Covid-19: Putting people first

The worldwide outbreak of COVID-19 has brought the world to a standstill, and tourism has been the worst affected of all major economic sectors. Against a backdrop of heightened uncertainty, up-to-date and reliable information is more important than ever, both for tourists and for the tourism sector.

  • By cooperating closely with the World Health Organization (WHO), the lead UN agency for the management of this outbreak;
  • by ensuring with WHO that health measures are implemented in ways that minimize unnecessary impact on international travel and trade;
  • by standing in solidarity with affected countries; and
  • by emphasizing tourism’s proven resilience and by standing ready to support recovery.

Restarting Tourism

At its fifth meeting, UNWTO changed the emphasis towards restarting tourism. The Committee endorsed UNWTO’s Global Guidelines to Restart Tourism, an action plan focused on the Priorities for Tourism Recovery.

Sustainability as the New Normal

To mark World Environment Day, the One Planet Sustainable Tourism Programme led by UNWTO announces its new vision for global tourism– growing better, stronger, and balancing the needs of people, planet and prosperity.

Tourism Recovery

Governments have responded quickly and strongly with the level and coverage of measures steeping up over time. Most countries have adopted economy-wide stimulus packages along with job support measures.

Recommendations for Action

Supporting Jobs and Economies Through Travel & Tourism

A Call for Action to Mitigate the Socio-Economic Impact of COVID-19 and Accelerate Recovery


The sector is slowly restarting. Restrictions on travel, introduced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, are slowly being eased, allowing tourism to restart in a growing number of destinations.

Tourism Recovery Technical Assistance Package

We are facing an unprecedented global health crisis, the repercussions of which are being felt in all sectors of society and the economy.

Courses, Webinars & Resources

Improve your skills and knowledge by joining the webinars delivered by UNWTO and those created and delivered directly by our partner Institutions and experts. You can join Live Webinars or come back to them in our Recorded Webinars’ section.

Latest Impact Assessment

67 million fewer international tourists up to March translates into US$80 billion in lost exports
UNWTO has outlined three possible future scenarios depending on how the crisis unfolds

UNWTO Global Tourism Dashboard

Loss of 850 million to 1.1 billon international tourists
Loss of US$ 910 billion to US$ 1.2 trillion in export revenues from tourism
100 to 120 million jobs at risk

Measures to Support Tourism

This compilation of country and international policy responses aims to share and monitor worldwide measures to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 crisis in the travel and tourism sector and accelerate recovery.

From Vision to Action

The One Planet Vision was launched on the occasion of World Environment Day providing strategic guidance for a responsible recovery of the tourism sector in line with UNWTO priorities.

Global Ethics of Tourism

The World Committee on Tourism Ethics (WCTE) met remotely on 5 June 2020 for a special session on COVID-19 and Tourism with the attendance of all Members and alternates.


With COVID-19 bringing global tourism to a standstill, millions of people in quarantine have been seeking out cultural and travel experiences from their homes.

COVID-19 and Vulnerable Groups

Just as the tourism sector is affected more than others by the current COVID-19 pandemic, vulnerable groups within the sector are among the hardest hit.

Tourism & Gastronomy

As part of the UNWTO #TravelTomorrow campaign, chefs from around the world show us how to prepare local dishes at home.


We will travel again. And when we do, we will do so more consciously, more sustainably and with a greater feeling of solidarity than ever before.

Health advice for tourists

As the COVID-19 situation evolves, many people around the world continue to travel: for leisure, for business and for vital humanitarian reasons.

UNWTO SG visits Canary Islands

Tourism is one of the most important economic sectors for the Canary Islands, providing jobs and livelihoods and supporting many local businesses.


UNWTO and Italy

The leadership of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is on its first official visit to a Member State since restrictions on travel were introduced in response to COVID-19.

UNWTO and Telefónica

As tourism restarts around the world, Telefonica deepens its collaboration with the United Nations specialized agency to advance market intelligence in order to accelerate the sector’s recovery from the impact of COVID-19.

Our Responsibilities Remain

This week, Europe leads the way in restarting tourism. Destinations throughout the Schengen Zone are once again open. The lifting of borders will have an immediate and significant impact on economies and livelihoods.

Agenda for Africa

As with every other global region, African destinations have been hit hard by the restrictions on travel introduced in response to the pandemic.

Small Island Destinations

Without strong support, the sudden and unexpected fall in tourism could devastate the economies of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), UNWTO has warned


The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the UNWTO are joining forces to boost the recovery of the tourism sector across the 38 economies where the Bank invests.

World Tourist Identification

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has partnered with Wanderlust World for the launch of a new App designed to facilitate safe and seamless travel in the wake of COVID-19.

The sector is slowly restarting

The latest research by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) shows that 22% of all destinations worldwide (48 destinations) have started to ease restrictions, with Europe leading the way.

Impact of COVID-19 on Tourism

UNWTO emphasizes the need for responsibility, safety and security as restrictions on travel are lifted. The Organization also reiterates the need for credible commitment to support tourism as a pillar for recovery.

Plan Restart

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili was invited to speak during the presentation of the restart plan as Spain looks to harness the power of the tourism sector to drive wider economic recovery.

Allied for Action

Both in assessing the impact of COVID-19 and in looking at how we can restart tourism in a responsible way, based on the best that our sector has to offer: sustainability, innovation, collaboration and solidarity.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

Tourism can be a platform for overcoming the pandemic. By bringing people together, tourism can promote solidarity and trust – crucial ingredients in advancing the global cooperation that is so urgently needed at this time.

Sustainability as the New Normal

To mark World Environment Day, the One Planet Sustainable Tourism Programme led by UNWTO announces its new vision for global tourism– growing better, stronger, and balancing the needs of people, planet and prosperity.

Restrictions on Tourism Travel Starting to Ease

As the United Nations specialized agency releases its Global Guidelines for Reopening Tourism, signalling a transition into gearing up for stronger and better recovery, 3% of all global destinations have now taken steps to ease travel restrictions.


The guidelines highlight the need to act decisively, to restore confidence and, as UNWTO strengthens its partnership with Google, to embrace innovation and the digital transformation of global tourism.

CNN Joins UNWTO on #TravelTomorrow Campaign

The #TravelTomorrow campaign combines the key message of the United Nations specialized agency with the creativity of the broadcaster and looks to a brighter future for global tourism and those that are reliant on the sector for their livelihoods.

Research Shows Strength of Tourism Sector’s Support for Workers and Communities

Employers from across global tourism are taking the lead in supporting their workers and helping the communities in which they operate, research carried out into the sector’s response to COVID-19 has found.

Tourism Recovery Technical Assistance Package

The package is structured around three main pillars: economic recovery, marketing and promotion and institutional strengthening and resilience building.

The Future Is Now!

Tourism has been among the hardest hit of all major economic sectors. To rebuild confidence in travelling and to enhance tourism’s contribution to wider societal recovery, UNWTO called on innovators to share their ideas for positive change.

International Tourist Numbers

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a 22% fall in international tourist arrivals during the first quarter of 2020, the latest data from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) shows.

Words Alone Will Not Save Jobs

The Global Tourism Crisis Committee has united behind the World Tourism Organization’s rallying cry for governments to “go beyond words” and begin taking decisive action to safeguard the millions of jobs under threat as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tourism Arrivals

Taking into account the unparalleled introduction of travel restrictions across the world, the United Nations specialized agency for tourism expects that international tourist arrivals will be down by 20% to 30% in 2020.

Further cooperation

The Secretary-General of the UNWTO Zurab Pololikashvili led a high- delegation to the WHO headquarters in Geneva to further advance the two agencies’ coordinated response to the worldwide Coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak.

The Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), on the advice of the International Health Regulations (IHR) Emergency Committee on COVID-19, which met on 30 January 2020, declared outbreak of COVID-19 constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).

Important note on naming the coronavirus disease 2019

WHO has named the disease COVID-19, short for “coronavirus disease 2019”, following WHO best practices for naming of new human infectious diseases, with the aim to minimize unnecessary negative impact of disease names on trade, travel, tourism, or animal welfare. Any other naming not following WHO’s guidance and recommended best practices is strongly discouraged. For detailed guidance on naming please visit: