Putting safety over businesses has already destroyed the livelihoods and businesses of so many companies and hard-working and responsible people leading and employed in the travel and tourism industry.
Safety second however may have already cost thousands, ten thousand, or even many hundred thousand lives, a human tragedy beyond imagination.
The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has an important mandate. Its mandate are the largest players in this giant industry known as travel and tourism. With UNWTO falling behind its obligations, WTTC also has been quietly taken the responsibility governments should fulfill. This is a difficult and tough responsibility for a private organization to take.
The CEO of WTTC Gloria Guevara is an experienced person who has been working tirelessly to serve this industry. She has also experience in the public sector as a former minister of tourism for Mexico. Today’s press-release by WTTC however sounds desperate.
Has WTTC adopted Safety Second? Today the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) says the introduction of new hotel quarantines by the UK government would force the complete collapse of Travel & Tourism as we know it.
WTTC fears the crippling impact of the new proposals being considered by the UK government would cause irreparable damage to a sector which contributes nearly £200 billion to the UK economy.
The concern follows nine months of devastating travel restrictions, which has left scores of businesses crushed, millions of jobs lost or put at risk, and confidence to travel at an all-time low.
Gloria Guevara, WTTC President & CEO, said: “The UK Travel & Tourism sector is in a fight for survival – it’s that simple. With the sector in such a fragile state, the introduction of hotel quarantines by the UK government could force the complete collapse of Travel & Tourism.
“Travellers and holidaymakers would simply not book business or leisure trips knowing they would have to pay to isolate in a hotel, causing a drastic drop in revenues throughout the sector.
“From airlines to travel agents, travel management companies to holiday companies and beyond, the effect on UK travel businesses would be devastating, further delaying the economic recovery. Even the threat of such action is enough to cause consternation and serious alarm.
“WTTC believes the measures introduced by the government just last week – proof of a pre-departure COVID-19 test, followed by short quarantine and another test if necessary, could stop the virus in its tracks, and still allow the freedom to travel safely.
“A number of countries, such as Iceland, have successfully implemented a testing regime on arrival, which has curbed the spread, whilst ensuring borders remain open. So, it’s crucial these measures are given some time to work.
“Despite the current gloom, we truly believe there is room for optimism and a brighter future ahead. Business travel, visiting families and holidays can return with a combination of an internationally recognised testing regime, vaccines and mandatory mask wearing.
“These simple but highly effective measures, if implemented properly, could aid the revival of a sector which will be essential to powering the UK and global economic recovery.”
WTTC maintains despite months of forced quarantines post travel, there is absolutely no evidence to suggest they work.
Even the government’s own figures show quarantines have not proved to be effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19. Community transmission continues to pose a far greater peril than international travel.
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), along with many other major organisations, have said quarantines are not an effective public health measure and only hinder travel.
The statement releases by WTTC is brave, and some may think irresponsible. The United States is a classic example how putting the economy above life has turned deadly. With a new more dangerous version of COVID-19 spreading in Britain, this statement may not only be brave but fearless and desperate.
Gloria is absolutely correct in saying, the travel and tourism industry is fighting for its survival, but so is everyone else, unfortunately. Money can rebuild the industry, but cannot bring the dead back to life.