The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has warned governments around the world that further country-wide border closures could seriously jeopardise global economic recovery.
WTTC is urging authorities to take a more carefully calibrated approach and introduce localised measures, and only when necessary.
This would avoid blanket restrictions, prevent stalling the fragile economic recovery and not cripple the already bruised and battered tourism sector.
WTTC would support the opening of city to city ‘air corridors’ between global financial centres, such as London and Frankfurt and New York.
This would help restart business travel which is crucial to kickstarting the economic recovery.
Unfortunately, a number of countries around the world are experiencing local coronavirus spikes.
This is forcing a re-think by a number of governments which are now having to consider reintroducing tough and unwelcome new ‘anti-travel’ measures.
According to the latest statistics from Johns Hopkins University in the US, the worldwide Covid-19 death toll has passed 606,000 while the number of confirmed coronavirus cases has now surpassed more than 14.5 million.
Gloria Guevara, WTTC president, said: “Governments should not close off access to other countries in their entirety.
“Only regional border measures should be imposed if essential, so that the recovery of a country’s whole economy is not jeopardised in future.
“The establishment of ‘air corridors’ between financial centres where infection levels are low, such as between London and New York, would provide a vital boost to business travel and aid the economic recovery.
“Enforcing country-wide restrictions is a blunt instrument which benefits no one; neither travellers, the local population, the economy or the tourism sector which has been left reeling from the impact of worldwide travel restrictions.
“Such measures could undo the significant efforts to revive tourism, which has recently shown encouraging signs of emerging from the worst of the pandemic, and which in turn has brought hope to millions of people around the world who depend upon the sector for their livelihoods.”
She added: “It is perfectly possible to fight Covid-19 and support the economic recovery through the tourism sector at the same time.
“We urge governments to consider only local lockdowns as the key to opening the door to a successful way forward.”
: Valery Sharifulin/Tass/PA s