Heads Of UNWTO And WHO Convene To Address Concerns Regarding COVID-19

UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili was part of a delegation to the World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters in Geneva to advance a coordinated response to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

UNWTO and WHO are working in close collaboration

The delegation was welcomed by WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu. He thanked the UNWTO for its close collaboration in battling the present public health crisis. After the WHO has classified COVID-19 a pandemic, it is imperative for associations from around the world to step up and take action.

After a series of productive meetings, the heads of both the organisations have stressed on the need to implement certain guiding principles. These include:  

  • The importance of international cooperation and responsible leadership at this critical time.
  • The solidarity of the tourism sector and of individual tourists, as well as the responsibility both have for helping minimize the spread and impact of COVID-19.
  • The key role tourism can play in both containing the COVID-19 outbreak and in leading future response efforts.

Mr. Pololikashvili and Dr. Tedros were enthusiastic about committing to ensure that all responses and measures towards COVID-19 are proportionate, timely and based on verified health recommendations. 

A call for responsible reporting and communication

UNWTO Secretary-General Pololikashvili said: “The COVID-19 outbreak is first and foremost a public health issue. UNWTO is following the lead of WHO, with whom we have enjoyed an excellent working relationship from day one. This meeting reaffirmed the importance of strong cooperation and international solidarity and I welcome the Director-General’s recognition of the role tourism can play both now and in the future.”

The heads of UNWTO and WHO have called for responsible reporting and communication surrounding the worldwide COVID-19 outbreak. They want to also ensure that action taken is evidence-based to steer clear of stigmatizing sections of society and spreading panic.



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