Last week, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) convened with tourism ministers from a collection of the world’s largest economies, known as the G20, to present a plan for saving the ailing global travel sector.
Forty-five WTTC members were hosted during the October 7 virtual G20 meeting that was hosted by Saudi Arabia. WTTC President & CEO Gloria Guevara called the virtual G20 meeting a historic gathering, saying, “The nature of this meeting cannot be underestimated; it is the first time so many Travel & Tourism CEOs and leaders have been invited to sit in the same forum as G20 Tourism Ministers to establish a tangible plan to save the Travel & Tourism sector.”
WTTC presented a potentially game-changing 24-point plan, which includes twelve points for the private sector and twelve for the public sector, outlining measures to accelerate the recovery of international travel. WTTC’s economic modeling suggests that roughly 100 million jobs might be saved, if international governments and their private-sector counterparts are able to collaboratively implement the steps called for by its proposal.
The WTTC said: “The private sector cannot reduce the time frame of recovery and bring back 100 million jobs alone; public-private collaboration is essential to the success of the plan,” according to Travel Weekly. Guevara stated, “This plan will have far-reaching consequences; it will bring real and genuine benefits to the industry as a whole—from aviation to tour operators, taxis to hotels and beyond.”
From the public sector, WTTC’s plan calls for international standardization of health regimens, COVID-19 testing protocols and contact-tracing programs to eliminate quarantines and travel barriers. It also calls upon governments to establish air corridors connecting regions that demonstrate similar epidemiological conditions, and for countries to support promotional campaigns aimed at attracting back travelers.
From the world’s private sector, WTTC’s plan would require standardized health protocols to be established and adhered to across all industries to provide a consistently safe travel experience; that businesses develop and implement new technologies to better manage visitor flow; and that companies make their offerings more affordable and maintain flexible booking policies to encourage demand.
The resumption of international travel is key for global economic recovery, as WTTC’s 2020 Economic Impact Report revealed that the sector supported one in ten jobs (330 million total), represented 10.3 percent of global GDP and generated 25 percent of all new jobs.
Guy Ryder, Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO), commented: “We need measures that create bridges between sectors and countries, backed by strong and unprecedented policy coordination at the international level. That is why I welcome the ‘100 Million Jobs Recovery Plan’ put forward by the World Travel & Tourism Council. It represents the kind of concrete multilateral action, uniting public and private sectors, that the world urgently needs.”