There is a good reason why Juergen Steinmetz, founder of the World Tourism Network (WTN) differs with Gloria Guevara CEO of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) on how and when to safely reopen the travel sector. WTTC represents the largest and most powerful companies of the industry. WTN focus is on the medium and small size travel industry companies in the world. Both organizations goal is to rebuilding the travel and tourism industry safely and profitable.
Leaders of the newly-established World Tourism Network (WTN) however differ in the appeal announced by Gloria Guevara, President & CEO of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) on how an immediate response should look like on reopening the travel and tourism industry. WTTC wants to open travel and tourism now, while WTN says: “Wait!” Both agree on safety but disagree if an immediate stop to quarantine and opening borders can be done safely.
Yesterday, Gloria Guevara said: “The UK Travel & Tourism sector is in a fight for survival – it’s that simple. With the sector in such a fragile state, the introduction of hotel quarantines by the UK government could force the complete collapse of Travel & Tourism.”
WTTC also maintains that despite months of forced quarantines post-travel, there is absolutely no evidence to suggest this is working.
“Even the government’s own figures show quarantines have not proved to be effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19. Community transmission continues to pose a far greater peril than international travel,” Guevara said.
“WTTC believes the measures introduced by the government just last week – proof of a pre-departure COVID-19 test, followed by short quarantine and another test if necessary – could stop the virus in its tracks and still allow the freedom to travel safely,” Guevara stated.
An article published by eTurboNews yesterday accusing WTTC to get desperate asking if “Safety or business should be the first priority, prompted a response by WTTC spokesperson Jeff Pole in which he stated:
“We cannot agree with your eTurboNews that WTTC is putting the industry ahead of public safety since this misrepresents WTTC’s position and statements. We have said consistently that public safety must be the top priority. But we do not believe that there needs to be a conflict between public safety and safely reopening international borders and resuming international travel.
“Travel bans and/or quarantines for healthy passengers should not be necessary if effective pre-departure testing is in place, wearing of face masks is mandatory, and robust safety and hygiene protocols are followed. The rapid implementation of vaccines, especially to the most vulnerable, will also help to progressively reduce the terrible impact of COVID-19.”
Juergen Steinmetz, the founder of WTN, said: “Mandatory pre-arrival tests and quarantines have been the norm for a number of travel and tourism destinations, including my home here in Hawaii. Ever since my State allowed tourists back on October 15, there has been an increase in cases and deaths.
“Taking a look at the strict arrival measures Seychelles implemented with Israel, such a measure did not work at all. The end result put the Republic of Seychelles in a dire health situation with regard to COVID-19.
Seychelles now allows tourists to come in from anywhere in the world with a COVID vaccine. “This may be an acceptable way forward”, Steinmetz said.
“The UK is not alone. Most EU leaders see the danger and are increasing restrictions. Such tough measures should not be destroyed by a short-term need for the Travel & Tourism industry and put populations at risk. Even if issues would be relaxed, Travel & Tourism would not magically bounce back overnight. Consumer confidence is the key.
“With a new type of virus spreading in the UK, South Africa, Brazil, and now also in other countries, including the United States with 2 cases just detected today also here in Hawaii, this makes the theory by WTTC a high-risk experiment that one should not entertain at this time.
“As much as rejecting WTTC’s recommendation may be a tragic short-term blow to our industry, we will all win if every destination will hang in there until a majority of people are vaccinated. Only a vaccine will bring confidence back to people and make it safe to travel. No certificate, no stamp, no hygiene level, and no expensive advertising will replace this.”
For more information on the World Tourism Network, a discussion group by members of Travel & Tourism professionals in 125 countries go to