Elena Kountoura at the ITIC/WTM Global Tourism Investment Summit – Invest, Finance & Restart


Elena Kountoura MEP, participates the Global Tourism Investment Summit – Invest, Finance & Restart, organized by ITIC during WTM 2021 at London. Elena Kountoura spoke at session «Health : Investment in regional vaccination plants as a pre-requisite to restore trust in travel and tourism».


Entry Speech:

First, I would like to congratulate the organizers for this important summit. ITIC has demonstrated strong commitment to support travel and tourism for long, and especially throughout this pandemic.

I would also like to thank you for the invitation to share with you the priorities from the European perspective.

We all know that travel and tourism has been one of the hardest hit sectors by the pandemic. It came almost at a standstill in 2020 and we still feel the impact.

In 2021, recovery is slower than expected. Global researches show that almost half of the tourism industry,estimatesthat international tourism will return to the 2019 levels in 2024 or later.

Full recovery is clearly delayed, not only by the ongoing pandemic, but also because of the lack of common rules and protocols,as well as the uneven vaccination rates across that continue to affect confidence for travel.

Too much is at stake. Millions of jobs are still at risk of being lost and thousands of businesses, especially SMEs, still struggle to survive.  And we must continue efforts to avoid a domino effect in the economy, in  otherproductive sectors that rely on tourism, such as energy, trade, transportation, the food and beverage sector, shopping, entertainment and culture, and of course  in areas, where the local economy and the local communities depend on tourism.

The top factors to restore travel are indeed

  • widespread vaccination,
  • lifting all major travel restrictions,
  • coordinated action on travel protocols,
  • clear information on protocols and entry requirements,
  • enhanced safe mobility through digital tools,
  • and extensive testing, which must be affordable.

Rapid vaccination of the population and common protocols have been highlighted in all recent reports from global institutions, such as the United Nations World Tourism Organization UNWTO and the World Travel&Tourism Council WTTC.

The vaccination gap is costing lives every day, and places everyone at risk because no one is safe, until we are all safe. Leaving no one behind is first of all a moral duty because it is about saving lives, but it is  also an economic and social necessity to act in solidarity….

Moderator: Rajan Datar, Presenter & Broadcaster, BBC
Dr. Taleb Rifai, Chairman ITIC & former Secretary-General, UNWTO
Elena Kountoura, Member of European Parliament
Cuthbert Ncube, Executive Chairman Africa Tourism Board
Denis Kinane, Founder and Chief Medical Officer, Cign Post Diagnostics, UK

whole session at https://youtu.be/Ntk0L2twT2A