Published on Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Travel and tourism staff praised for 'quiet heroism' in face of pandemic

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has praised millions of people around the world in the travel and tourism sector for lending crucial help to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

It said staff employed by WTTC members have volunteered time and expertise, putting their own lives on the line, to provide essential relief efforts in their local communities.

This has ranged from furloughed airline cabin crew, including those with British Airways, easyJet, TUI and Virgin Altantic, being deployed to help in hospitals, to operating additional flights for medical cargo, luxury hotels opening their doors to provide free rooms to healthcare workers or helping with grocery shopping and running errands for the elderly self-isolating.

WTTC president & CEO Gloria Guevara said: "WTTC wants to pay tribute to the millions of amazing coronavirus heroes throughout the global Travel & Tourism sector for selflessly going the extra mile to help their communities to overcome and combat the Covid-19 pandemic threat.

"We recognise their quiet heroism and phenomenal dedication through using their incredible people skills developed during their normal working lives and wealth of experience to step up and offer essential help and assistance to those on the front line fighting this terrible virus.

"Whether it's tending to the sick, opening hotels for health workers or manning foodbanks, they, like countless others have risen to the challenge and shown with their hearts and actions that we are stronger together and we will win this battle."

Hotel giants like Hilton have teamed up with American Express to launch their Rooms for Responders initiative, offering free accommodation to more than a million healthcare professionals across 10 medical associations fighting the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Meanwhile, Carnival has offered a number of its cruise ships to act as floating hospitals to treat patients suffering from less-critical, non-coronavirus-related conditions. 

In the US and Spain, Room Mate has also offered up hotels in New York, Madrid and Barcelona, to be transformed into temporary hospitals to help in the Covid-19 fight.

United Airlines has offered free flights to New York and California to medical personnel.

Spanish flag carrier Iberia is working with the Spanish Federation of Healthcare Technology Companies (Fenin) and the Oesía Group to bring medical supplies from China to fight COVID-19.

In China, has donated more than three million surgical masks to more than 25 countries around the world.

WTTC added that the travel and tourism sector has 'faced near collapse and a battle for survival' due to the extensive travel restrictions and lockdowns ordered by governments across the world to stop the spread of the pandemic.

Latest WTTC research reveals up to 75 million travel and tourism sector jobs are at risk globally.


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