UNWTO’s first official post-pandemic trip to Italy to kickstart steady restart of tourism

Against the backdrop of the re-opening of borders across Europe, a high-level delegation from the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has arrived in Italy to begin a first official visit to a member state since the COVID-19 pandemic brought international travel to a standstill.

The closure of tourism operations for several months has had a devastating effect for many businesses and millions of livelihoods across the world. To kickstart recovery, countries within the Schengen Zone (26 countries in Europe) are now reopening their borders to tourists.

Following an official invitation by Italy, the UNWTO secretary-general Zurab Pololikashvili started an official visit (1-4 July), and met the minister of culture, cultural heritage and tourism Dario Franceschini, to learn more of the country’s plans for the steady and sustainable restart of a sector that is a leading employer and helps preserve the country’s unique cultural heritage.

UNWTO is leading the restart of tourism, and Italy has demonstrated its commitment to harnessing the power of the sector to drive wider societal recovery

Pololikashvili said: “Strong domestic leadership and a commitment to cooperating across borders are imperative for the responsible return of tourism and the many benefits it offers, both within the Schengen Zone and worldwide. UNWTO is leading the restart of tourism, and Italy has demonstrated its commitment to harnessing the power of the sector to drive wider societal recovery.”

This is the first official trip undertaken by UNWTO since restrictions on travel were introduced in response to the pandemic.

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