WTTC to bailout hard-hit travel and tourism sector

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) will be rolling out a host of monetary-easing measures to blunt the economic impact sustained by the travel and tourism industry from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic once the virus is brought under control.

The council’s announcement comes amid its latest projections that the virus is putting up to 50 million jobs in the industry globally at risk.

WTTC projects that the Covid-19 is putting up to 50 million jobs in the industry globally at risk; travellers at Kuala Lumpur International Airport wearing masks to prevent infection from the virus

Gloria Guevara, WTTC president & CEO, said: “When the time is right, WTTC and the global private sector will be ready to help and support the government and countries to recover.”

Global travel could be adversely impacted by up to 25 per cent this year, equivalent to a loss of three months of global travel, according to latest figures from WTTC, which represents the global travel & tourism private sector. This could lead to a corresponding reduction in jobs of between 12 and 14 per cent.

Guevara said: “The Covid-19 outbreak clearly presents a significant threat to the industry as a whole, to those employed within it, and those wishing to continue travelling.

“Travel & tourism has the strength to overcome this challenge and will emerge stronger and more robust by taking all necessary measures to tackle Covid-19 and the understandable concern which surrounds it.”

Following extensive consultation with other travel & tourism organisations, WTTC is also calling for a series of measures to be taken, to enable the swift recovery of the sector once Covid-19 is under control.

WTTC will offer its support to all governments, particularly those which are implementing strong policies for a prompt recovery such as improving travel facilitation by removing or simplifying visas, reducing the cost and improving processing times, accepting other visas, and introducing more efficient technologies for seamless and secure travel.

The council will also work to ensure that unnecessary barriers are removed or relaxed to alleviate pressure at ports and airports, including temporarily lifting of the 80-20 slot policy rule, ports assignments and implementing flexible working visa for the industry in some countries with existing limitations, especially in hospitality and tour operation.

As well, WTTC will ease fiscal policies by reducing and removing travellers’ taxes which increases the cost of travel, e.g. air passenger duty and similar airport, port and hospitality taxes around the world.

It will also introduce relief and incentives to support business continuity for companies which have been most negatively impacted by the virus, particularly SMEs, which will take longer to recover.

In addition, the council will support destinations by increasing budgets and assigning resources for promotion, marketing and product development purposes in destinations when they are ready to welcome visitors again.

Meanwhile, WTTC reinforces the importance of strong public-private partnerships and greater international cooperation in order to respond and overcome the challenges faced by its members during the management and recovery from Covid-19.

The travel & tourism sector has a proven track record of resilience in the face of crises and this ability to bounce back has improved significantly in recent years, said WTTC.

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