The World Travel & Tourism Council has called on Boris Johnson and the G7 Heads of State, to lead a coordinated response to restart international travel safely, which it says will be critical to the global economic and social recovery.
WTTC, which represents the global private sector, made the plea in an open letter to UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, Chair of the G7 group of nations in 2021, just days before leaders are due to meet at Carbis Bay in Cornwall.
The letter laid out the critical role the G7 must play to drive real change and save the global Travel & Tourism sector by safely restoring international travel and mobility through three key measures.
The first is to put Travel & Tourism at the heart of all government decision making globally, recognising its economic and social importance and committing to stronger global public-private collaboration.
Secondly, to commit to implementing a consistent framework to safely reopen international travel, through the use of testing, health & hygiene protocols, and digital health travel passes to ensure the safe and seamless flow of people.
Finally, to reopen international borders between countries with similar successful vaccination rollouts and low levels of infection, such as the US and the UK. This move would unlock both inbound and outbound travel and provide a significant boost to both economies, based on clear, consistent metrics and following a data-driven approach.
Virginia Messina, WTTC Senior Vice President and Acting CEO, said: “With the global Travel & Tourism sector hanging by a thread, Boris Johnson is in a unique position to lead the G7 response to restart international travel and save the millions of jobs and livelihoods that depend on a thriving sector.
“The situation is critical, so we must put Travel & Tourism at the heart of all governmental decision making globally and agree a consistent framework to reopen international borders.
“The risks of not doing so are enormous. In the G7 countries alone, the sector accounts for 5.11% of the total economy and almost one in 10 of all jobs globally (9.07%). If we don’t save international travel, we simply won’t achieve global socio-economic recovery.
“However, we can and should harness the opportunity presented by the hugely successful vaccination rollout, to remove travel restrictions and build bridges not walls, which will allow the safe and free movement of people who are fully vaccinated or can show proof of a negative test.
“We urge Boris Johnson‘s government which led the world by administering the very first COVID-19 vaccination dose, and the other Leaders of the G7 to take this courageous step and save a sector which will be crucial in saving their economies.”
In the letter to Boris Johnson, WTTC said the Travel & Tourism sector will play a key role in achieving the G7 policy priorities set by his Presidency.
The global tourism body said we will not achieve global recovery unless international mobility resumes and helps bring back millions of jobs into the economy; enabling free & fair trade to flourish once again. Travel & Tourism will also play a key role in enhancing our preparedness and resilience against future pandemics, as well as tackling climate change.
According to WTTC’s latest Economic Impact Report (EIR), in 2019, Travel & Tourism contributed to 10.4% of global GDP and created more than 330 million jobs, that’s one in ten jobs across the world.
However, following a year of global lockdowns and closed borders, some 62 million jobs in Travel & Tourism have been lost around the world, with many more at risk, and the sector’s contribution to global GDP has slumped by US$4.5 trillion (-49.1%).