A briefing on what happened in the Tourism sector and what we can help to make it more sustainable and safer
In two years of pandemic we experienced a lot of changes in our lives- from wearing the mask in public transport (or in a closed building!) to the EU Digital Covid Certificate in order to travel around EU countries.
Those changes badly affected the Tourism sector too, but solutions from governments and International organizations were taken in order to prevent future crises and gave instruments for the future generations to recover the Tourism sector but also to help our Planet.
THE EU DIGITAL COVID CERTIFICATE: A LONG OR SHORT TERM SOLUTION?
One of the solutions taken by the EU countries in order to face the Pandemic is the EU Digital COVID Certificate.
On the 20th of May 2021, indeed, the Council of the European Union agreed on the EU Digital COVID Certificate which entered into force at European level on the 1st of July 2021.
This certificate proves that a person has either been vaccinated against COVID-19, received a negative test result or has recovered from COVID-19. Moreover as it is written on the official European website 1 “When travelling, the EU Digital COVID Certificate holder should in principle be exempted from free movement restrictions: Member States should refrain from imposing additional travel restrictions on the holders of an EU Digital COVID Certificate, unless they are necessary and proportionate to safeguard public health”.
Thanks to its QR code, the EU Digital COVID Certificate is thought, at the end, to be a safe key not only to count the number of people who have been vaccinated but also to prevent the creation of false certifications and to allow for extensions in its usage. The Italian government, indeed, launched an app called “VerificaC19” in response to fake Green passes which are being sold online as Reuters reported2.
But is this a long or a short term solution for the Tourism?
Answering to the question, some protests3 have risen up because of the limitations 4 imposed by the Digital pass in lots of EU countries, but on the other hand the requests to be vaccinated are incredibly increased in the few days after the introduction of it. This means that this solution taken by some countries of the EU is a warm invitation to be vaccinated in order to prevent other variants such as Delta from developing and finally relax at the beach or in the mountains!
RETHINKING OF TOURISM: SUSTAINABILITY AND SAFETY
During the lockdowns we discover again how to be sustainable at our homes.
For example, we made homemade food (like pizza or pasta) or we used cloth napkins instead of the paper ones and while the entire human kind was closed at home, the Nature got back again 5 and showed us that we are only tourists in its space.
Moreover, when we had the opportunity to go out again, we enjoyed a walk in our lands or in our mountains or even we enjoyed breathing some fresh air in our second-homes.
Nevertheless this attitude became a routine, the world of the tourism had an incredibly loss6 in 2020, since there wasn’t the possibility to go anywhere unless at our local villages and cities which we visited with other eyes, discovering again their beauty or hidden spots.
But the issue of Tourism urged the MEPs more than ever to think on March 25th 2021 a New European strategy to make tourism safer, cleaner and more sustainable for everyone7, making digital instruments for it- from the EU Digital Covid Certificate to the Re-open EU portal8.
This path – to make Tourism more sustainable and safer – has started in 2015 with the agreement among world leaders on SDGs9, but with the loss caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, also the UNWTO10 urged to rebuild tourism again11, in particular seeing sustainability as the new normal.
It means, indeed, to see global tourism to grow better, stronger and more balanced in order to satisfy the needs of people, planet and prosperity as reported by the One Planet Vision for the Responsible Recovery for the Tourism Sector12.
So, as we can see to conclude, the political side has done its part to recover the Tourism in order to make it smarter, more sustainable and safer. But what can we do in order to help?
CONCLUSIONS: HOW WE CAN HELP?
As said in the previous paragraph, the political sector gave us some instruments in order to face the Pandemic and help to recover the Tourism sector.
But what can we do from our side in order to help?
Surely, following the rules and avoiding some bad habits will help a lot, not only the Tourism sector but also our Planet which will benefits a lot from our behavior. In fact one of the focus offered by the UNWTO is the so called “Reselience of Tourism”13 , a portal where you can see all the action that you can concretely take in order to help.
Last but not least, teaching the new generations to respect the place and environment you are visiting, to think about sustainable and innovative solutions to preserve it and to make it more accessible to everyone.
Cover Image Credits: “Tourist where is your mask” painted on a wall in Valencia, Spain by Carmel Rossen on Unsplash