The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) are joining forces to boost the tourism sector’s recovery across the 38 economies where the Bank invests.
The rapid spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has had a significant impact on many sectors of the global economy, with tourism being among the hardest hit.
UNWTO analysis shows that all worldwide destinations took the unprecedented step of introducing travel restrictions in response to the coronavirus. While some destinations are starting to ease restrictions, the crisis is far from over, and the lockdown has led to a massive fall in international tourist arrivals.
In light of such unprecedented events, the EBRD and UNWTO have agreed to take immediate action to facilitate the recovery of tourism. The support is currently envisaged for a number of countries, including Albania, Armenia, Croatia, Egypt, Georgia, Greece, Jordan, Lebanon, Montenegro, Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey and Uzbekistan.
The immediate response was designed considering the UNWTO’s three pillars of its Tourism Recovery Technical Assistance Package. It includes measurements of the pandemic’s impacts, recovery plans with incentives to revive the tourism sector, protocols to ensure enhanced safety, and hygiene and security of tourists and employees.
The package also covers marketing of measures to boost tourism demand, capacity-building for tourism officials and training for tourism sector enterprises in adopting the new protocols. A key element is to preserve human capital as well as to adapt and strengthen inclusion.
The two organisations are longstanding partners, and signed a first Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for their cooperation in 2015, which they renewed in 2019.
This cooperation expands the existing partnership and builds on the UNWTO’s recently adopted coronavirus Tourism Recovery Technical Assistance Package. This includes three pillars through which the organisation plans to assist the sector: 1) economic recovery; 2) marketing and promotion; and 3) institutional strengthening and the building of resilience.
The EBRD is committing all of its activity in fiscal year (FY) 2020-2021 to helping its regions counter the economic impact of the coronavirus, with investment expected to reach up to €21bn. The bank will target all sectors of the economy, including tourism and hospitality which were particularly affected by the coronavirus crisis.