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New guidelines on mental well-being for the pandemic-hit travel industry

Staff will be provided access to professional mental health support. Additionally, certain policies will be in place to allow them to take time off for mental or physical health

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi |
January 15, 2021 1:20:56 pm
travel, travelling, mental health, mental well-being, pandemic, travel industry, global travel industry, indian express news"The time could not be more appropriate to invest in the mental well-being of this sector," Gloria Guevara, president and chief executive of WTTC has said. (Photo: Pixabay)

That the travel sector around the world was hit the hardest in the pandemic year, is known. But even as we plan ahead in life, leaving the troubles of 2020 behind, the future of travel still remains uncertain. There is still a general fear in people of contracting the infection and spreading it. This fear has been keeping them from flying out or planning a trip anywhere in the world. In fact, the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) had recently suggested that this setback in travel has sent the global travel industry back 30 years.

And now, realising that the industry was impacted the most because of the pandemic, the World Travel and Tourism Council has released a set of guidelines focusing on mental health and recovery of the tourism industry.

“While it is essential for mental health to be thoughtfully integrated within organisational policies, it is important to note the importance of travel in enhancing an individual’s mental well-being,” the new guidelines state.

In a tweet, the WTTC writes: “Travel & Tourism businesses and destinations may still need to adapt and reinvent themselves for this next normal, ultimately transforming the sector as we know it; adjusting but ultimately coming out stronger through the process.”

According to a report in The National, the council has built the new guidelines on its diversity and inclusion guidelines, released 2020. It will focus on how companies can boost employees’ mental well-being.

According to the report, Gloria Guevara, president and chief executive of WTTC has said: “The [travel] sector employs people from all socioeconomic backgrounds regardless of age, gender or ethnicity, almost 50 per cent of whom are women and up to 30 per cent youths. After nearly a full year of insecurity and hardship that has come from the Covid-19 pandemic, the time could not be more appropriate to invest in the mental well-being of this sector.”

The WTTC website mentions the guidelines are divided into four pillars:

* Developing a supportive system
* Creating safe spaces
* Supporting an agile system
* Exemplifying support for good mental health

It further states staff will be provided access to professional mental health support. Additionally, certain policies will be developed to allow them to take time off for mental or physical health, while also seeking to build a “more resilient workforce”. It also aims to foster an environment that “respects the value of wellbeing, at all levels of the organisation, and does not ostracise those with mental health conditions whether common or less common”.

“Furthermore, throughout its very nature, the travel and tourism sector is one that brings joy to people of all walks of life, therefore, it makes perfect sense for the sector to reflect these values within the workplace as well. We look forward to seeing these guidelines make real change within the workforce,” Guevara was quoted as saying.

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