UNWTO to strengthen & prepare the tourism sector for the future

By Shilpa Annie Joseph, Official Reporter
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The United Nations World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) Secretary-General Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili has stated that this has been another challenging year for societies, economies, and tourism.

“Many millions of jobs and businesses remain in peril, at the mercy of an evolving crisis and of the actions of governments. However, we are by no means in the same place we were when the pandemic was declared in March 2020. In fact, we have succeeded in laying the foundations to restart tourism around the pillars of sustainability, innovation, people, and investing for a resilient future,” Mr. Pololikashvili said.

Much progress has been made in the last year in terms of immunizations and diagnosing and treating COVID-19. “We have also seen significant progress made in finding the right balance between keeping people safe and keeping the vital lifeline of tourism intact, as illustrated by UNWTO’s effective collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) since the very start of the pandemic,” the Secretary-General noted.

Zurab Pololikashvili
Zurab Pololikashvili

“Tourism is ready to do the hard work and live up to its responsibilities to people and planet, as demonstrated by the huge interest we have received in the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism, launched at the UN Climate Summit COP26. We are receiving a growing number of commitments to halve emissions by 2030 and to reach NetZero by 2050 at the latest, with member countries, individual destinations, global companies, and local players as well as media outlets, on board, and counting. And for people, we are making sure the benefits tourism offers are enjoyed as widely and fairly as possible. That includes establishing the sector as a driver of rural development, as celebrated through the Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO initiative.”

Like never before, the pandemic has made clear tourism’s relevance to our economies and societies. Tourism is now part of the global conversation and at the heart of both national and international recovery action plans.

Over the past 12 months, UNWTO strengthened its key partnerships with the major organizations like G20, G7, ICAO (the International Civil Aviation Organization), FAO (the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), the World Bank, IDB (Inter-American Development Bank), CAF, (The Development Bank of Latin America) and the EBRD (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development).

Earlier this year, UNWTO opened the first regional office for the Middle East in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It will serve as a global center for tourism and rural development.

Related: Qatar Airways, Madrid Tourism Board unite to bolster tourism growth