Gloria Guevara, chief executive of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), has urged the global hospitality sector to cooperate as rebuilding from the Covid-19 pandemic begins in earnest.
Gloria Guevara’s praise came in her opening speech before delegates at the World Travel & Tourism Council’s Global Summit which opened in Cancun Mexico on 26 April. The Global Summit is the most important Travel & Tourism event for the private sector and is the world’s first major gathering of world tourism leaders since the outbreak of the pandemic.
Hundreds of CEOs, business leaders and tourism ministers gathered in Cancun for the first time in nearly a year – with thousands more participating virtually – in the hybrid event.
Addressing the annual global summit in Mexico, she said: “We are not going back to 2019, we are moving forward, and tourism will come out of this crisis better than before. But we must work together to achieve a financial and social recovery – we must be united.”
Guevara was speaking at the end of a challenging year for tourism, with the industry recording losses of almost USD 4.5 billion in 2020. In total some 62 million jobs were lost across the tourism sector last year, she added, with Guevara telling delegates that Covid-19 took a toll 18-times great than that of the financial crisis of 2007-8 on the industry.
The WTTC chief added the tourism sector must avoid the mistakes of the past, building reassurance for the traveller through a consistent application of hygiene protocols such as the Safe Travels standards. “We need to remove barriers to mobility, reduce quarantine and increase the use of the vaccine around the world,” Guevara continued.
“We can turn the crisis into an opportunity – we can become more inclusive and more sustainable. The beginning of the recovery is the beginning of a new chapter – if we are united, we can make it happen,” she added.
During her speech, Guevara reminded delegates of the steady stream of initiatives which WTTC had taken during the pandemic to protect the sector and lead the way back to recovery. Thanks to its knowledge of its members and the expertise of public health leaders, WTTC created the Safe Travels global protocols to learn from past pandemics and create consistency for the sector and reassurance for travellers.
Over 260 destinations have recognised the stamp so far, including Cancun. WTTC also engaged with more than 150 governments to advocate for policies and measures which would protect and ensure the survival of the global tourism sector and its workforce.