A high-level delegation from the World Tourism Organisation is in Italy on its first official visit to a member state since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis.

The closure of tourism operations for several months has had a devastating effect for many businesses and millions of livelihoods across the world. To kickstart recovery, countries within the Schengen Zone (26 countries in Europe) are now reopening their borders to tourists.

Following an official invitation by Italy, the UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili has begun an official visit (1-4 July), meeting the Minister of Culture, Cultural Heritage and Tourism Dario Franceschini, to learn more of the country’s plans for the steady and sustainable restart of a sector that is a leading employer and helps preserve the country’s unique cultural heritage.

“Strong domestic leadership and a commitment to cooperating across borders are imperative for the responsible return of tourism and the many benefits it offers, both within the Schengen Zone and worldwide,” said Mr Pololikashvili, adding, “The UNWTO is leading the restart of tourism, and Italy has demonstrated its commitment to harnessing the power of the sector to drive wider societal recovery.”

Mr Pololikashvili commended the Italian Government on its efforts thus far and emphasised his continued support for ensuring all tourism related activities can gradually restart. He also presented the resources that UNWTO has developed to help guide tourism’s restart, including the “Recommendations for Recovery”, a roadmap for both governments and the private sector. Over the four days of the visit, the Secretary-General is visiting Rome, Milan and Venice, to obtain close insights into how the tourism sector and various destinations have been responding to the devastating impact of COVID-19.

Photo – top of page: UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili with Italy’s Minister of Culture, Cultural Heritage and Tourism Dario Franceschini – Copyright 2020 UNWTO

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