In an historic first, G20 Tourism Ministers hosted more than 45 CEOs and Members of the Word Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), who presented their plan to save the embattled Travel & Tourism sector and 100m jobs globally.
During their G20 Chairmanship of the Tourism Track, Saudi Arabia requested the collaboration of the global travel and tourism sector on developing insights to help accelerate the global recovery.
As a result, the WTTC presented a plan which aims to restart international Travel & Tourism and recover 100 million jobs globally.
The private sector event was opened by HE Ahmed Al Khateeb, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Tourism and Chair of the G20 Tourism Track, and WTTC President & CEO, Gloria Guevara set the scene.
This was followed by a keynote speech from Chris Nassetta, President & CEO of Hilton and WTTC Chair, and contributions from CEOs and Ministers representing all regions of the world, including Argentina, the UK, the UAE, Singapore and Spain, who joined the private sector with a unified voice to agree that through joint collaboration, the recovery of Travel & Tourism can be accelerated.
The CEOs used the historic forum to outline what they believe could be a game-changing new 24-point plan that would save the struggling sector.
According to WTTC’s economic modelling, around 100 million jobs could be saved through strong international collaboration, eliminating travel barriers and an international testing protocol at departure, amongst others. Gloria Guevara, WTTC President & CEO, said: “This historic meeting provided the best platform to establish public and private collaboration which will lead to rebuilding a sector which has been devastated by the pandemic.
“On behalf of WTTC and the private sector globally, I would like to thank and recognise the Minister of Tourism of Saudi Arabia for his leadership, as well as the G20 Tourism Ministers for their collaboration to recover millions of jobs and livelihoods through the resumption of international travel in a safe and effective way.
“The nature of this meeting cannot be underestimated; it is the first time so many Travel & Tourism CEOs and leaders have been invited to sit in the same forum as G20 Tourism Ministers to establish a tangible plan to save the Travel & Tourism sector.
“This plan will have far reaching consequences; it will bring real and genuine benefits to the industry as a whole - from aviation to tour operators, taxis to hotels and beyond.
“We are also delighted that the Seamless Traveller Journey, which has been a strategic priority for WTTC, and will further enable a safe return to international travel, has been warmly embraced by the participants at today's historic meeting.”
His Excellency Ahmed Al Khateeb, Saudi Arabia’s Minister for Tourism and Chair of the G20 Tourism Ministers’ Meeting, welcomed the initiative, saying: “On behalf of the G20 Tourism Ministers, I commend the World Travel & Tourism Council and the global travel and tourism sector for their efforts to put people first during the global pandemic, by collaborating at the industry-level and with the public sector to put in place concrete actions that will protect millions of jobs and livelihoods, while ensuring that the sector is more resilient to crises in the future.”
Alexandre de Juniac, The International Air Transport Association (IATA) Director General, and Fang Liu, The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Secretary General, added their voice to testing being the solution to eliminate quarantines. Zurab Pololikashvili, United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Secretary General also contributed to the debate.
Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO, said, “It is critical that governments and industry work together to safely re-open borders with systematic COVID-19 testing.
“Some 46 million jobs are at risk. The historic participation of industry in this G20 Summit is a good start to the government-industry partnership that will be needed to revive the travel and tourism economy on which 10% of global GDP depends.”
WTTC presented the recovery plan, which includes twelve points for the private sector and twelve for the public sector, focusing on measures to reactivate international travel.
The unprecedented plan covered a wide range of initiatives which hinged on securing international coordination to re-establish effective operations and resume international travel, including the implementation of an international testing regime at departure to minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19.
Chris Nassetta, WTTC Chairman and Hilton President and CEO, said: “WTTC’s private sector action plan is hugely important in supporting the recovery of the sector and bringing back 100 million travel and tourism jobs globally.”
“It will take significant collaboration between the public and private sectors to ensure a full recovery and rebuild traveler confidence, which is why today’s G20 meeting was so important.
“I’m encouraged by the progress we’re seeing around the world and look forward to the continued collective efforts to support our stakeholders and promote the incredible impact our industry creates for communities globally.”
Alex Cruz, British Airways Chairman and Chief Executive, said: “Be in no doubt; Covid-19 has led to the worst crisis in the history of commercial global aviation.
“To ensure the industry’s survival we are calling for a common global approach to testing and the creation of regional air corridors so that we can get more flights back in the air, and the global economy moving, as soon as possible. Governments must act fast and work together before it’s too late.”
Arnold Donald, Carnival Corporation President & CEO and WTTC North American Vice-Chair, said: “It was an honour to have the opportunity to speak at this important event.
“The travel and tourism sector has been a major driver in global economic growth over the last five years and it is imperative that we all work together to restart international travel in a safe and efficient manner.” WTTC has been at the forefront of leading the private sector in the drive to rebuild global consumer confidence and encourage the return of Safe Travels.
According to WTTC’s 2020 Economic Impact Report, shows how the Travel & Tourism sector will be critical to the recovery. It revealed that during 2019, Travel & Tourism was responsible for one in 10 jobs (330 million in total), making a 10.3% contribution to global GDP and generating one in four of all new jobs.
It is also one of the most diverse sectors in the world, employing people of all socio-economic levels, regardless of gender or ethnicity, employing 54% women and 30% young people.