How WTTC wanted British PM Boris Johnson to lead the World in Reopening Tourism?

Gloria Guevara, CEO of the World Travel and Tourism Council has become the leader for the private industry to speak for the survival of one of the largest industries in the world. Other than the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), WTTC clearly became the “doer” and a true leader when it comes to responding to the biggest threat the industry ever faced. Other than UNWTO WTTC has done by far more than lip service and empty talk.

On July 31 the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) was looking to the United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson for global leadership in sending a letter to him asking him for personal engagement. before any other Country leader. Mr Johnson himself is recovering from the after effects of COVID-19

The member of WTTC are the largest corporation in the global travel and tourism industry. Many of them are fighting for survival. WTTC has been in this battle alongside these travel industry giants to convince governments to reopen travel despite COVID-19. There is no time and room for failure since even the giants in the industry are on the verge along with millions of people employed directly or indirectly in the travel and tourism industry.

August 06: The U.K. adds Belgium, The Bahamas, Andorra to the quarantine list
Boris Johnson’s government warned British tourists they face more disruption to their plans for holidays in Europe amid reports that France may be next on the U.K. list of countries hit by coronavirus travel restrictions. Spain battled to rescue tourism after the U.K. quarantine order

On August 07, WTTC was hoping to get a supporting response from the UK government in response to the letter sent to the PM a week earlier.

On August 12, WTTC released a statement saying, that WTTC was deeply disappointed that thousands of British holidaymakers have had their holidays ruined, now the UK government has added more countries to its quarantine list, including key summer holidays destinations, France and Malta. While we agree public health should remain the top priority, this move will crush what little confidence there is left in the fragile Travel & Tourism sector.

“More than 100 of the world’s major travel and global business leaders signed a WTTC letter sent to 10 of the world’s most powerful Heads of State, including Boris Johnson, calling for their leadership to coordinate the international response to save the Travel & Tourism sector and the global economy. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has led the positive responses we have received following our plea for urgent action for a range of measures including testing and tracing instead of quarantines.

“The UK clearly lags behind other countries which have shunned quarantines in favor of comprehensive programs of testing for everyone departing and arriving back into their respective countries. International coordination and program of testing for anyone who wants to go on holiday to help stop COVID-19 in its tracks are crucial in order to rescue three million jobs in the UK alone.

“It’s hard to avoid believing that the UK Government doesn’t want people to travel at all. This is not only damaging the UK economy but also thousands of UK businesses, workers, and households up and down the country who will continue to suffer if an alternative solution to quarantines isn’t implemented immediately.”


This was the letter WTTC had sent to PM Boris Johnson on July 31
A similar letter went to the UK Opposition on August 4:
The Rt Hon Sir Keir Starmer, MP Leader of the Labour Party United Kingdom

The Rt. Hon Boris Johnson MP

Prime Minister
10 Downing Street
London SW1A 2AA
United Kingdom

Hon. Nigel Huddleston, Minister of Tourism & Heritage
Hon Grant Shapps MP, Secretary of State for Transport
Hon Priti Patel MP, Secretary of State for Home Department
Hon Paul Scully MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets)

A call for your personal engagement and leadership to recover global Travel & Tourism

Dear Prime Minister,

On behalf of the global Travel & Tourism private sector, we thank you for the measures your government has implemented to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus and to support our sector during the worst crisis of our generation.

Your country has a proud history of showing leadership when the world needed it the most. We are now requesting your urgent personal engagement and leadership to ensure international collaboration and alignment that is desperately needed for the recovery of the Travel & Tourism sector. As a reminder, Travel & Tourism has been a critical catalyst for economic growth globally responsible for 330 million jobs, 1 in 10, and 10.3% of global GDP.

The restart and recovery of Travel & Tourism, and its associated economic and social benefits, is highly dependent on rebuilding traveler confidence and a consistent alignment amongst countries.

According to medical experts we can protect lives and recover the economy by supporting traveling and the application of the following four measures in a globally consistent way:

1. Wearing a mask: This should be mandatory on all modes of transport throughout the entire traveller journey, as well as when visiting any interior venue or those with restricted movement which results in close personal contact of two metres or less. According to medical evidence, such measures can reduce the risk for the spread by up to 92%1.

1 Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

2. Testing and contact tracing – We need extensive, rapid and reliable testing on departure and or arrivals (symptomatic and asymptomatic would-be travellers),

supported by effective contact tracing tools. The application of multiple tests will help to isolate infected people.

3. Quarantines for positive tests only: Quarantines for healthy travellers should not be necessary and damage the economy if testing and effective containment measures are in place at departure and arrival points. This can replace blanket quarantines in a more targeted and effective way significantly reducing the negative impact on jobs and the economy.

4. Reinforcing global protocols and standardise measures: The adoption of global health and safety protocols will help rebuild traveller confidence and ensure a consistent, coordinated and aligned approach of the travel experience in addition to significantly reducing the risk of infection.

We are convinced that our leaders of the G-7 platform can rescue the world from this unprecedented crisis by acting in an effective and coordinated way that will allow us to bring back more than 120m jobs and livelihoods affected. We are calling on the leaders of the G7, plus Australia, The Republic of Korea and Spain (as 10 of the top global tourism source markets) to work together to commit to and deliver the measures needed.

You have understandably focused on your important domestic priorities during the early stage of the COVID-19 pandemic but now the hope and the future of the world is in your expert hands as one of the most important global leaders we have. With power comes the responsibility of global leadership and now is the time to act.

We are sending a similar letter to the Leader of the Opposition, in the firm belief that this is a non-partisan issue, and requiring their full support and commitment to your actions to help us during these difficult times.

Can we count on your leadership?

We intend to make the public on Monday 10 August our proposals and requests to the ten governments. We therefore respectfully request your response to this letter before Friday 7 August, so that we can confirm your personal engagement and the commitment of your government.

We already work very well with your Minister of Tourism and we kindly ask you to nominate an additional senior Minister of Foreign Affairs or similar to join his efforts and support the recovery of the sector, whilst also delivering the unquestionable benefits of the measures that we have proposed.

We urge these selected ministers to hold an urgent COVID-19 global summit to deliver a coordinated action plan with immediate impact.

WTTC and all our Members are fully committed to support you and your government colleagues in this endeavour of resolving the worst crisis of our generation.

Thank you in advance and with our highest respects, Gloria Guevara

President & CEO


Chris Nassetta

President & CEO


Jeffrey C Rutledge

Chief Executive Officer, AIG Travel

American International Group, Inc.

Alex Zozaya

Executive Chairman Apple Leisure Group

Arnold W Donald

President & Chief Executive Officer

Carnival Corporation

Paul Griffiths


Dubai Airports International

Gary Chapman

President Group Services & dnata

Emirates Group

Hiromi Tagawa

Executive Advisor

JTB Corp

Jerry Noonan

Co-founder, Global Hospitality & Leisure Practice

Spencer Stuart

Jane Jie Sun

Chief Executive Officer & Director Group

Desirée Bollier

Chair and Chief Merchant

Value Retail

Geoffrey J W Kent

Founder, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

Abercrombie & Kent

Glenda McNeal

President, Enterprise Strategic Partnerships

American Express Company

Paul Abbott


American Express Global Business Travel

Kurt Ekert

President & CEO

Carlson Wagonlit Travel

Greg O’Hara

Founder and Managing Partner


Sean Donohue

Chief Executive Officer

Dallas Fort Worth International Airport

Ariane Gorin

President, Expedia Business Services

Expedia Group

Rob Torres

Managing Director for Travel

Google Inc.

Joan Vilà

Executive Chairman


Dee Waddell

Global Managing Director, IBM Travel and Transportation Industry


Keith Barr


InterContinental Hotels Group

Darrell Wade


Co-founder and Chairman

Intrepid Group

James Riley

Group Chief Executive

Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group

Arne Sorenson

President & Chief Executive Officer

Marriott International



Executive Chairman

MSC Cruises

Richard D Fain

Chairman & CEO

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

Sean Menke

President & CEO

Sabre Corporation

Pansy Ho

Group Executive Chairman and Managing Director

Shun Tak Holdings Limited

Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio di Balsorano de Clunieres


Silversea Cruises

Brett Tollman

Chief Executive

The Travel Corporation

Greg Webb

Chief Executive Officer


Friedrich Joussen


TUI Group

Roger Dow

President & CEO

U.S. Travel Association

Matthew Upchurch

President & CEO

Caroline Beteta

President & CEO

Sébastien Bazin


Brian Chesky


WTTC is fighting a giant


How WTTC wanted British PM Boris Johnson to lead the World in Reopening Tourism


On August 03, WTTC sent similar letters to
H.E. Pedro Sanchez President of the Government of Spain Complejo de la Moncloa Spain
Cc: H.E. Nadia Calviño, Third Deputy Prime Minister of Spain and Minister of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation H.E Arancha González Laya, Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation H.E. José Luis Ábalos, Minister of Transports, Mobility and Urban Agenda H.E. María Jesús Montero, Minister of Finance and Spokesperson of the Government H.E. Reyes Maroto, Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism H.E. Fernando Valdés, Secretary of State for Tourism

H.E. Pablo Casado Blanco President of the Partido Popular Spain

On August 04, WTTC sent to

The Hon Scott Morrison MP Prime Minister Australia
Cc: The Hon Marise Payne, Minister for Foreign Affairs The Hon Simon Birmingham, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment

Australia Leaders of the Opposition:
The Hon Anthony Albanese MP Leader of the Australian Labor Party Australia


The Rt Hon Justin Trudeau, MP Prime Minister Canada Cc: The Hon François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Foreign Affairs The Hon Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages

The Hon Andrew Scheer, MP Leader Conservative Party Canada


The Hon Dr. Angela Merkel Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany Bundeskanzleramt Willy-Brandt-Straße 1 DE-10557 Berlin, Germany
Cc: The Hon Heiko Maas, Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs The Hon Peter Altmaier, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy The Hon Christine Lambrecht, Federal Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection The Hon Thomas Bareiß, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy

The Hon Katrin Göring-Eckardt, MdB, Group Leader of Alliance 90/The Greens The Hon Anton Hofreiter, MdB, Group Leader of Alliance 90/The Greens

The Hon Dietmar Bartsch, MdB, Group Leader of the Left Group The Hon Amira Mohamed Ali, MdB, Group Leader of the Left Group

The Hon Emmanuel Macron President France Cc: The Hon Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs The Hon Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Minister of State attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs

Christian Jacob MP President, Les Republicains France

The Hon Guiseppe Conte MP Prime Minister Italy
Cc: The Hon Luigi Di Maio, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation The Hon Dario Franceschini, Minister of Cultural Heritage and Activities The Hon Lorenza Bonaccorsi, Secretary of State for Tourism

Senator Matteo Salvini Federal Secretary of Lega Nord Italy

H.E. Shinzo Abe Prime Minister Japan Cc: H.E. Toshimitsu Motegi, Minister for Foreign Affairs H.E. Kazuyoshi Akaba, Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism

H.E. Yukio Edano Leader of the Constitutional Democratic Party Japan

Republic of Korea:
H.E. Moon Jae-in President The Republic of Korea
Cc: H.E. Kang Kyung-wha, Minister of Foreign Affairs H.E. Park Yang-woo, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism

H.E. Kim Chong-in President of the United Future Party Republic of Korea

Donald Trump President of the United States of America The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500
Cc: Michael Pompeo, Secretary of State Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce Philip Lovas, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Travel and Tourism

The Hon Joe Biden 47th Vice President of the United States and Democratic Presidential Nominee The United States

The Hon Nancy Pelosi Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Washington, DC 20515

On August 12  a letter was sent to the European Union in Brussels
European Union
WTTC continued sending letters for a call for personal engagement and leadership to recover global Travel & Tourism to Ursula von der Leyen President of the European Commission, to  Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for Internal Market Ylva Johansson, European Commissioner for Home Affairs Adina-Ioana Vălean, European Commissioner for Transport.

WTTC is reacting immediately for any positive and of course negative signs for tourism openings.

Today, August 21, WTTC issued a statement of relief: saying: “WTTC is relieved that thousands of British holidaymakers can now at long last go on holiday to Portugal thanks to the country finally being removed from the UK government’s quarantine list.

“This news is a welcome shot in the arm for the fragile Travel & Tourism sector – both in the UK and Portugal. We hope it will also go some way to restoring the confidence of consumers to travel in safety again and enjoy a late summer holiday away.

“But many more holidaymakers will be hugely disappointed that if they go to Austria, Croatia, and Trinidad & Tobago it will mean they face having to quarantine for 14-days on their return. It just creates more uncertainty for the Travel & Tourism sector when they can least afford it.

“With countries moving so quickly on and off the quarantine list, in response to changing coronavirus rates, it shows now more than ever how important it is that we have strong international coordination and a comprehensive program of testing for anyone who wants to travel either for business or leisure. Only a rapid, reliable, and affording testing regime will help stop COVID-19 in its tracks and save the three million Travel & Tourism jobs at risk in the UK alone.”

WTTC may not always get its way, but with Gloria Guevara in charge, there is consistency, leadership and follow up.
With so many fires burning, so many initiatives in progress no organization can always get it 100% correct, but there are a strong will and a strong need, and a deadly time frame for WTTC to continue its mission.