Sharing Rare Disease Data Across Borders is Crucial Step for Diagnoses

Sharing Rare Disease Data Across Borders is Crucial Step for Diagnoses

San Francisco, California, United States, August 3, 2020 / TRAVELINDEX / Those who contracted COVID-19 are experiencing what it’s like to have a condition that is difficult to diagnose without clear treatment options. This is the norm for people living with a rare disease. There are 7,000 rare diseases identified so far, often with broad symptoms, varying in severity from patient to patient. This causes not only a lengthy and difficult diagnosis process, but also a lack of available data for treatment given only a handful of people living in the same country are suffering from the same disease. In fact, treatments may be underway in one country unknown to the patients in another.

Over the last two years, the World Economic Forum’s precision medicine team led a pilot project called Breaking Barriers to Health Data, designed to ensure that people living with rare and other complex diseases were not missing out on life-saving diagnoses and treatments.

A health data consortium was developed with the Australian Genomics Health Alliance, Genomics4RD, Genomics England, and Intermountain Healthcare as well as 85 stakeholders from academia, government, and industry with the aim of sharing genomic data for rare diseases across borders.

The team produced a proof of concept that outlines how countries can come together, use pre-existing datasets of coded and de-identified patient information and access other datasets across country borders with similar data types. Australia and Canada reached an agreement on how to deploy this proof of concept and will likely test it later this year.

“Sorting through the human genome is like going through 100,000 digital photos – it’s a complex task that takes time and money,” said Lynsey Chediak, Project Lead, World Economic Forum. “It takes on average five to seven years to diagnose a rare disease. I was one of the lucky ones, a person living with a rare disease diagnosed at the age of 5. But, due to the time to diagnose, in some places, one-quarter of children will not live to see their tenth birthday. That can change. Sharing genomic data is a huge undertaking, but it is not particularly difficult technically. The larger challenge is how to form the necessary relationships between institutions that enable trust and transparency and sustained, predictable operations. Our project showed us that this can be done.”

Many countries want to share data in theory but are unable to do so due to data security, patient privacy and incompatibility in operating standards. A federated data system is a technical solution that can mitigate many of these concerns. Participating in a sensitive health data consortium is the only way to maximize volumes of data already collected, sitting in silos around the globe.

“This has been a valuable exercise to explore how to maximize the utility of our existing datasets.Participating in this mode of international collaboration will be increasingly important to progress our shared knowledge of genomics – particularly in rare diseases,” said Tiffany Boughtwood, Manager of the Australian Genomics Health Alliance. “Working with the Forum over the last two years, we have created a clear governance structure and strong partnerships with like-minded genomics institutions beyond Australia’s borders.”

“This is an exciting proof of concept, showing how standards developed by the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health community can be put into practice and have a real impact on patients living with a rare disease,” said Oliver Hofmann, Co-Chair of the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH) Large Scale Genomics working group.

“Interoperability is key to enabling the responsible sharing of genomic and health related data for the benefit of humans everywhere,” said Peter Goodhand, Chief Executive Officer of the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health. “At GA4GH, we develop the technical standards that allow for such interoperability, but getting them into real-world practice is the most critical step. Through collaborations like the Breaking Barriers to Health Data project – which leverages the GA4GH Data Use Ontology and Framework for Responsible Sharing of Genomic and Health-related Data – we are beginning to see how our work can add real value to the global patient community.”

“As the parent of a child with an undiagnosed rare condition, access to state-of-the-art genomic testing is like winning the lottery,” said Durhane Wong-Rieger, President of the Canadian Organization for Rare Disorders. “The idea that my child’s genomic data could be interpreted using a federated database and then contribute back to this data system is like winning the trifecta. As president of the Canadian Organization for Rare Disorders, I am excited to be part of this pilot, and as chair of Rare Disease International, I anticipate the day when all patients across the world will take part.”

“Limited data is a common feature of rare diseases, resulting in high uncertainty, which impacts every part of people’s lives,” said Nicole Millis, Chief Executive Officer of Rare Voices Australia.  “Australia’s National Strategic Action Plan for Rare Diseases calls for improvements to rare disease data collection and use, including best-practice safe storage and data sharing. One of the critical enablers of this is ‘state, national and international partnerships.’ The safe and anonymous sharing of rare disease data across borders will provide key decision-makers at all levels with greater knowledge of rare diseases, which can facilitate more responsive and appropriate services for people living with a rare disease, as well as their families and carers.”

“Care4Rare Canada is thrilled to be an active partner in this collaboration led by the World Economic Forum,” said Kym Boycott, Chair of Genetics at CHEO, Senior Scientist at the CHEO Research Institute, Professor at the University of Ottawa, and project lead of Care4Rare. “We set out to design Genomics4RD and its governance in a way that would enable this type of rare disease data connection. We have long believed that international data consortia, such as this, will lead to more diagnoses for our patients otherwise living without answers.”

By following the findings in this guide, the Forum hopes to encourage a cohesive, symbiotic relationship between health institutions throughout the world that may otherwise have different models of consent, operations, security and technology.

The Breaking Barriers to Health Data project aims to craft and test a scalable governance framework to support the effective and responsible use of federated data systems to advance rare disease diagnosis and treatment. It is part of the World Economic Forum’s Health and Healthcare platform. The first case study will focus on enabling cross-border access to rare disease genomic data between four countries.

UNWTO Counts Cost of Standstill, COVID-19 Impact Clear

UNWTO Counts Cost of Standstill, COVID-19 Impact Clear

Madrid, Spain, August 3, 2020 / TRAVELINDEX / The enormous toll of COVID-19 on international tourism has now become clear, with World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) data showing the cost up to May was already three times that of the 2009 Global Economic Crisis. As the situation continues to evolve, the United Nations specialized agency has provided the first comprehensive insight into the impact of the pandemic, both in tourist numbers and lost revenues, ahead of the upcoming release of up-to-date information on travel restrictions worldwide.

The latest edition of the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer shows that the near-complete lockdown imposed in response to the pandemic led to a 98 per cent fall in international tourist numbers in May when compared to 2019. The Barometer also shows a 56% year-on-year drop in tourist arrivals between January and May. This translates into a fall of 300 million tourists and US$320 billion lost in international tourism receipts – more than three times the loss during the Global Economic Crisis of 2009.

Governments in every world region have a dual responsibility: to prioritize public health while also protecting jobs and businesses.

Dramatic fall in tourism places millions of livelihoods at risk

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “This latest data makes clear the importance of restarting tourism as soon as it is safe to do so. The dramatic fall in international tourism places many millions of livelihoods at risk, including in developing countries. Governments in every world region have a dual responsibility: to prioritize public health while also protecting jobs and businesses. They also need to maintain the spirit of cooperation and solidarity that has defined our response to this shared challenge and refrain from making unilateral decisions that may undermine the trust and confidence we have been working so hard to build.”

Restart underway but confidence low

At the same time, UNWTO also notes signs of a gradual and cautious change in trend, most notably in the Northern Hemisphere and particularly following the opening of borders across the Schengen Zone of the European Union on 1 July.

While tourism is slowly returning in some destinations, the UNWTO Confidence Index has dropped to record lows, both for the evaluation of the period January-April 2020, and the prospects for May-August. Most members of the UNWTO Panel of Tourism Experts expect international tourism to recover by the second half of 2021, followed by those who expect a rebound in the first part of next year.

The group of global experts points to a series of downside risks such as travel restrictions and border shutdowns still in place in most destinations, major outbound markets such as the United States and China being at standstill, safety concerns associated with travel, the resurgence of the virus and risks of new lockdowns or curfews. Furthermore, concerns over a lack of reliable information and a deteriorating economic environment are indicated as factors weighing on consumer confidence.

WTTC launches Insurance Guidelines for Travel and Tourism

WTTC launches Insurance Guidelines for Travel and Tourism

London, Great Britain, August 1, 2020 / TRAVELINDEX / The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has unveiled its Insurance Guidelines to rebuild global consumer confidence to help encourage the return of travelling.

The guidelines are designed to drive the return of safe, healthy and responsible travel and ensure the insurance sector is fit for purpose to operate for travellers in the ‘new normal’ of the COVID-19 world.

Insurance is a vital part of the Travel & Tourism experience, providing peace of mind and risk mitigation to consumers, suppliers, and organisations across the Travel & Tourism sector.

These new guidelines were compiled based on input from leading companies, many of which have partnered with trusted experts in public health and governments to support safe, healthy, and responsible travels.

The guidelines aim to promote consistent standards across all relevant functions with an increased focus on health and safety, in line with what travellers need and expect.

They provide practical insights and guidelines around insurance for the Travel & Tourism private sector to equip them with the knowledge of risks, what insurance coverage they need to look for, and how to attain appropriate coverage for their needs.

Gloria Guevara, WTTC President & CEO, said: “Insurance is vital for travellers to have peace of mind and confidence to travel and it is now more important than ever to create confidence for consumers travelling in the ‘new normal’ of COVID-19.

“We have worked closely with key players across the travel insurance industry to make recommendations to ensure individual travellers, groups and organisations can feel safe and confident enough to travel, sure in the knowledge they have the protection they need.

“The measures outlined in our Insurance Guidelines should help guide travel insurers to create products which contain every contingency needed offer reassurance to enable travel to recommence to those countries which have relaxed their border controls and travel restrictions.”

Robin Ingle, MSH Ingle International, Travel Navigator and Novus Health CEO, said: “The survival and growth of Travel & Tourism is important in many ways, particularly for the global economy and for promoting cross-cultural understanding transcending borders.

“The COVID-19 global pandemic has made governments, travellers, and the Travel & Tourism industry across the world experience how deeply integrated and interdependent we are on each other. 

“Insurance protects and supports the operations of these stakeholders and thus plays a key part in the successful transition of the industry into the ‘new normal’. WTTC and its insurance, risk management and travel assistance members have worked closely to develop guidelines and an FAQ to address insurance-related issues and considerations. 

“These guidelines will be an evolving document, and we will be on hand to answer questions to help guide and assist the industry toward a successful restart.”

Beth Godlin, President, Aon Affinity Travel Practice, and member of the WTTC Task Force said: “The benefits that Travel Insurance and Assistance products offer have always been an important part of the travel experience. The current global pandemic has directly affected companies in this industry who in turn have developed ways that these products can support the industry and travelers as we return to travel.”

Detailed discussions took place with key stakeholders and organisations to ensure maximum buy-in, alignment and practical implementation, to set clear expectations of what travellers may experience.

WTTC divided the new guidance into four pillars including operational and staff preparedness; ensuring a safe experience; rebuilding trust and confidence; innovation; and implementing enabling policies.

Highlights of recommendations announced today include:

  • All organisations to provide risk management plans, including how they aim to combat COVID-19, to insurers
  • Organisations to make sure their plans are thorough, practical, and simple to follow
  • All staff to be informed of protective measures being taken, which include insurance products that will cover them
  • Insurers to ensure audits identify and plug gaps in and source the right partners and providers to ensure appropriate coverage
  • Insurers to create blanket insurance and crisis management coverage to give comfort to customers
  • Ensure there is enhanced awareness of the terms and conditions, restrictions, and coverage limits of insurance products/policies
  • Insurers to provide a minimum base of mandatory coverage for risks posed by COVID-19
  • Educate travellers who are unfamiliar with the risk they could be exposed to and what coverage to look for.

WTTC recently unveiled its Safe Travels protocols for hospitality, outdoor retail, airports, airlines, tour operators, convention centres, meetings and events, which were widely endorsed and supported by top CEOs and business leaders globally.

Backed by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the new protocols recognise businesses and governments worldwide which have adopted them to rebuild confidence among consumers, encourage the return of ‘Safe Travels’ and enable the Travel & Tourism sector to reopen for business.

According to WTTC’s 2020 Economic Impact Report, during 2019, Travel & Tourism was responsible for one in 10 jobs (330 million total), making a 10.3% contribution to global GDP and generating one in four of all new jobs.

Switzerland Celebrates Swiss National Day

Switzerland Celebrates Swiss National Day

Grütli, Seelisberg, Uri, Switzerland. August 1, 2020 / TRAVELINDEX / Founding of the Swiss Confederation in 1291 Since 1891, the first of August has been celebrated as Swiss National Day. The date refers to a historic alliance concluded in 1291 by the three cantons of Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden. This alliance was to become the focal point around which the Switzerland of today was built over the next 500 years.

Men from these three cantons “at the beginning of the month of August 1291” swore eternal allegiance to one another, promising mutual help and assistance. The alliance was mainly formed against the Habsburgs, who were striving to strengthen their position in the strategic region leading to the Gotthard Pass at the time.

August 1st is celebrated exclusively within the communities; a radio or television broadcast by the President of the Swiss Confederation is the only exception to this esteemed federal principle. Communal celebrations comprise solemn words spoken by a prominent public figure from political or cultural life, accompanied by a concert or choire, gymnastic presentations, and the community singing the national anthem.

Wealthy communities or tourist offices may also sponsor a display of fireworks. Bonfires, mainly on hills and other elevated spots, commemorate the expulsion of foreign bailiffs in the fourteenth century, the news of which were spread in this manner in those days. Children carrying lighted paper lanterns roam the streets at night. Public and private buildings are decorated with national, cantonal, and community flags, and the bakers produce special bread rolls with a small Swiss flag on top.

A special kind of celebration takes place at the Rhine Falls near Schaffhausen. From mid-nineteenth century onwards, the waterfall has been illuminated on special occasions. Since 1920, it has been illuminated regularly on August 1, and since 1966 exclusively so. On the same day, a magnificent fireworks display also attracts throngs of spectators to this special site.

A representative celebration is staged at the Rütli Meadow in the canton of Uri above Lake Lucerne. It takes place in the same place where the legendary pledge of alliance was pronounced.

Best Western Okinawa Onna Beach Displays Commitment to Local Community

Best Western Okinawa Onna Beach Displays Commitment to Local Community

Okinawa, Japan, July 31, 2020 / travelindex / The Best Western Okinawa Onna Beach in Okinawa, Japan, continues to show its commitment to supporting the local community through creative and generous acts of service and hospitality.

As COVID-19 continues to impact the community, care and unity during these challenging times mean more now than ever. Recently the hotel provided complimentary hotel stays and meals to 60 single-parent families in need.  “The gesture was aimed to put smiles on the faces of those who have suffered during this global pandemic,” said Kentaro Kaneko, general manager of Best Western Okinawa Onna Beach.

Additionally, the hotel has launched a semi-buffet called Coral Friendly Dinner to support local producers and the coral preservation in Okinawa.  For every dinner sold, 1.35* percent of the proceeds are donated directly to local authorities to support the city’s coral protection and conservation efforts. The Coral Friendly Dinner is priced at 3,500 yen (inclusive tax).

These important initiatives demonstrate the core values of Best Western Okinawa Onna Beach and display its unwavering support to its local community and the environment.

For more information about Best Western Okinawa Onna Beach, visit or call the hotel directly +81 98-964-1130.

*The number 1.35 is a Japanese play on words. It can also mean Good Coral in Japanese pronunciation.

About Best Western® Hotels & Resorts:
Best Western Hotels & Resorts headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, is a privately held hotel brand within the BWH Hotel Group® global network. With 18 brands and approximately 4,700 hotels in over 100 countries and territories worldwide*, BWH Hotel Group suits the needs of developers and guests in every market. Brands include Best Western®, Best Western Plus®, Best Western Premier®, Executive Residency by Best Western®, Vīb®, GLō®, Aiden®, Sadie®, BW Premier Collection® and BW Signature Collection®. Through acquisition, WorldHotelsTM Luxury, WorldHotels Elite, WorldHotels Distinctive and WorldHotels Crafted collections are also offered. Completing the portfolio is SureStay®, SureStay Plus®, SureStay Collection® and SureStay StudioSM  franchises.**

* Numbers are approximate, may fluctuate, and include hotels currently in the development pipeline.
**All Best Western, WorldHotels and SureStay branded hotels are independently owned and operated.

Best Western Hotels and Resorts
BWI (Thailand) Co., Ltd.|Unit 5A-2 | 5th Floor Gaysorn Place Office Building
999 Ploenchit Road Lumpini Phatumwan | Bangkok | 10330 | Thailand
Phone: +662.656.1260 | Fax +662.656.1252|

Greenview Portal First Sustainability Management System with GSTC Recognized Status

Greenview Portal First Sustainability Management System with GSTC Recognized Status

Singapore, Singapore, July 30, 2020 / TRAVELINDEX / GSTC extends its recognition to include sustainable tourism management systems. Greenview Portal is the first sustainable tourism management system for multi-site businesses to achieve ‘GSTC-Recognized system’ status. Users of the Greenview Portal that have made significant progress in their adherence to the GSTC Criteria, will be able to achieve certification following an external audit by a GSTC-Accredited Certification Body

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) is pleased to announce that the Greenview Portal for the Hospitality Industry has become a ‘GSTC-Recognized System’. It is the first time that a sustainability management system has achieved this status.

Randy Durband, CEO of GSTC said: “This is a significant moment for GSTC as we expand our recognition programme to apply to not only standards but also management systems. Last year we welcomed Hilton LightStay becoming GSTC-Recognized for its own portfolio, and this helped pave the way for expanded use of GSTC. By using GSTC-Recognized systems, hotel and tourism companies will now be able to embed the GSTC Criteria, which includes the full range of environmental and social considerations specifically developed for the tourism sector, throughout their management processes and set them on the path of continuous improvement and towards certification. I am delighted that the Greenview Portal is the first such system to gain GSTC-Recognized status now that we have formally expanded into this category.”

The Greenview Portal is an industry-specific system developed by Singapore-based consultancy Greenview that allows hotel companies to track, measure and improve in areas of environmental sustainability and social responsibility at property or multi-site level. The online platform allows hotel owners, operators, and affiliations to track, benchmark, report and improve on various aspects of environmental and social performance.

Greenview Founder and CEO, Eric Ricaurte said: “Becoming a GSTC-Recognized System is an important milestone in the development of the Greenview Portal. The investor community’s interest in environmental, social and governance performance is growing and we are seeing governments proactively pursue solutions to destination management across the value chain. In addition, consumer demand for clearly identifiable sustainable products is increasing, and as a result so is OTA interest in providing relevant content. The GSTC provides the consistent framework under which results can be achieved. This recognition will enable our hotel and hotel company clients to ensure their sustainability programmes are fully aligned with the GSTC Criteria and address this stakeholder interest, while delivering tangible value with a practical system.”

Achieving the GSTC-Recognized status means that a sustainable tourism standard or system has been reviewed by GSTC technical experts and the GSTC Aussrance Panel and deemed equivalent to the GSTC Criteria for sustainable tourism.

Currently, 11 destination standards, 33 hotel standards, and 31 tour operator standards have achieved GSTC-Recognized status. The status offers the market a proof that these standards adhere to international norms. GSTC Recognition does not ensure that a certification process is reliable, only that the set of standards used to certify are equivalent to the GSTC Criteria. GSTC-Recognized standard owners are encouraged to complete the accreditation process, which assures that the certification process used to apply the standard meets international best practice, transparent, and rigor.

About Greenview
Greenview is the world’s leading provider of sustainability programs and data management for the hospitality and tourism sector. We support companies to design, implement, and monitor their corporate responsibility and sustainability platforms to drive profitability, streamline data, keep ahead of trends, and provide effective communication for stakeholders. Headquartered in Singapore with a global team of experts, we manage the hospitality sector’s largest collaborative sustainability initiatives and leverage the power of this network to synergize value to our clients across three pillars of activity: corporate consulting and advisory; Greenview Portal software; and collaborative industry initiatives. In addition to advising leading global organizations, Greenview has launched several innovative industry initiatives including the Green Lodging Trends Report, Cornell Hotel Sustainability Benchmarking Index, Hotel Footprinting Tool, and Hotel Owners for Tomorrow Coalition.

Germans Want to Travel Abroad Despite Coronavirus Pandemic

Germans Want to Travel Abroad Despite Coronavirus Pandemic

Berlin, Germany, July 29, 2020 / TRAVELINDEX / ITB Berlin is to publish a special study by IPK on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on international travel behaviour – Germans’ interest in travel abroad remains high despite no vaccine being available – Car journeys and holidays close to nature are regarded as very safe – Great importance is attached to measures minimising the risk of coronavirus infection. The reputation of Germany as the nation with the world’s keenest travellers is still intact – that is one of the findings of a global survey on travel in times of corona conducted by IPK International, in which ITB Berlin also participated. According to the survey, interest among Germans in trips abroad is much higher than in most other countries. The survey also revealed that travel types and destinations vary greatly. Furthermore, the interviewees attached great importance to measures reducing the risk of infection.

Germans’ interest in outbound travel is above average
When asked what their travel intentions were in times of corona 70 per cent of German outbound travellers said they would continue to travel abroad – despite no vaccine being available. This puts Germany visibly above the European average and in particular above the global average. Close to 20 per cent of the interviewees said, they could only imagine travelling within Germany. Ten per cent said they did not want to travel at all in these times of the coronavirus; nearly 90 per cent gave coronavirus-related health risks for their decision.

Over 80 per cent still want to travel this year – Spain is ahead
Over 80 per cent of Germans intending to travel abroad in times of corona said they wanted to holiday before the end of the year. Spain was their preferred destination (with the Canaries at the top of the list), followed by Italy, France and Austria. Compared with pre-coronavirus levels the interest among Germans in visiting Switzerland, Greece and Denmark is also above average.  By contrast, interest in destinations outside Europe is still below average. In September IPK International intends to conduct a second survey to re-assess destinations’ prospects and to find out if there are any changes.

Car journeys and holidays close to nature are regarded as very safe
When asked about the perceived risk of coronavirus infection through tourism products and services, German outbound travellers ranked car journeys as safest (only four per cent saw a higher risk of infection here). Holidays close to nature, apartments and camping were considered to be equally safe and the majority also regard sun and beach holidays as rather safe.  By contrast, most interviewees saw air travel, cruises and large events in particular as presenting a high risk.

Improving perceived safety has top priority
Despite their keen interest in travel abroad even in these times of the coronavirus, a majority of Germans (85 per cent) are anxious, as are people in other countries, and see travel as posing an additional risk of infection (80 per cent). Thus any measures capable of improving perceived safety are very important for winning over those interested in travel as customers. Germans attach particular importance to keep minimum distance, in restaurants and on transport such as trains and flights. 90 per cent of German outbound travellers saw these measures as important. Wearing face masks and generally observing hygiene rules was also considered essential.

Destination rankings in terms of infection risk
How do German outbound travellers rate individual destinations in terms of the risk of coronavirus infection? Germans rated their home country as the safest destination by far, followed by the country’s neighbours Switzerland, Denmark, the Netherlands and Austria. South Korea, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates led the ranking among long-haul destinations.

Is a recovery to be expected? Will the general mood change?
These are the issues which IPK International will investigate in a second survey in September. As part of its representative survey of the population in 18 markets the institute will again pose a range of questions on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on international travel behaviour and deduce its findings and trends accordingly.

About ITB Berlin and IPK International
In addition to ITB and IPK’s long-standing successful collaboration on publishing international travel trends and forecasts based on the World Travel Monitor®, ITB is now also presenting the findings of a special Covid-19 survey by IPK.

About ITB Berlin and the ITB Berlin Convention
ITB Berlin 2021 will be taking place from Wednesday, 10 to Sunday, 14 March, and from Wednesday to Friday will be open to trade visitors only. ITB Berlin is the World’s Leading Travel Trade Show. In 2019 a total of 10,000 companies and organisations from 181 countries exhibited their products and services to around 160,000 visitors, including 113.500 trade visitors. Parallel with the show the ITB Berlin Convention, the largest event of its kind, will be held from Wednesday, 10 to Saturday, 13 March 2021. Admission to the ITB Berlin Convention is free for trade visitors and exhibitors.

Sustainable First Joins Forces with the United Nations on its 75th Anniversary

Sustainable First Joins Forces with the United Nations on its 75th Anniversary

New York City, New York, United States, July 28, 2020 / TRAVELINDEX / The United Nations announced today that it is teaming up with Sustainable First, the platform dedicated to championing sustainable tourism initiatives while advocating for the SDGs, as part of its strategy to amplify the reach of its 75th Anniversary initiative, UN75. Launched in January 2020, UN75 is the largest exercise mounted by the Organization to gather public opinion and crowdsource solutions to global challenges.

As part of this collaboration Sustainable First will activate a campaign on its website, as well as on Travelindex partner sites and social media channels, inviting users to participate and share the One Minute Survey spearheaded by UN75, a global consultation that invites people to have their say on the future of the UN.

Sustainable First will also host a UN75 dialogue (along social media discussions) to gather as much input as possible, giving people an opportunity to share their hopes and fears, and source solutions for global cooperation. The outcome of these events will be included in the results presented to world leaders in September 2020, at the official commemoration of the 75th Anniversary.

It is essential that we listen to people across the world at this challenging time. The United Nations wants as many people as possible to take part in this global conversation. We are most grateful for the support of Sustainable First, enabling us to reach further, and to include the voices of its extensive networks.” said Fabrizio Hochschild, Under Secretary-General of the United Nations and Special Advisor to the Secretary-General for UN75.

We are proud to support the United Nations and congratulate it on its 75th Anniversary. These are times of dramatic changes where collective action is needed more than ever before. It is everyone’s responsibility to take part and have their say and we hope to help encourage people to put their heads together to define how we can help realize a better world by 2045, the UN’s 100th birthday.” said Mafalda Borea, CEO of Sustainable First.

About UN75
Launched by the UN Secretary-General, the UN’s 75th anniversary initiative aims to listen to people across the world, especially youth. Over 12 months, the UN75 team will gather public perspectives on global challenges and ideas on how to tackle them through a one-minute survey, online dialogues, formal opinion polling and media analysis. The results will be presented in September 2020, at the official commemoration of the UN’s 75th anniversary, after which UN75 will focus on how best to take them forward, with a final report to be published in January 2021.

For more information about UN75
Follow UN75 on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

Join the #UN75 global conversation and have YOUR say here:

About Sustainable First
Sustainable First inspires actions and strategies for moving towards a more sustainable pattern of development in Tourism providing prosperity and opportunities for all. The program’s vision is to make the tourism industry the leading activity sector in implementing sustainable strategies while linking them to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Sustainable First is not a certification program but aims to recognize individuals, companies and organizations making significant efforts and contributing to the environmental, social and economic welfare of the planet.

Follow Sustainable First on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn
For more information about Sustainable First 

For additional information contact us at

UNWTO from Ibiza: COVID-19 Responses Must Not Undermine Solidarity and Confidence

UNWTO from Ibiza: COVID-19 Responses Must Not Undermine Solidarity and Confidence

Ibiza, Spain, July 28, 2020 / TRAVELINDEX / Governments have a duty to put the wellbeing of their citizens first. At the same time, they also have a responsibility to protect livelihoods and businesses.

This goes hand-in-hand with a responsibility to preserve the spirit of international solidarity that has characterized our response to this shared crisis, a response that has included international institutions, the civil society at large and individual citizens.

Again and again, the pandemic puts us to the test and proves that we are stronger if we act together and not in isolation.

Again and again, the pandemic puts us to the test and proves that we are stronger if we act together and not in isolation.

Unilateral actions can cause confusion and produce unnecessary consequences. More importantly, they can undermine public trust and confidence – precious commodities we have worked so hard to build up over these difficult few months.

To be clear, finding the right balance between public health concerns and supporting a sector upon which millions of people depend will not be easy. This is uncharted territory for us all. However, it can be done, as many places are now demonstrating.

On an official visit to the Canary Islands, UNWTO witnessed first-hand how the restart of tourism can be managed responsibly. During this week’s visit to the Balearic Islands we are also seeing how the enforcement of strict health and hygiene protocols are the right partners for the reopening of tourist destinations.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, UNWTO has been calling for governments to work together and with the private sector to get tourism moving again. Now as the summer season is opening in many European countries, where tourism accounts for 27 million jobs and supports many businesses both big and small, we reiterate our call.

Destinations, the tourism sector and its millions of employees have been preparing over the past months to welcome visitors. Public authorities have also made significant advances in prevention, detection and tracing. The challenges we were confronted with early this year persist, but we have learned important lessons and now more prepared. This is especially true for tourism, probably one of the safest environments right now due to its strong focus on people and their wellbeing.

It is not too late to ensure that the economic and social benefits tourism has a long history of delivering return before the end of the high season. For this, however, we need even greater cooperation and for both individual and joint actions to be considered and proportionate.

WTTC Responds to UK Government’s Decision to Revert Spain to At-Risk Status

WTTC Responds to UK Government’s Decision to Revert Spain to At-Risk Status

London, United Kingdom, July 27, 2020 / TRAVELINDEX / Gloria Guevara, WTTC President & CEO said: “Requiring UK travellers returning from Spain to once again quarantine for 14 days will be hugely disappointing for thousands of UK holidaymakers – and is disastrous for the hard-pressed Travel & Tourism industry, both in Spain and the UK.

“While the health and safety of travellers – as well as those who work within the Travel & Tourism industry – is paramount, this move will be a bitter blow for those holidaymakers already in Spain who will now be forced into isolation when they return home.

“WTTC believes quarantines do nothing to help restore consumer confidence at a time when we need to encourage people to return to travelling, in line with our Safe Travels protocols, to give a hope of saving some of the 2020 summer season.

“We urge governments to consider local lockdowns instead of closing entire country’s borders. Painting an entire country with the same brush does not benefit anyone. While we understand the concern about destinations like Spain with new COVID-19 cases, the majority of the country and its islands, which are incredibly popular holiday destinations, have less cases than the UK.

“We encourage the government to consider solutions which reduce the impact on holidaymakers and those whose livelihoods depend upon Travel & Tourism.”