UNWTO Launches Global Guidelines to Reopen Tourism

UNWTO Launches Global Guidelines to Reopen Tourism

Madrid, Spain, May 29, 2020 / TRAVELINDEX / The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has released a set of guidelines to help tourism sector emerge stronger and more sustainably from COVID-19. The guidelines highlight the need to act decisively, to restore confidence and, as UNWTO strengthens its partnership with Google, to embrace innovation and the digital transformation of global tourism.

• The United Nations specialized agency for tourism releases guidelines for strong and sustainable recovery
• Recommendations draw on cross-sector expertise of Tourism Crisis Committee
• Safe, seamless travel and restoring confidence key priorities
• UNWTO and Google strengthen partnership to promote digital skills and create new opportunities in recovery phase

The guidelines were produced in consultation with the Global Tourism Crisis Committee and aim to support governments and private sector to recover from an unparalleled crisis. Depending on when travel restrictions are lifted, the United Nations specialized agency warns that international tourist arrivals could fall by between 60% and 80%. This puts 100-120 million jobs at risk and could lead to US$ 910 billion to US$ 1.2 trillion lost in exports.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “These guidelines provide both governments and businesses with a comprehensive set of measures designed to help them open tourism up again in a safe, seamless and responsible manner. They are the product of the enhanced cooperation that has characterized tourism’s response to this shared challenge, building on knowledge and inputs from across the public and private sectors and from several UN agencies as part of the UN’s wider response.”

Safe and security protocols for tourism recovery

The new guide, a follow up of the Recommendations for Action already endorsed by the Committee, is focused on seven priorities for tourism recovery based on the pillars of mitigating the economic impact, developing safety protocols and coordinated responds and fostering innovation.

These guidelines provide both governments and businesses with a comprehensive set of measures designed to help them open tourism up again in a safe, seamless and responsible manner.

The guidelines highlight the importance of restoring the confidence of the travelers through safety and security protocols designed to reduce risks in each step of the tourism value chain. These protocols include the implementation of check procedures where appropriate, including temperature scans, testing, physical distancing, enhanced frequency of cleaning and the provision of hygiene kits for safe air travel, hospitality services or safe events.

Innovation key as UNWTO builds on Google partnership

The UNWTO Guidelines also highlight the opportunity to foster a digital transformation of destinations, companies and employees with initiatives such as the free online training with the UNWTO Online Academy and the implementation of apps such as the Hi Card to improve international interoperability at the airports and hotels. The role of technology in promoting social distancing in hotels and tourist destinations is also highlighted.

This comes as UNWTO strengthens its partnership with Google. Through this enhanced collaboration, the UN agency will work with Google to promote digital learning and online skills training so as to provide new opportunities across the global tourism sector.

Secretary-General Pololikashvili added: “We are thrilled to be working more closely with Google. The past weeks have highlighted the enhanced role technology plays in our lives and furthering the digital transformation of tourism will make the sector more resilient and create opportunities for people all around the world.”

About the Global Tourism Crisis Committee
UNWTO formed the Global Tourism Crisis Committee to guide the sector as it responds to the COVID-19 crisis and to build the foundations for future resilience and sustainable growth.

The Committee comprises representatives of UNWTO’s Member States and Affiliate Members, alongside the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), World Bank Group and the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The private sector is represented by Airports Council International (ACI), Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), International Air Transport Association (IATA) and World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) to ensure a coordinated and effective response.

Bangkok’s Fifteen Million Residents to Drive Thailand’s Domestic Tourism Reopening

Bangkok’s Fifteen Million Residents to Drive Thailand’s Domestic Tourism Reopening

Bangkok, Thailand, May 29, 2020 / TRAVELINDEX / Thailand’s domestic tourism reopening is shaping up to see Bangkok as the hub for an early return of daytrips, staycations and inter-provincial road trips. With over eight million residents coupled with a sprawling megacity catchment with a population base in excess of 15 million, the recovery of the country’s tourist economy is set to be staged from the capital city.

Focusing on Bangkok’s closest inter-provincial destinations, last year over 59 million domestic visitors were recorded in data collected from the Ministry of Tourism and Sports. Given Thailand’s total international visitor metric for 2019 was just above 39 million the clear massage for the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is to effectively fish where the fish are.

New research from hospitality consulting group C9 Hotelworks has highlighted the Top 8 intra-provincial destinations within six hours driving time from Bangkok. They are in order of visitor numbers – Nakhon Ratchasima, Kanchanaburi, Chon Buri, Petchaburi, Rayong, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Prachuap Khiri Khan and Saraburi.

While reopening Thailand to international tourism will require cross-border bilateral agreements, the government’s current focus is to mobilize the critical mass of domestic travelers through a series of health, safety and economic measures. These steps which are expected to be implemented in June include a formal certification for hotels and tourism establishments under the Safety and Health Administration (SHA) and government sponsored financial aids to stimulate domestic travel.

In an informal polling process this week in Bangkok amongst a cross section of residents, C9’s Managing Director Bill Barnett said “there was an overwhelming sentiment that initial driving trips outside of the city to inter-provincial destinations was preferred, given the present uncertainty over quarantine processes when flying. We expect Thailand’s reopening storyline for the remainder of 2020 to be a highly domesticated one. “

As for what provincial destinations were most mentioned in the poll, Delivering Asia Communications David Johnson concluded “the top picks for Bangkokians were Hua Hin, Pattaya, and Khao Yai. Surprisingly Koh Chang drew considerable attention and many Thai’s expressed desire to drive further than six hours to Chiang Mai, Nan and even go overland to Phuket.” For now, as the airspace above Thailand is relatively empty, the driving road trip is very much in the cards for Bangkok residents.

To discover Thailand’s Top Destinations and all 55 Secondary destinations, click here
For a complete travel guide on Thailand…here

Seychelles Will Bounce Back but Now Needs to Prepare to Reopen

Seychelles Will Bounce Back but Now Needs to Prepare to Reopen

Victoria, Mahé, Seychelles, May 29, 2020 / TRAVELINDEX / 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean – is a dream destination with abundant sunshine, powdery white beaches, crystal clear turquoise water, fresh clean air and unique diverse biodiversity. The island nation has for the last five decades been a tourism destination for thousands, an industry that is the main pillar of its economy.

But with the COVID-19 pandemic, countries have closed their borders and leisure travel is now impossible. Even big organizations like the International Air Transport Association (IATA) have predicted that travel will only resume normally in 2023.

Seychelles News Agency met with the nation’s former tourism minister, Alain St Ange, to get his views on the current situation, reinventing the industry and his new responsibility on the Africa COVID-19 Task Force.

SNA: What do you think of the current situation in Seychelles?

Alain St Ange: Our islands are facing an unprecedented situation where a global pandemic has turned our economy upside down and got every Seychellois to appreciate the importance of tourism as an industry. Today tourism, the pillar of the Seychelles economy, is on its knees and businesses affiliated to that vital industry and tourism staff as a whole are in a vulnerable situation. Employment is uncertain and cannot be seen as stable until tourism is relaunched in earnest.

Government has made statements that would have ensured an income for Seychellois households and a lifeline for local businesses. This statement sadly became an obstacle race with conditions and a triage process that left a bad taste in the mouths of so many as Seychellois suffer and a cost of living that is going through the roof. For Seychelles, it is not important to be informed of how many applications for the financial assistance that is received and approved but instead the speed of the assistance being dished out and why so many are not being approved.

SNA: Which sector do you think is the worst hit in tourism?

Alain St Ange: For Seychelles, everything became interconnected with tourism as can be better appreciated today. Hotels and guesthouses are closed and Seychelles is at a standstill. The hospitality sector is suffering, but so are the supporting businesses such as DMCs, taxis, car hire companies, ferries and boat charter operators, omnibus operators, delivery truck operators and free independent guides. This is only the front-line operators, then comes the arts and craft dealers, the farmers and fishermen to name but a few.

SNA: How do you think the industry will pick up after COVID-19?

Alain St Ange: Seychelles has no option but to work hard to pick up its tourism industry, not after COVID-19, but now. It has been stated by the World Health Organisation that COVID-19 is here to stay for a long time and this with or without a vaccine. Announcing a reopening only sets the ball rolling and the sooner that this is confirmed the faster it will move. It will still take months to see the industry start to perform. But it needs to start and this under the guidance and working alongside the Public Health Authority.

We cannot waste time as a country to say we are opening a debate on if we should or not open. We have to pinpoint our suitable tourism source markets where infections have slowed down and work with airlines to start our tourism industry. But this is subject to necessary screenings and tests preferably even before the visitors set foot in Seychelles.

SNA: What do you think the tourism sector can do to reinvent the industry?

Alain St Ange: Seychelles has the capacity and know-how to bounce back. Today we have our backs against the wall. Our survival depends on it and our tourism industry. In this era coined the ‘new normal’, tourism will also need to reinvent itself. To sit and wait for all to start based on what was done before will be a letdown for the people of our islands. We have to innovate and see what clicks. Seychelles is blessed to have had no deaths from this epidemic. We have a clean destination and a healthy population. Our culture will need to play an even greater part of the relaunch of our tourism.

Fresh produce over battery reared poultry for example. Organic farm products over commercial imports. Tourism will need to move in association and alongside cultural developments. Our culture is us, and we should not be shy about it. To push culture is placing our islanders in the centre of our tourism relaunched because you have no culture without people. Culture needs the government to also believe in its importance and to help develop it. Seychelles needs to appreciate for once and for all that no one has the monopoly on ideas.

SNA: Will tourism ever go back to the top as it was?

Alain St Ange: Yes, it will because first we need it and secondly the concept of the holiday will just not die. The challenge is to attract visitors to our shores instead of them going to another holiday destination that is making more noise. Government is the biggest partner of Seychelles’ tourism industry and needs to be seen to be investing and reinvesting in that industry. Every tourism destination will be fishing once again from the same fishing bank trying to attract the same tourists to their shores. Visibility is so important for Seychelles if it is to remain in the lineup of potential destinations.

SNA: Do you think there is the need to diversify tourism in Seychelles?

Alain St Ange: Yes of course. This has always been so but somehow the successes of tourism just made other industries to be placed on the backburner. Agriculture and fisheries need to be loved as much as we love tourism. Our farmers and fishermen are as dedicated to their chosen careers as tourism industry professionals are. So many islands form the Seychelles archipelago and agriculture and fisheries should be seen being developed on our islands as is seen on Denis Island and Fregate Island. This is not the work for Island Development Company but the private sector. Lease these islands to Seychellois islanders and let them get on with it.

SNA: Talk to us about your new nomination on the COVID-19 task force for Africa?

Alain St Ange: The HOPE Project was set up with Dr Taleb Rifai as its Chairperson and me as the Vice-Chair to see how we can prepare Africa for the relaunch of its industry. Many Tourism Ministers are sitting on this body as well as some former Tourism Ministers and tourism experts.

We meet weekly through video-link and we are now finalising training and re-skilling offers for tourism employees for Africa as we look at opportunities through google and major television networks to increase the visibility of Africa and its tourism destinations. Many innovative ideas have surfaced through the lengthy discussions and we are hoping to be able to make a difference for Africa as a whole.

UNWTO: Africa Day Message

UNWTO: Africa Day Message

Madrid, Spain, May 28, 2020 / TRAVELINDEX / On May 25 we celebrated Africa’s rich heritage, its people, cultural diversity and exciting gastronomy.

These are all reasons why African tourism has been on the rise over recent years. And this gives us good reason to be optimistic as we look to the future.

This year, Africa Day comes against the backdrop of an unprecedented global challenge.

This is a challenge that has upended the global economy. It also places many millions of jobs at risk. And it threatens to roll back the social and economic benefits tourism has been delivering across Africa.

However, tourism has long proven its resilience. And Africa has shown its determination to grow back better and stronger.

As countries begin to slowly open their borders again, our sector can build trust and confidence. These are the essential foundations for recovery.

Recovery will also be driven by innovation. During this crisis, African entrepreneurs have adapted to the new realities. They have been an inspiration, not least in the way they have delivered health and economic solutions to shield the most vulnerable.

At the same time, this crisis has also once again highlighted the importance of strong leadership and of cooperation across borders. The African Union has responded to this public health emergency with urgency and responsibility. And, in supporting calls for a global ceasefire, have helped shield the most vulnerable.

Strong leadership and solidarity are at the heart of our Recommendations for Recovery. And they form the basis of our Agenda for Africa.

On this Africa Day, I call on all countries to continue with the spirit of solidarity you have shown during this crisis.

Cooperation between countries, and between the public and private sectors, will allow tourism to keep growing, providing opportunities and better lives for millions in the years ahead.

Project to Advance Investor Action on Systemic Social Risks During Covid-19

Project to Advance Investor Action on Systemic Social Risks During Covid-19

Brookline, MA, United States, May 28, 2020 / TRAVELINDEX / Social and financial systems are increasingly interconnected. The ongoing and rapidly-changing social, financial, and economic fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic is a vivid, real-time example of this interconnection in action. The pandemic has exposed the systemic challenges already present for the vast majority of working people, and magnified the hurdles facing historically marginalized groups.

The Moving the Market (MtM) Initiative, a collaboration between Humanity United, UBS Optimus Foundation, and The Freedom Fund, has partnered with The Investment Integration Project (TIIP) to develop a roadmap that helps investors better understand and respond to the material risks to their investments – from business as usual to times of extreme crisis – that are caused by the deep interconnection between social and financial systems.

“Covid-19 has exposed how the financial sector has undervalued the importance of social impacts. As we move towards a new normal, capital markets must better factor in the risk of future massive systemic failures,” said Kilian Moote, Director for Humanity United. “Investors need to understand their role in ensuring that inevitable, future shocks to social systems are not as financially or economically catastrophic as Covid-19 has been.”

The project, titled “Understanding Systemic Social Risk: A Roadmap for Financial Industry Action,” will use Covid-19 as a frame of reference to explain the interconnection between social and financial systems, guide investors in integrating social considerations into their investment decision-making, and recommend how other industry stakeholders (e.g. policymakers and industry regulators) can encourage and support investors and help to increase the resiliency of capital markets.

The Moving the Market (MtM) Initiative and TIIP will co-host a webinar on June 11, 2020 at 11am ET to discuss the project’s objectives, research questions, and workplan with key stakeholders. It is the first in a series of webinars that MtM and TIIP will co-host as part of the project to keep industry stakeholders up to date on project activities and findings, answer questions, and to catalogue and consider their feedback at various stages of project completion.

Register for the webinar at no charge here.

“Partnering with the Moving the Market Initiative to create this guidance is one way that we can help to ensure that the financial industry learns from the fallout from Covid-19, and to ensure that inevitable future societal disruptions are less costly,” said Bill Burckart, President of TIIP and co-author of the forthcoming book 21st Century Investing: Redirecting Financial Strategies to Drive Systems Change (Berrett-Koehler, 2021). “TIIP has been at the forefront of making investors aware that systemic issues of all kinds, from climate change to income inequality and others, impact their bottom lines and that they can do something about it. The Covid-19 pandemic has been a wake-up call for many that ignoring these issues and failing to manage related risks has very real financial and economic consequences.”

“Understanding Systemic Social Risk” is part of Moving the Market, an initiative supported by Humanity United, UBS Optimus Foundation, and The Freedom Fund to encourage investors’ consideration of social issues across asset classes. Through a pooled fund, the initiative aims to “move the market” by sponsoring projects to support investor demand for sustainable investing and advance approaches to account for social impacts in investment decision-making. Grantee organizations are developing and piloting new strategies to advance investor engagement on modern slavery across a range of asset classes, with the aim of expanding the tools, metrics and approaches available to market actors.

Humanity United
Humanity United is a foundation dedicated to cultivating the conditions for enduring freedom and peace. We support and build efforts to transform the systems that contribute to human exploitation and violent conflict. HU was founded by The Omidyar Group, a diverse collection of independent organizations and initiatives that pursue different ways to improve the lives of people and societies.

UBS Optimus Foundation
UBS Optimus Foundation connects clients with inspiring entrepreneurs, new technologies and proven models that are making a measurable, long-term difference to the most serious and enduring social and environmental problems. The only client-facing foundation linked to a global wealth manager, UBS Optimus Foundation has a long track record and is recognised globally as a philanthropic thought leader. It takes an evidence-based approach and focuses on programs that have the potential to be transformative, scalable and sustainable. This gives clients the reassurance that they are funding innovative projects that have a stronger chance of achieving systemic change. UBS covers 100% of the Foundation’s costs and also makes matching contributions, ensuring that client donations will go even further.

The Freedom Fund
The Freedom Fund is a leader in the global movement to end modern slavery. We identify and invest in the most effective frontline efforts to eradicate modern slavery in the countries and sectors where it is most prevalent. Partnering with visionary investors, governments, anti-slavery organisations and those at risk of exploitation, we tackle the systems that allow slavery to persist.

The Investment Integration Project (TIIP)
TIIP’s mission is to help investors understand how healthy environmental, social, and financial systems can benefit their portfolios. TIIP provides thought leadership, research, and consulting services that support investors’ pursuit of system-level investing, an advanced sustainable investing approach that focuses on managing systemic risks and investing in solutions to systemic problems.

Airline Debt Balloon by Heavy Debt Levels Will Weigh Down Airline Recovery

Airline Debt Balloon by Heavy Debt Levels Will Weigh Down Airline Recovery

Geneva, Switzerland, May 28, 2020 / TRAVELINDEX / The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released analysis showing that the airline industry’s global debt could rise to $550 billion by year-end. That’s a $120 billion increase over debt levels at the start of 2020.

– $67 billion of the new debt is composed of government loans ($50 billion), deferred taxes ($5 billion) and loan guarantees ($12 billion).
– $52 billion is from commercial sources including commercial loans ($23 billion), capital market debt ($18 billion), debt from new operating leases ($5 billion), and accessing existing credit facilities ($6 billion).

Financial aid is a lifeline to get through the worst of the crisis without folding operations. But during the re-start period later this, the industry’s debt load will be near $550 billion—a massive 28% increase.

“Government aid is helping to keep the industry afloat. The next challenge will be preventing airlines from sinking under the burden of debt that the aid is creating,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

In total governments have committed to $123 billion in financial aid to airlines. Of this, $67 billion will need to be repaid. The balance largely consists of wage subsidies ($34.8 billion), equity financing ($11.5 billion), and tax relief / subsidies ($9.7 billion). This is vital for airlines which will burn through an estimated $60 billion of cash in the second quarter of 2020 alone.

“Over half the relief provided by governments creates new liabilities. Less than 10% will add to airline equity. It changes the financial picture of the industry completely. Paying off the debt owed governments and private lenders will mean that the crisis will last a lot longer than the time it takes for passenger demand to recover,” said de Juniac.

Regional variations

The $123 billion in government financial aid is equal to 14% of 2019’s total airline revenues ($838 billion). The regional variations of the aid dispersion indicate that there are gaps that will need to be filled.

There are still large gaps in the financial aid needed to help airlines survive the COVID-19 crisis. The US government has led the way with its CARES Act being the main component of financial aid to North American carriers which in total represented a quarter of 2019 annual revenues for the region’s airlines. This is followed by Europe with assistance at 15% of 2019 annual revenues and Asia-Pacific at 10%. But in Africa, the Middle East and Latin America average aid is around 1% of 2019 revenues.

“Many governments have stepped up with financial aid packages that provide a bridge over this most difficult situation, including cash to avoid bankruptcies. Where governments have not responded fast enough or with limited funds, we have seen bankruptcies. Examples include Australia, Italy, Thailand, Turkey, and the UK. Connectivity will be important to the recovery. Meaningful financial aid to airlines now makes economic sense. It will ensure that they are ready to provide job-supporting connectivity as economies re-open,” said de Juniac.

The Impact of Debt

The kind of aid provided will influence the speed and strength of the recovery. IATA urged governments still contemplating financial relief to focus on measures that help airlines raise equity financing. “Many airlines are still in desperate need of a financial lifeline. For those governments that have not yet acted, the message is that helping airlines raise equity levels with a focus on grants and subsidies will place them in a stronger position for the recovery,” said de Juniac.

“A tough future is ahead of us. Containing COVID-19 and surviving the financial shock is just the first hurdle. Post-pandemic control measures will make operations more costly. Fixed costs will have to be spread over fewer travelers. And investments will be needed to meet our environmental targets. On top of all that, airlines will need to repay massively increased debts arising from the financial relief. After surviving the crisis, recovering to financial health will be the next challenge for many airlines,” said de Juniac.

Last week, the IATA Board of Governors committed to five key principles for the industry re-start. Among these are commitments to the safety and security of staff and travelers, to meeting the industry’s environmental targets and to being a meaningful driver of the economic recovery with affordable connectivity.

WTTC Launches World’s First Global Safety Stamp to Recognise Safe Travels Protocols

WTTC Launches World’s First Global Safety Stamp to Recognise Safe Travels Protocols

London, Great Britain, May 27, 2020 / TRAVELINDEX / The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has launched the world’s first ever global safety and hygiene stamp. Special safety and hygiene mark to provide consistency and reassurance for consumers to speed the Travel & Tourism recovery. Saudi Arabia, Barcelona, Portugal, Cancun and Seville among first destinations to adopt private sector protocols and stamp. UNWTO endorses and supports private sector global protocols.

The specially designed stamp will allow travellers to recognise governments and businesses around the world which have adopted health and hygiene global standardised protocols – so consumers can experience ‘Safe Travels’.

The landmark move by WTTC, which represents the global Travel & Tourism private sector, has also received the backing of the influential United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

Eligible businesses such as hotels, restaurants, airlines, cruise lines, tour operators, restaurants, outdoor shopping, transportation and airports, will be able to use the stamp once the health and hygiene protocols, outlined by WTTC, have been implemented.

Destinations will also help to award the stamp of approval to local suppliers.

The launch of global protocols to recover the Travel & Tourism sector have been embraced by over 200 CEO’s including some of the world’s major tourism groups.

Trip.com and Expedia have also supported WTTC’s initiative to reassure travellers and bring back confidence to Travel & Tourism.

Gloria Guevara, WTTC President & CEO, said: “We are delighted that UNWTO are supporting the private sector global protocols and our efforts as public-private collaboration is critical to ensure a faster recovery.

We have learned from past crises that global standard protocols and consistency provides confidence for the traveller. Our new global safety stamp is designed to help rebuild consumer confidence worldwide.

“We are excited that Saudi Arabia, which is Chair of the G20 tourism group, as well as popular destinations such as Cancun, one of the biggest destinations in the world, Portugal, one of the fastest growing countries in Europe and the holiday cities of Barcelona and Seville, amongst others, are among the first destinations to back the stamp and implement global standard protocols to recover faster.

“Now travellers will be able to recognise the businesses and destinations worldwide which have adopted the new set of global protocols that will encourage the return of ‘Safe Travels’ around the world. It will, in turn, help the Travel & Tourism sector to reopen for business and move in a coordinated approach.

“For the first time ever, the global private sector has rallied around Safe Travels protocols which will create consistency across the sector. Implementation by governments
around the world will restore much-needed confidence in order to restart the Travel & Tourism industry.”

Zurab Pololikashvili, UNWTO Secretary-General, said: “We welcome WTTC’s global safety stamp and Safe Travels protocols and its contribution to restoring confidence. This is key to build trust and we will only succeed if we work together.

“Public and private sector collaboration are of the essence here and we are happy to be working together with WTTC on the post COVID-19 recovery, and value their contribution to UNWTOs Global Crisis Committee, where we gather other leading private sector bodies, our members and key UN agencies.

“We are united in the common goal of tourism’s come-back to generate benefits going far beyond our sector. Trust and tourism will catalyse consumer demand, investments and jobs, thus generating opportunities for all.”

His Excellency, Ahmed Al-Khateeb, Saudi Arabia Minister of Tourism, said: “As Chair of this year’s G20 Tourism Track, we are putting public-private cooperation at the heart of international efforts for a swift recovery. The WTTC’s new Safe Travels global protocols are an essential step on that path to recovery, by helping to provide consistency and reassurance for travellers.”

Marian Muro, Tourism Barcelona Director General, said: “First of all, we wish to congratulate WTTC for this initiative. Right now, Barcelona’s priority is focusing on the adoption of the appropriate security measures and protocols to make our visitors feel safe through the establishment of the BCN Safe City project and other innovative tools.

“Public and private sectors are working closely together to offer security and confidence to the tourism and travel industry in their activity at Barcelona. We are leaving a reactivation of demand and a great interest in traveling to our Mediterranean and innovative city.

“Therefore, and in order to strengthen that trust, we consider the global protocols designed by WTTC to be essential, which will allow the travel and tourism industry to align around the same global health and safety guidelines that will help protect travellers on their trips.”

Carlos Joaquín, Governor of Quintana Roo, said: “Cancun and the Mexican Caribbean have implemented the new safety measures for travellers that WTTC has recognised and approved through the Safe Travels stamp.”

Rita Marques, Portugal’s Secretary of State, said: “Portugal has been committed in reassuring our tourists they will always have the best experience in our country. This stamp, together with our “Clean & Safe” program, is one step further in reassuring everyone that we care, our destination is focused on recovery, and trust is at the core of our business.”

Antonio Jimenez, The Congress and Tourism of Seville Managing Director, said: “Seville supports and applauds the Safe Travel Stamp initiative of the World Travel & Tourism Council, presented to the sector as a series of global protocols with the aim of restarting Travel and Tourism, which, without a doubt, will restore the confidence of travellers, and above all, will make travel safe again.“

WTTC and all its Members from around the world have the safety and hygiene of travellers as their top priority.

Last week WTTC’s launched the first of range of new worldwide measures that were part of its Safe Travels protocols to rebuild consumer confidence and encourage the restoration of the global Travel & Tourism sector.

They provide consistency to destinations and countries, as well as guidance to travel providers and travellers about the new approach to health, hygiene, deep cleansing and physical distancing, in the post COVID-19 world.

Detailed discussions took place with numerous key stakeholders and organisations to ensure maximum buy-in, alignment and practical implementation, to set clear expectations of what travellers may expect travelling in the “new normal” before the vaccine is available.

The protocols are also being defined following the experience of WTTC members in dealing with COVID19 and based on the best available medical evidence.

It also follows guidelines from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Centre for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

WTTC has been leading a task force with with industry associations and international organisations such ACI, CLIA, DFWC, ETC, IATA, ICAO, OECD, PATA, USTA, UNWTO and WEF.

Evidence from WTTC’s Crisis Readiness report, which looked at 90 different types of crises in the last 20 years, highlights the importance of public-private cooperation and the implementation of standardized protocols.

According to WTTC’s 2020 Economic Impact Report, during 2019, Travel & Tourism was responsible for one in 10 jobs (330 million total), making a 10.3% contribution to global GDP and generating one in four of all new jobs.

World Travel & Tourism Council:

WTTC has created nine overarching principles & objectives for the Travel & Tourism Sector in the post-lockdown and recovery stage:

1. Have the sector lead the definition of industry regulation as Travel & Tourism moves from crisis management to recovery
2. Put the safety, health and security of travellers and the Travel & Tourism workforce at the core of the development of global standards
3. Ensure coherence in the approach and development of new global standards through a coordinated, collaborative, and transparent approach within the Travel & Tourism sector
4. Share harmonised and consistent standards and guidelines across destinations and countries.
5. Collaborate with key actors across the Travel & Tourism supply and value chain to ensure readiness to restart operations
6. Ensure standards and guidelines implemented are aligned with governmental and public health requirements and supported by medical evidence.
7. Rebuild trust and confidence with travellers through effective communication & marketing; letting them know the protocols and guidelines implemented and assurances available to keep them safe.
8. Relax and lift travel restrictions once the public health threat has been contained.
9. Advocate for the implementation of enabling policies from financial relief to visa facilitation and incentives to destination promotion to support the recovery and demand re-generation for the sector.

CNN Joins UNWTO on #TravelTomorrow Campaign

CNN Joins UNWTO on #TravelTomorrow Campaign

Madrid, Spain, May 27, 2020 / TRAVELINDEX / The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has joined forces with CNN International for a major new initiative designed to inspire people to get ready to travel again. The #TravelTomorrow campaign combines the key message of the United Nations specialized agency with the creativity of the broadcaster and looks to a brighter future for global tourism and those that are reliant on the sector for their livelihoods.

From the start of the COVID-19 pandemic that brought the world to a standstill, UNWTO has emphasized the importance of putting public health first. The “Stay Home Today to #TravelTomorrow” message has been amplified around the world, both by governments and by individual travellers. Now, as many destinations look to easing travel restrictions, UNWTO has partnered with CNN to create a 60 second film celebrating the unique power of tourism to inspire and bring people together.

“Recovery, unity and opportunity”

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “In these challenging times we must all play our part – staying home today, supporting the efforts of the global healthcare community in combating COVID19 – so that we can #TravelTomorrow. But this does not mean we should stop dreaming about the places we will one day travel to. I am excited by this new initiative created by CNN, a valued partner of the UNWTO, to keep the world connected to the people and places that wait for us when we can once again enjoy the gift of travel – a sector that will be critical to global economic recovery, unity and opportunity.”

The film, which will be shown on CNN International and its social media and which will also be amplified by UNWTO’s own media channels, takes viewers around the world, reminding them of the wonders beyond their neighbourhoods. #TravelTomorrow aims to drive imagination for future trips featuring adventure, business, culture, family and friends. It also promotes solidarity and emphasizes the importance of all tourists following the guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO).

CNN Worldwide Commercial President Rani Raad said: “Travel and tourism is by far one of the most affected sectors as a result of this pandemic. Our commitment to supporting this industry is based on our work over many years with the UNWTO, its members around the world and other travel and tourism destinations. It is important to share this responsible yet aspirational message with CNN’s global audience, reminding people that while many have to stay home today, to not stop dreaming about where they want to travel to tomorrow.”

Thailand Launches Certification Scheme to Enhance Tourism Health Standards

Thailand Launches Certification Scheme to Enhance Tourism Health Standards

Bangkok, Thailand, May 27, 2020 / TRAVELINDEX / Thailand’s tourism and health authorities have teamed up to launch a unique certification scheme aimed to prepare the Thai tourism industry for the recovery period and enhance confidence amongst international and domestic tourists.

The “Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration: SHA” project was launched today by Mr. Phiphat Ratchakitprakan, Minister of Tourism and Sports, Mr. Chote Trachu, Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Dr. Panpimol Wipulakorn, Director-General, Department of Health, Ministry of Public Health, and Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand at a press conference “Amazing Thailand Safety & Health Administration: (SHA)” at the Grand Ballroom, Floor 2, The Athenee Hotel, Bangkok.

Mr. Phiphat Ratchakitprakan, Minister of Tourism and Sports, said, “The Covid-19 virus spread quickly and widely to many countries around the world, infecting and killing many people. Currently, Thailand has been able to control the spread of the disease thanks to the quick action taken by the Royal Thai Government and the whole-hearted support of the general public.

“However, Thailand is still at risk of being hit by a “second wave”, which will require continued vigilance and public support for the prevention and control measures. At the same time, we must ensure a gradually phased-in economic recovery with behavioural change in accordance with the new way of life or New Normal.”

Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, said, “Ensuring high health and safety standards will be one of the key criteria for Thai tourism to establish its competitive advantage in the recovery period. The desire to travel will remain strong, but when it actually comes to the decision-making time, visitors will opt for those destinations where they feel confident about their personal safety.”

The Governor said that all applying establishments will undergo strict inspection and be assigned the SHA logo as a mark of quality certification of the service standards of that establishment. The logo will be issued by TAT and have a validity period of two years. All the names of the accredited establishments will be entered into a database. If any violations are reported, the logo will be revoked.

Ten types of business can request the SHA standard as follows:

1. Restaurants / food outlets
2. Hotel / accommodation and convention centres
3. Recreation and tourist attractions
4. Tourist transport vehicle
5. Travel agents / tour operators
6. Health and beauty parlours
7. Department stores and shopping centres
8. Sports stadiums for tourism
9. Theatres / cinemas
10. Souvenir shops and other stores.

The names of the SHA certified establishments will be publicised via www.tourismthailand.org/thailandsha and through the communication channels of TAT’s domestic and overseas offices to build confidence for tourists.

Tourism operators and those interested in tourism service providers or wanting to apply to participate in the Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration (SHA) programme, can contact E-mail: info@thailandsha.com; Official Line: @thailandsha

Is Tourism Key to Win a Presidential Election in the Seychelles?

Is Tourism Key to Win a Presidential Election in the Seychelles?

Victoria, Mahé, Seychelles, May 27, 2020 / TRAVELINDEX / Explained why Alain St. Ange has what it takes to become president of Seychelles? How important is the travel and tourism industry for a country, its people, and the world that a former tourism minister has an excellent chance and brings the qualification to become the next head of State?

In Seychelles, Tourism is a lifeline for its people and understanding and being able to lead this industry are in fact the best qualification required for a candidate to become the next president.

In the Republic of Seychelles this man may be Alain St. Ange. He is the leader of One Seychelles, a new political party in the Indian Ocean republic.

Seychelles Foreign Minister Jean-Paul Adam said in 2012 that the most important Cabinet Post is the Minister of Culture and Tourism. This post was occupied by the Hon. Alain St. Ange at that time. He moved Seychelles from a small unknown island nation to a leading country because of the islands emerging travel and tourism industry. This African nation of about 100,000 citizens breathes and lives travel and tourism.

Strategically positioned in the Indian Ocean, Seychelles is a melting pot of cultures and people with a strong influence of British, French, Indian, and African thinking. It’s also recognized as one of the most beautiful island nations on the face of the earth.

In 2012 the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands regional Organization on Tourism was formed and the Seychelles Minister St Ange was appointed as the first president of the organization. The idea of a ‘Vanilla Islands’ marketing concept was to promote the Indian region in Africa including Reunion, Mauritius, Madagascar, Seychelles, Comoros, and Mayotte as one tourist destinations. This could only be achieved through the pooling of resources and expertise.

Aviation was always and is still an issue in Africa with many countries protecting their national carriers and airspace. It was Alain St. Ange and his vision for Seychelles and the region to invite Routes in 2012 to hold their African Aviation Summit in the brand new Sofitel in Seychelles.

St. Ange started producing an Indian Ocean news-column. Its articles mirrored his ambition and his love for the travel and tourism world, the environment, and specifically his commitment to his Island Country, Seychelles, and its people and culture.

With such global exposure managed to put Seychelles on the map of the travel and tourism industry.

The tourism industry of Seychelles recorded sustained growth up to the global financial crisis in 2008, when a drop in arrivals of nearly a quarter was anticipated before active countermeasures were devised as the archipelago’s private sector took over the lead role at the tourism board with Alain St.Ange in the driving seat. That year ended with the loss of just a few hundred arrivals compared to the previous year, albeit at the expense of tariffs being discounted.

President James Michel recognized this and promoted St. Ange as the Director of Marketing for Seychelles. The former president himself was also the minister of tourism at that time.

After one year of service, St. Ange was promoted to the position of CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board in 2010

Alain St. Ange said in 2010:

When I was mandated to head the marketing of Seychelles in March 2009, I found an organization stuck a bit in the past with one or two strong personalities and allowing the known attributes of Seychelles to work by themselves to promote the islands.

With the support of the industry’s private sector, we moved to empower the team in the marketing department of the Tourism Board, thus moving from having a strong personality to a strong team. We then moved to reposition Seychelles to break the perception that we were but a destination for the rich and famous.

We had to tell the world of the “Affordable Seychelles” – the Seychelles that offered a dream holiday with accommodation establishments for every budget, and this we did through a series of press conferences right round the world at the same time as we used our unique selling points to help us showcase our islands. We then worked with our tour operators to get them to believe in our destination and bring that much-needed confidence back.

In a 2012 cabinet re-shuffle, St Ange was appointed as Minister of Tourism and Culture which he resigned on 28 December 2016 in order to pursue a candidacy as Secretary-General of the UN World Tourism Organization.

Back in 1979 Alain St.Ange served in the island’s People’s Assembly after winning the elections for the La Digue electoral constituency and again re-entered the National Assembly in 2002 after winning the elections for the Bel Air electoral constituency as an Opposition Candidate.

Seychelles tourism started in earnest in 1972 with the opening of the island’s International Airport by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth as Seychelles remained a British Colony up to 1976. James Mancham, the founding father of Seychelles is remembered as the charismatic personality who pushed the tourism agenda and was a passenger on the first BOAC Super VC10 flight on the 4th of July 1971 that opened the Seychelles International Airport for commercial flights.

Just a year after the crisis between 2009 and 2019 Seychelles set new arrival records year after year, to a large extend triggered by a publicity coup through the launch of the Seychelles International Carnival in 2011 which over the following couple of years then brought the global media spotlights on the islands and making it into one of the world’s most desired island tourism destinations.

Ever since St. Ange produced an Indian Ocean touris column, he had a special ambition to media. The friends of the media club started by the Seychelles Tourism Board was a global success and had been copied by tourism boards around the world.

St. Ange always saw his country from out of the box, which was a secret of his success and a secret for Seychelle’s success in the travel and tourism world.

St. Ange became vice-chair of the International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP), a global organization guiding the globe in green growth PLUS quality equals business.

St. Ange is the vice-president of African Tourism Board (ATB) and helped set up and shape the organization in what is becoming today.

St. Ange may be white, but he is a true African with a global mindset and ready to welcome everyone. In his own words: “Seychelles is a country where everyone is a friend, and enemies are none. “

Seychelles remains one of the few countries where during “no-corona times” no one needs a visa.

Today not only Seychelles is suffering, but so is Africa and the entire world. Coronavirus is a direct attack on the travel and tourism industry.

St. Ange was a co-founder of the Project Hope initiative. With the help of St. Ange and his global network of friends, tourism ministers, and leaders from throughout Africa, are meeting once a week on Zoom to prepare a way forward for the African continent to master the Coronavirus crisis.

In addition St. Ange is a member of the high-level task force and a co-founder of rebuilding travel, a global initiative with tourism leaders from 108 countries coordinating the relaunch of the visitors industry.

At home St. Ange runs a global tourism consultancy and in that capacity remains a much-sought speaker for global aviation and tourism events.

St.Ange has stated his intent to stand for President of Seychelles when the elections are called later in the coming months. He is preparing for One Seychelles to contest the 2020 Presidential Elections and the following National Assembly Elections.