Countries that rely on tourism as a key economic pillar will need to rethink how they manage the sector as the world adapts to living with COVID-19.
The advice from the United Nation’s World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) comes as countries such as the Cayman Islands seek to rejuvenate the vital sector as it emerges from the economic slowdown caused by the pandemic.
The UNWTO says it has been constantly assessing the impact of the pandemic, and working hard to help kickstart the industry on behalf of millions of people but also putting safety for travellers at the forefront.
Referring to the “disparate policies and regulations” being introduced by tourist destination countries, the head of the UNWTO said, “We are doing this to support safe return of travel…and are working with member states and industry partners to create the first global code for the protection of tourists.”
The outline has already been approved by the UN General Assembly.
Ms Urosevic further stated that “the coming years are going to be very crucial because we know that investment is going to be very necessary to undertake that transformation.”
LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL
Here in Cayman, coinciding with the PACT government’s declaration that the country had reached the threshold for reopening Hon. Tourism Minister Kenneth Bryan took to social media to reiterate his plan to not only recapture but reform tourism in Cayman.
In a commentary that saw some parallels with the position being adopted by the UNWTO, Mr Bryan referenced a ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ analogy similar to that posed by Caymanian Times at the recent government press on the Phase 5 reopening.
Urging Caymanians to have “a positive attitude about the future,” he said there was reason to be hopeful as “there is light at the end of this tunnel.”
The tourism minister said: “The first month of the year going into the season things are looking good. I've got some good feedback from the industry about numbers and within a month or two we may start to see a lot more people here.”
And it’s that balance that will define the future of tourism for Cayman, especially for the cruise sector.
Cayman has deferred a decision of allowing cruise ships to return citing the need to ensure that both passengers/visitors and the resident population are equally protected and the likelihood of a further outbreak is minimised.
Saying that past experiences saw Cayman “overwhelmed” by the sheer volume of cruise traffic, Mr Bryan said a rethink of how the sector is managed here was overdue.
“We’re working closely with the President of the Florida Caribbean Association (FCC), who's in charge of all these cruise ships who come to the Caribbean. On February 2nd, my ministry Premier and some others are going to sit with them and let's lay the land out and say ‘listen, this is the way we want to go’.”
He said there are no plans to return to the way things were “because it was kind of chaotic”, adding that, “I think we all agree that it was so much that it overwhelmed us. And that's what this discussion is about; it’s quality over quantity and how do you find that balance.”
27 Jan, 2020
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