Tourism “touches almost all parts of our economies and societies,” enabling historically marginalized people and “those at risk of being left behind, to benefit from development,” UN Secretary-General António said on Monday. Guterres, on the occasion of World Tourism Day.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on tourism could result in a loss of more than $ 4 trillion to the global economy, according to a recent report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) .
Emergency for developing countries
Highlighting the fact that in the first months of this year, “international tourist arrivals have declined by 95% in some parts of the world,” Guterres said. tourism continues to suffer greatly due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is a major shock for the developed economies, but for the developing countries it is an emergency,” he added.
“Climate change is also seriously affecting many major tourist destinations, especially small island developing states,” his message added. There, tourism accounts for almost 30 percent of all economic activity.
Tourism for inclusive growth
Recognizing that many millions of livelihoods are at risk, Mr Guterres said now is “”it’s time to safely rethink, transform and restart tourism”.
“With the right safeguards in place, the tourism sector can provide decent jobs, helping to build resilient, sustainable, gender-equal and inclusive economies and societies that work for everyone,” he added. .
According to the United Nations specialized agency for responsible and sustainable tourism (UNWTO), tourism is a recognized pillar of mostSustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular goals 1 (poverty eradication), 5 (gender equality), 8 (decent work and economic growth) and 10 (reduce inequalities).
In his post, Mr. Guterres then called for targeted actions and investments, towards green and sustainable tourism, “With highly emitting sectors, including air and maritime transport and hotels, moving towards carbon neutrality”.
Adding that everyone should have a say in how tourism shapes the future of our societies, the UN chief concluded that “it is only through inclusive decision-making that we can ensuring inclusive and sustainable growth, delivering on the SDG promise and transforming tourism to fulfill its potential ”.
The sector could then become “an engine of prosperity, a vector of integration, a means of protect our planet and biodiversity, and an agent of cultural understanding between peoplesSaid Mr. Guterres.