Dubai has mandated a number of well-defined security protocols for hotels to be followed in the wake of the pandemic
Photo credit: Ahmed Ramzan / Gulf News

Dubai: Dubai has received the highest recognition worldwide for the safety of tourists and tourism workers, as Gulf News can show.

In an exclusive interview prior to Pre-Expo Conversation: Travel and Connectivity in Dubai on Tuesday, Marcelo Risi, head of communications for the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) said: “Dubai deserves recognition for its proactive work to keep both tourists and tourist workers as safe as possible possible. It is also an example of good cooperation between government and business. Such cooperation is more important than ever, and the UNWTO is delighted that Dubai and many other destinations around the world are promoting cooperation and solidarity to support our sector and resume tourism. “

Marcelo Risi

Trust and persistence are key to tourism recovery, Risi said.

“And these two are closely related. Safe international travel is possible. However, we still need to rebuild confidence in travel in order to resume tourism. We can do this by leading by example and ensuring that health and safety protocols are harmonized across industries and borders. In addition, many millions of jobs and companies are at risk, which is why tourism as a sector continues to need the best possible political support. The tourism sector is ready to restart as soon as conditions allow. However, this depends on health management as well as international coordination and standards. Again, flying alone doesn’t get anywhere, ”he remarked

He said the UNWTO General Secretary congratulated Dubai in particular on hosting EXPO 2020, even in times of uncertainty. “This is a strong message of determination. I am also encouraged that the key themes of this expo are collaboration and innovation, with sustainability as a cross-cutting axis in line with what the UNWTO promotes and strengthens the overall position of the United Nations. This is important if we want to not only restart tourism and its many advantages, which should go beyond tourism, but also rethink it.

“We will do our part to rebuild with more economic and social resilience. That doesn’t just mean growing, it also means growing better. And I believe this is at the heart of the Expo in general, and now more important than ever, ”he added.

Tourists need to act responsibly

Risi: “Everyone has a role to play in keeping infections low and ending the pandemic. Tourism is not turning its back on reality. During this unprecedented time, we have seen this sector reflect what is happening in our societies to an extent that many have not been aware of – all of our social interaction, the vast economic value chain it encompasses, the deep social footprint and the huge impact of tourism on our community. “

He said the UNWTO has always emphasized that tourists are actively following the latest health guidelines from both the World Health Organization and their own governments. “These are the only credible authorities that provide security. You must also closely follow the rules and protocols that have been put in place at every step of the tourist journey. As a sector, tourism has played a pioneering role in adapting to the new reality, but that depends on the tourists themselves acting responsibly, ”he noted.

Relevance of tourism

Misi said the breadth and diversity of the tourism value chain makes the sector an engine for sustainable development worldwide. “Tourism creates jobs and promotes economic growth. And tourism delivers best when managed in harmony with people and the planet. Indeed, the current lack of tourism shows how important and relevant the sector is and how it affects almost every part of our societies – from hospitality and leisure to arts and culture to economic wellbeing. Because of this, tourism contributes to many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the sector has a seat at the United Nations, where the UNWTO speaks on their behalf. “

UNWTO’s Role in Revitalizing Tourism Amid COVID-19

Misi said tourism revitalization was a common struggle. “We recognized right from the start how important it is for the tourism sector to face this challenge together, rather than for each country, destination or industry to pursue its own interests. Together we are stronger, as we say. We are the single point of contact for tourism information, data and policy monitoring around the world, essential tools and trusted sources of information for the sector, governments and international organizations. “

He said: “At the beginning of the crisis we set up the UNWTO Global Tourism Crisis Committee. This is made up of our member states as well as international organizations – including some of our UN sister organizations such as WHO, IMO and ICAO – as well as companies and other industry leaders such as IATA. We also count on the active participation of organizations like the OCDE or the World Bank, and the European Commission has also been involved at the highest level. That way, when we ask governments to give strong economic and political support to tourism, we could speak with one voice. “

Misi said the committee is still active, advancing solutions ranging from policies to tourism resumption and technical advice to creating an international code to protect tourists and bring the sector together to ensure health protocols and proposed rules in Regarding travel in the age of vaccines are “clear, consistent and harmonized”.