- UNWTO and other international organizations failed us and tourism will not bounce back, said Dr. Taleb Rifai, former UNWTO Secretary-General
- The travel sector is, without a doubt, one of the most affected sectors as a result of COVID-19. Unfortunately, each government is working on its own doing what they think is best to protect its population. This is expected and understandable.
- What we need is a new multilateral system, a more harmonized, fair, and equitable system, because it’s not important how successful every country is on its own.
Dr. Taleb Rifai was a two-term Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). Today, Dr. Rifai wears many hats, including as a board and co-founder of the World Tourism Network (WTN).
Rifai said: “Four years ago, I had an interview with a Victor Jorge Portuguese Workmedia network and was asked how I would define the current moment at that time, which included terrorism, BREXIT, and the election of US President Donald Trump. At that time, no one expected the COVID crisis and the impact it would have on the travel and tourism industry.” As predicted by Rifai, a year later tourism bounced back.
Dr. Rifai explained today in another interview with the same Portuguese news channel: “I believe this is now a defining moment in the history of mankind altogether. Everything will change. Tourism will not bounce back.
“Today, we will not bounce back, but we will leap forward into a new world, a new norm. It may become a better and more sustainable world.
“I am, therefore, very optimistic we will not go back in time but move forward into a more sustainable growth – everywhere.
“The travel sector is, without a doubt, one of the most affected sectors as a result of COVID-19. Unfortunately, each government is working on its own doing what they think is best to protect its population. This is expected and understandable. Life is the most important thing to worry about. Governments are doing their best to protect their people.
“Every country must coordinate its actions and procedures with its neighbors first. The trick is not to do a perfect job on your own. It is indeed to agree on minimum procedures starting with surrounding destinations which will reach an international level. Continue to read by clicking on NEXT.