A beach in Milos, Greece

Calls for the restart of tourism in Europe

Ambassadors to Spain from the region of Europe talked with the head of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) about the restart of the tourism.

The virtual meeting with Zurab Pololikashvili focused on the timely and responsible restart of tourism across the continent.

Ambassadors act as a bridge between the Secretariat of the United Nations agency in Madrid and their home countries. Pololikashvili himself was Ambassador of Georgia to Spain before taking up the leadership of UNWTO. He highlights the important role that diplomats must play in coordinating efforts to lift restrictions on travel and to restore confidence in international tourism.

Tourism’s potential for helping rural communities recover from the social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic is crucial. Ambassadors are echoing the year-long focus of UNWTO on tourism for rural development. This was also the theme of World Tourism Day 2020.

The Ambassadors were also informed of UNWTO’s role in guiding tourism’s restart. This includes the creation of an International Code for the Protection of Tourists.

Safe and seamless travel for tourists

The meeting counted on the participation of representatives from 36 of UNWTO’s European Member States. In addition, three other European countries who are not UNWTO members were present. The cross-cutting relevance of tourism for overall economic recovery is an important part.

“Strong diplomatic relations will enable safe and seamless travel for tourists, ensuring our sector and the many benefits it offers will return as soon as possible”, said Pololikashvili. He stresses the importance of maintaining close relations with the Member States.

A total of 34 Heads of Diplomatic Missions took part in the virtual high-level meeting. There were interventions from Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia and Uzbekistan.

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), a United Nations agency, is the leading international organization with the decisive and central role in promoting the development of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism. It serves as a global forum for tourism policy issues. It is also a practical source of tourism know-how. UNWTO membership includes 159 countries, 6 territories, 2 permanent observers and over 500 Affiliate Members.

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