Impacting Travel

WTTC, Spain to host the conference focused on the recovery of global travel and tourism

WHY RATE: The World Travel and Tourism Council and the Spanish Government jointly held a large-scale global conference to discuss the key measures needed to resume international travel. The event included the signing of key parts of the ‘La Palma Declaration’, which outlines a number of crucial recommendations, such as the adoption of shared international protocols for COVID-19 traveler testing. – Laurie Baratti, TravelPulse Associate Writer

With the aim of establishing actions and commitments to restart international travel, the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and the Spanish Government hosted a hybrid conference, where industry leaders from both the public and private sectors participated, covering 95 countries and more than 100 travel and tourism companies.

This event was organized as a result of the WTTC convening the leaders of the G7 + Spain, South Korea and Australia for an agreement at the highest level, to save the sector and the millions of jobs that depend on it.

The President of the Government of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, reiterated his commitment to the sector and confirmed Spain’s leadership with the holding of an important conference to discuss the key measures necessary to reactivate international travel and tourism.

The conference was a follow-up to last month’s first public-private sector tourism meeting of the G20, where around 45 executive directors and members of the WTTC were invited for the first time at the request of Saudi Arabia, the host country.

As a result of the discussions, all key parties have signed the ‘Declaration of La Palma’.

The ‘La Palma Declaration’ includes a number of key recommendations including the adoption of international protocols for COVID-19 testing prior to departure and acceptance of the results upon arrival at the destination. This testing regimen has proven its effectiveness in several countries, such as Spain and the Canary Islands.

Establishing sanitary control measures like this will allow for shorter quarantine periods when returning to the country of origin, or could lead to the elimination of quarantines altogether.

The ‘Declaration of La Palma’ also proposes to establish international agreements to implement international travel corridors that facilitate the return of both leisure and business trips between countries or cities with similar epidemiological situations.

Travel and tourism companies were also invited to propose new measures to adapt and facilitate travel in the context of the pandemic. These options included offering flexible reservations, payment terms or changes due to positive COVID-19, or offering affordable or higher value products to incentivize domestic and international travel.

The ‘Declaration of La Palma’ urges all parties to adjust their business models to the new global situation and work together to develop new products that boost national and international travel and tourism, as well as implement training programs to improve and empower to tourism workers and SMEs. giving them the digital skills necessary to adapt to the “new normal”.

Finally, a more inclusive and resilient industry will be promoted by strengthening sustainability practices in tourism.

The President of the Government of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, opened the Conference and said that the results of this Summit will benefit millions of families and companies around the world.

“The priority is to make it possible to restart international travel, and for this we must use the new tools available, such as more accessible and reliable diagnostic tests, so that international travel guarantees safety.”

During his speech, he made it clear that we must turn the crisis into an opportunity to modernize the international tourism sector and make it more inclusive, accessible and sustainable, and to better spread wealth.

In conclusion, he said that a world without COVID-19 is approaching, but as this future approaches, we have an obligation to mitigate the effects of this crisis in the Travel and Tourism sector.

Gloria Guevara, President and CEO of WTTC, said: “WTTC is delighted to have had the opportunity to work closely with the government of Spain in organizing this vital conference, as the biggest challenge facing the industry is international coordination.

“I want to acknowledge and congratulate the President of the Government of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, as well as the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Reyes Maroto, for their leadership and commitment to public-private collaboration. This is a historic meeting and it will be essential to restart international travel through close collaboration that will result in the implementation of key measures that will be necessary to recover millions of jobs ”.

He also highlighted that an international rapid test exit protocol is crucial for the sector, which is why the La Palma Declaration will support the execution of this and all the proposals presented by WTTC at the G20 meeting last month.

The Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Reyes Maroto, delivered the closing speech, highlighting “it is essential to have a coordinated international response that allows the restart of international travel in a safe and viable manner, since this will allow travel and tourism sector to recover more quickly. “

During his speech, Maroto stressed that the La Palma conference is of extraordinary importance, because it is the first time that the public and private sectors have committed to working together for the recovery of global tourism. He also said that Spain was a pioneer in the approval of air corridors to facilitate international travel and has established the obligation to perform pre-trip diagnostic tests as an alternative to quarantines and travel restrictions to guarantee the restart of safe international travel.

Finally, the Minister stressed that the tourism sector is a priority for the Government and that the necessary resources will be allocated for its transformation and necessary impulse.

We want Spain to continue to be the most competitive country in the world in terms of tourism and for this we will mobilize more than 3,400 million euros over the next three years in transformative projects that make tourism a more sustainable, digital, accessible and inclusive sector, ” she said.

Among the CEOs of some of the world’s largest travel and tourism companies and WTTC members who participated were: Iberia President and CEO Javier Sánchez-Prieto; CEO of Radisson Hotel Group, Federico J González Tejera; TUI CEO, Friedrich Joussen; Certares founder and managing partner Greg O’Hara; Expedia Group Senior Vice President, Jean-Philippe Monod.

The ministers who participated in this historic conference were: the Prime Minister of Spain, Pedro Sánchez; The President of the Canary Islands, Ángel Víctor Torres; Reyes Maroto, Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism; The Secretary of State for Tourism of Portugal, Rita Marques; UK Minister for Sport, Tourism and Heritage, Nigel Huddleston; The Minister of Tourism and Sports of Argentina, Matías Lammens; Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Tourism, Najib Balala; The Minister of Tourism of Saudi Arabia, HE Ahmed Agil AlKhateeb; Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce of the Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands.

The Director General and CEO of IATA, Alexandre de Juniac IATA, and the Secretary General of UNWTO, Zurab Pololikashvili, also participated in this important conference.

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SOURCE: World Travel and Tourism Council press release.


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