TOURISM

WTO: Cooperation key for tourism

wto-cooperation-key-for-tourism

The difficulties in international cooperation for opening up travel are to blame for delays and problems in restarting the industry, according to World Tourism Organization (WTO) Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili.

Answering a question by Kathimerini in the context of the WTO’s 66th European Regional Commission Forum on Thursday, Pololikashvili stressed that quarantine rules for returning travelers must be suspended and noted that the WTO is making significant efforts to facilitate the entire process, even though certain inherent difficulties are involved. The biggest of these, he noted, is the involvement of numerous decision-making entities in each state, from health authorities and foreign ministries, to security services, civil protection authorities and others.

Pololikashvili exalted Greece’s efforts in relaunching tourism in a responsible and safe way, saying the Greek model is particularly successful.

Earlier, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told the forum that Greece’s “main concern was to ensure that when tourism reopened, jobs would not be lost. I believe we managed to meet that target through a series of targeted measures,” he said.

He also reminded that the European Commission and the other institutional entities in the European Union ended up “with unprecedented speed at an agreement about the digital certificate for Covid-19, which is now available.” He described the certificate as a “very important tool that allows for interoperability of databases and guarantees that we all have the necessary information available so as to allow people to travel without any additional restrictions.”

Mitsotakis emphasized that “safety is paramount for us and we were indeed on the front line in a series of innovations that allowed us during the pandemic to make traveling as safe as possible. This year Greece began the debate on the digital certificate for Covid in January, exactly because we had expected we should take the necessary measures in advance for travel to continue normally in the summer.”

Tourism Minister Haris Theoharis stressed that urgent consultations are taking place to ease travel, both at the health committee level and through the foreign ministries in many countries, especially the United Kingdom.