The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Wednesday took advantage of the Ibero-American Summit held in Andorra in a dual-mode with some leaders present and the others delivering speeches online to highlight its new Destination Tracker, an app produced jointly with the International Air Transport Association (IATA), as a tool to guarantee safe international travel throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking on behalf of UNWTO, Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili underscored the pressing need to “coordinate the introduction of protocols for safe international travel to avoid adding uncertainty and undermining confidence.”
The tracker, also known as ‘Digital Green Pass’, which aims to restart tourism in the European Union by June or July, “should be an example for other global regions and countries to follow; the cost of more chaos is simply too high not to”, he added.
The UNWTO Delegation joined His Majesty King Felipe VI of Spain, alongside the Head of Government of Andorra, Espot Zamora; Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez; the President of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa; the President of the Dominican Republic, Luis Abinader and the President of Guatemala, Alejandro Giammatte for the convention of leaders of the 22 Spanish and Portuguese-speaking countries of Latin America and Europe.
With tourism a pillar of development and employment in all Ibero-American economies, Mr Pololikashvili stressed “the opportunity for tourism to help us grow back better” amid a growing need to reshape one of the economic activities which was affected the most by the coronavirus pandemic.
Participants at the Summit were also informed of UNWTO’s enhanced partnerships with international finance organizations to ensure tourism jobs and businesses receive the support they need in this time of crisis. Looking ahead, UNWTO’s work with the Inter-American Development Bank and with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations will help ensure the restart of tourism delivers benefits for rural communities on both sides of the Atlantic.
The day before the summit, the Presidents of Guatemala and the Dominican Republic paid a visit to the UNWTO headquarters in Madrid. In these meetings, UNWTO stressed the importance of cooperation in jointly restarting tourism. The importance of tourism to both countries was also highlighted, not just for the direct activities it involves but also for the opportunities it creates for indigenous communities.