The World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has spoken out against the introduction of blanket restrictions on travel, echoing concerns raised by UNWTO members who expressed their solidarity with Southern African states, and is calling for the immediate lifting of travel bans imposed on specific countries and for freedom of international travel to be upheld.
UNWTO has once again reminded countries that the imposition of blanket restrictions on travel is discriminatory, ineffective and contrary to WHO recommendations. Blanket restrictions may also stigmatise countries or whole regions.
UNWTO echoed WHO’s advice that travel restrictions should only be imposed as a very last resort in response to changing circumstances. It was stressed that if restrictions are introduced, they must be proportionate, transparent, and scientifically based. They must also only be introduced with a full appreciation of what halting international travel would mean for the most vulnerable, including those developing countries and individuals who depend on tourism for their economies and livelihoods.
UNWTO has regularly called for coordinated and evidence-based approaches to balancing public health concerns with keeping the lifeline of tourism intact.
But the call may fall on deaf ears as countries are more anxious to protect their population than to rescue tourism.