Covid-19 is not only a global pandemic and public health crisis, it has also severely affected the global economy and caused contractions in GDP that are unparalleled in modern history for most economies. We have witnessed unprecedented reductions in income, a rise in unemployment and disruptions in crucial service industries.
Tourism and aviation industries, which provide a livelihood for millions of people and represent crucial pillars of national economies worldwide, have been among the hardest hit of all sectors by the pandemic outbreak. Restrictions on travel have led to an unprecedented fall in international tourism numbers causing losses worldwide. Namely, a decline in international tourism in 2020 equivalent to a loss of about 1 billion arrivals and 1.1 trillion USD in international tourism receipts, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization. Apart from that, international passenger traffic suffered a dramatic 60% drop, bringing air travel totals back to 2003 levels, as stated by the International Civil Aviation Organization.
Thereby, a unique crisis calls for a unique response, where alongside innovative policies, modified regulations and vaccination, it is our responsibility to join forces and support all countries in need to have common recommendations (inbound/outbound passenger travel, opening borders on common grounds, etc.) in order to safely revive these industries to support post-Covid economic development and maintain millions of working places.
The Parliamentary Assembly should thus study the issue of the revival of tourism and aviation industries, with a view to making recommendations to the Committee of Ministers to ensure that tourism can help the global community move beyond the pandemic by promoting solidarity and trust, as well as people to people ties, crucial components in advancing the global co-operation so urgently needed at this time.