WTTC calls to not stigmatize Asian tourists by the coronavirus
Panic, seen as a way to contain the disease, could discriminate against one of the largest tourist groups in the world causing long-term damage
Individual tourists and groups from China and Asia should not be stigmatized due to the outbreak of coronavirus, said the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), who called not to react or promote discrimination against tourists.
Panic, seen as a way to contain the coronavirus, could run the risk of stigmatizing one of the largest tourist groups in the world, and could cause long-term damage.
The exhort was issued by the London-based WTTC, led by the president and executive director of the agency, Gloria Guevara Manzo, who represents the global private sector of the Travel and Tourism sector.
As former Minister of Tourism of Mexico, Guevara was closely involved in 2010 with the consequences and recovery after the outbreak of the H1N1 flu virus in 2009, which had a significant impact on the economy of Mexico and caused the death of patients.
At the moment, more than 40,000 people have tested positive for the virus worldwide, 98 percent of cases are limited to China. This is thanks to a relatively low mortality rate of only 2 percent for coronaviruses, compared with 10 percent for SARS and 34.4 percent for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
Gloria Guevara said: “We must not stigmatize. The coronavirus will not be resolved by selecting individuals or groups from any country, such as China or those from other parts of Asia. It is important that the Travel and Tourism sector plays its role in containing the spread of the coronavirus, but this will not be achieved by alienating the largest tourist group in the world.
He said that China has become a key global player and its tourism market has experienced massive growth in recent years. Chinese tourists, traveling both individually and in groups, account for a fifth of the world's travelers, and the Asia region has experienced a booming growth of almost 7 percent in the sector over the past decade.
“There is no doubt that travel and tourism to and from China brings enormous cultural and economic benefits to the world; In the WTTC we believe that the sector is a force for good and unites people regardless of where they are from, ”added Guevara Manzo.
WTTC statistics show that China's travel and tourism sector has multiplied by seven in the last ten years, with a staggering annual growth of 21.7 percent and now accounts for a fifth of total global tourism spending. Each year, the global Travel and Tourism sector contributes 10.4 percent (US $ 8.8 billion) to world GDP and one in ten jobs.
The call to combat the stigmatization of Chinese and Asian tourists is given after the WTTC's recognition for the work of the public and private sectors, which work together to limit the spread of the coronavirus through suspensions of flight reservations, hotels and Flexible options for future trips.
The World Council also urged a closer partnership between the two sectors, to help reduce travel in the affected areas and improve education about the transmission of the virus, as well as avoid panic measures. Public and private alliances will also help the recovery of the sector once the spread of the virus begins to decrease.
The Travel and Tourism sector has a proven track record of resistance to crises and this resilience has improved significantly in recent years. In fact, according to WTTC research, the average recovery time from crises has decreased from 26 months to 10 months between 2001 and 2018.
An analysis of the main previous viral epidemics, carried out by WTTC experts, shows that the average recovery time for the number of visitors to a destination was 19.4 months. However, with the correct response and handling, it could recover in just 10 months.
The World Council advises travelers to verify the recommendations offered by governments individually, and by the World Health Organization, before embarking on trips abroad or nationally within the areas affected by the coronavirus.