The World Tourism Network (WTN) had an initial discussion yesterday on how to respond to the emerging situation with the new Omicron virus, and how to respond.
Southern Africa had been labeled as a dangerous region because of the new COVID strain Omicron, according to alerts from the World Health Organization, when in fact this new variant was already spreading in many countries of the world.
This is now resulting in losses and disappointments, and is threatening jobs and the recovery of the travel and tourism industry, specifically in Southern Africa.
This action resulted in isolating Southern Africa from the rest of the world. It got members of the African Tourism Board angry, and heated remarks are now constantly being posted to the ATB Member WhatsApp group.
The World Tourism Network took this opportunity and invited WTN executive Dr. Walter Mzembi, who was a former foreign minister and Minister of Tourism for Zimbabwe, as well as a candidate for UNWTO Secretary General. He explained the sentiments, a way forward, and shared his experience.
Also from Africa, Joseph Kafunda, the Chairperson of the Emerging Tourism Enterprise Association in Namibia, Tourism Hero award recipient, and Ambassador for the World Tourism Network, gave his observation on this issue.
Moderated by Dr. Peter Tarlow (USA) President of WTN and a known international expert on travel and tourism, listened and commented on input from WTN members in Jamaica, Canada, the USA, Germany, and other countries.
WTN has now formed the Travel Requirements, Tests & Vaccines interest group and is in the process of inviting key stakeholders from the public and private sectors to push for workable recommendations on this subject.