Quito, Dec 1 (efe-epa).- Nine Latin American cities that have been particularly hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday launched a joint campaign to reactivate their tourism industries and boost economic development.
Those metropolises are “coming together to attract tourism as a strategy for economic recovery,” they said in a joint statement released by municipal company Quito Turismo following a remote meeting Monday attended by representatives from the nine cities.
Bogota, Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Lima, Medellin, Quito, Rio de Janeiro, Santiago and Sao Paulo have joined the “Latin American Urban Destinations Network (RDUL),” which was created to “jointly promote tourism reactivation and encourage the arrival of international visitors.”
“We’re proud and honored to work as team. The difficult context and the generalized crisis in the sector generated an almost unprecedented energy and capacity for resilience in all of us, with everyone pulling in the same direction,” Joaquin Cesar, executive director of Visit Buenos Aires, said.
The nine cities taking part in the campaign, launched within the framework of bilateral accords and knowledge exchanges and with the slogan “Vive ciudad latina,” will be combining marketing strategies and presenting themselves to foreign visitors “as a single destination: Latin America.”
“This network creates synergies that will enable a responsible recovery through what we’ve called, ‘Vive ciudad latina,'” Quito Turismo manager Carla Cardenas said.
The network unites “nine magical and fascinating Latin American cities that are meeting the challenge of the new normal and the demands of the new traveler responsibly and with biosafety protocols,” she added.
The campaign launch coincides with expectations that the first Covid-19 vaccines will hit the market in 2021 and help halt the worldwide wave of coronavirus infections.
But the nine municipalities noted that the borders of the seven countries involved are already open and that they are prepared to receive foreign tourists under conditions of “full compliance with all biosafety protocols.”
The director of Bogota’s District Institute of Tourism, Karol Fajardo, said for her part at the meeting that this initiative has enabled the cities to “be on the same page, establish links, flesh out their ideas and propose paths for everyone’s benefit.”
“We can’t talk to ourselves, be indifferent to the situation. We can’t be separate from the world. The entire planet has gone through an unprecedented crisis,” she said.
Tourism has been one of the sectors most affected by Covid-19 in Latin America (a region that has had around 13 million confirmed coronavirus cases to date) since border closures greatly restricted travel throughout the region.
Airlines, hotels, restaurants and other associated services were dramatically affected, a situation that the RDUL now seeks to remedy.
“RDUL’s creation responds to the need to work together for tourism growth, answering the call of the secretary general of the (World Tourism Organization, a United Nations agency), Zurab Pololikashvili, the joint statement said. The UNWTO chief pointed to the need for “coordination of political decision-making beyond territorial boundaries in response to a challenge that knows no borders.”
The World Tourism Organization has estimated that prior to the pandemic one of every 10 jobs worldwide was linked to tourism and that the industry accounted for 10.4 percent of global gross domestic product, the press release said.
“One of the great challenges of this network is to accelerate tourism’s recovery to restore those levels,” the RDUL said.
In that regard, the cities’ joint promotional efforts are aimed at helping reactivate these countries’ economies by underscoring the attributes that unite them as Latin American destinations.
The campaign launch is “undoubtedly a day in which we’re growing as a region,” according to Cardenas, who said that “by working together – with empathy and solidarity – we’ll multiply the positive results for each of our destinations.”
“Let’s celebrate this alliance and reaffirm our commitment to work together for the sake of Latin America’s tourism and economic recovery,” she said. EFE-EPA