector, which last year supported 330 million and contributed 10.3% to the global GDP, but which has been devastated since the virus’ initial outbreak.
Although WTTC’s research showed that a 2.7% increase in travelers would generate or recover 1 million jobs in tourism, new data from Harvard and Princeton universities found an alarming reason to stay put: COVID-19 cases are reduced by 17-27% per capita for every 10% decrease in mobility. Health experts are continuing to urge consumers against nonessential travel.
As of press time, COVID-19 has approximately 15 million confirmed cases (and rising) and has resulted in 606,000 deaths. Spikes in cases have led several countries around the world to enforce travel restrictions; perhaps most notably, the EU recently banned travelers from all countries except those it deemed to have the pandemic under control.
But WTTC believes Europe needs more consistent COVID-19 travel rules, calling for a “greater effort to align their policies.”
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And enforcing country-wide restrictions, according to Guevara, is “a blunt instrument that benefits no one; neither travelers, the local population, the economy or the travel and tourism sector that has been left reeling from the impact of worldwide travel restrictions."
Enforcing country-wide restrictions is a blunt instrument that benefits no one; neither travelers, the local population, the economy or the travel and tourism sector that has been left reeling from the impact of worldwide travel restrictions.
Another way to kickstart the economy, WTTC says, is to resume and restore business travel via transatlantic flights and open up air corridors between global financial hubs such as New York City, London and Frankfurt.
“It is perfectly possible to fight COVID-19 and support the economic recovery through the travel and tourism sector at the same time,” she said. “We urge governments to consider only local lockdowns as the key to opening the door to a successful way forward.”
The DetailsWorld Travel & Tourism Councilwww.wttc.org