Mexico highlighted the “historic opportunity” to build a new global tourism era after the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, which has left more than 8.4 million cases and exceeds 440,000 deaths worldwide.
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At the LXV Meeting of the Regional Commission for America of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) held virtually, the Mexican Secretary of Tourism, Miguel Torruco, stated that this new tourist era must be far from mass practices, overexploitation, and environmental deterioration.
Torruco asked the tourism industry to accept that traveling, which represents the essence of the meeting, “was clouded” by having become one of the main vehicles for transmission of the virus.
At the meeting, the Minister stressed that in addition to the negative effects of the pandemic, it should be appreciated that this forced a pause in tourism and has left us “spectacular scenes” of nature and tourist sites.
All this, he indicated, places the world “with the historic opportunity to build a new era for tourism, which is not focused on exclusivity and does not depend on external factors. “
Tourism today is an interdependent activity that must offer a greater cultural content, which represents greater challenges with new products and health protocols given the legacy that the coronavirus has left, he said.
The Minister told the forum that Mexico has established, among its priorities, the development of “a different tourism”, with a new social approach that privileges the development and growth of the most unprotected sectors, especially those living in tourist destinations.
“The appearance of the coronavirus has generated damages not only in the health and economic spheres, but also socially and culturally, making evident the exhaustion and decline of the traditional way of doing tourism,” said the Minister.
At the meeting, UNWTO Secretary General, Georgian Zurab Pololikashvili, pointed out that tourism is experiencing an unprecedented crisis, with an economic outlook that is difficult to predict and social consequences with serious repercussions.
Pololikashvili maintained that in the first quarter of the year a drop of 67 million tourists was recorded worldwide, a decrease of $80 billion USD in income.
The UNWTO head said that it is important “to restore the confidence of travelers” with security protocols that reduce risks and that give governments and companies the facilities to open tourism in a safe, fluid, and responsible manner.
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Mexico received 45 million international tourists in 2019, a figure that represented a growth of 9% over the previous year, which left the country with an economic spillover of $24.5 billion USD.
Tourism in Mexico represents around 8.7% of the gross domestic product (GDP) and generates more than eleven million direct and indirect jobs.