The World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) hosted a high-level virtual meeting last week, to convene a global tourism crisis committee to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

The committee brings together key UN agencies, the chairs of its executive council and regional commissions, and private sector leaders.

The UNWTO said: “The UNWTO-led Committee will hold regular virtual meetings, reflecting the need for coordinated and efficient action by the private and public sectors, governments, international financing institutions, and the United Nations.

“Since the start of the pandemic, UNWTO has been working closely with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to guide the tourism sector as it faces up to the Covid-19 challenge.

“This meeting, hosted in Madrid but conducted virtually for reasons of public health, further emphasised the call for international cooperation to underscore a united response based on the latest public health recommendations and reflecting the deep economic ripple effect and social cost of the pandemic.”

MoreCoronavirus: UNWTO predicts larger impact on tourism than previous estimate

Coronavirus: Latest news and updates

Zurab Pololikashvili, UNWTO secretary-general, said: “This unprecedented public health emergency has already become an economic crisis which will come at a social cost.

“[Tourism] is the hardest hit sector and all our best estimates have been overtaken by the changing reality.

“The livelihoods of millions of people and their families are at stake, be it in urban centres or in remote communities where tourism is sometimes the main income generator and a vehicle for social inclusion, protecting heritage and kickstarting development.”

The UNWTO has also launched a social media campaign with the slogan ‘Stay home today so you can #TravelTomorrow’.

Click here for details about the new crisis committee.