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Global Tourism Crisis Committee meeting of UN World Tourism Organization

Spain urges coordinated international response to reactivate safe tourism

Monday 18 January 2021

The State Secretary for Tourism, Fernando Valdés, urged progress to be made on "the most coordinated and coherent international response possible", that allows "mobility to be reactivated safely", while the global vaccination campaign progresses in several regions of the world.

He expressed this in his speech at the Global Tourism Crisis Committee meeting of the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), which has gathered in Madrid for its seventh edition since it was set up last March and on the eve of the 113th Executive Council of the UNWTO, which will be held on Tuesday.

"2021 must be the year in which we begin the recovery of tourism. We hold great hopes for the vaccination campaign and the effects this may have for international mobility. While the vaccination process is under way, we must make parallel progress on re-establishing international flows safely", underlined Fernando Valdés, who represents the Government of Spain at the Global Tourism Crisis Committee meeting, set up to promote coordination and propose recommendations geared towards mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the tourism sector and speed up its recovery.

The Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism, Reyes Maroto, spoke along the same line at a breakfast news programme, indicating that the government is working, within the framework of the OECD, on a common vaccination certificate that leads to the recovery of international mobility and tourism in a safe fashion. "Vaccination is key" to recovering mobility and allowing the tourism sector to fully reopen.

While speaking to the UNWTO Crisis Committee, which gathers together members of the UNWTO and the main private representatives of the sector, Fernando Valdés recalled that the Government of Spain "remains firmly committed to the proposal of testing passengers at their point of origin, before undertaking their trip, as an alternative process to quarantines".

The State secretary expressed his conviction that there will soon be less invasive and costly means to test passengers to the same end and with the same degree of sensitivity as PCR tests, and called to take into account that, although the vaccination process has already begun in the European Union and other regions around the world, we will still need to live with the virus for the next few months.

Vaccination certificate

In his speech to the Crisis Committee, Fernando Valdés declared Spain's support for the work being undertaken at a European and international level for vaccination to facilitate the flow of people and boost tourism in 2021.

In this regard, he committed to establishing a harmonised vaccination certificate, not as a pre-requisite for travel, but as a document that can facilitate free movement for those who can demonstrate having been correctly vaccinated. "We must also push through international initiatives that guarantee the vaccination of all the world's inhabitants wherever they may live", remarked Fernando Valdés, who warned that vaccination cannot have discriminatory effects on the flows of visitors or on the reception capacity of destinations.

The heads of the participant delegations at the Executive Council of the UNWTO will be received by Their Majesties the King and Queen at the El Pardo Royal Palace, at an event that will also involve the participation of the Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism, Reyes Maroto. "For all the members of this Executive Council this reception has great symbolic value because of the support from the Royal Household for the tourism sector, at a particularly critical time due to the negative impact of the pandemic", stated the minister, who thanked the UNWTO for the work carried out over recent months to support the tourism sector at a global level.

Reyes Maroto, together with the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, will take part on Tuesday in the Executive Council, which must propose a candidate to become Secretary-General of the UNWTO for the period 2022-2025.

Non official translation