United Nations lays out tourism recovery roadmap

UN says now is the perfect time to rebuild tourism in a more sustainable way

After months of large and independent tourism companies alike struggling to overcome the economic ramifications of COVID-19, United Nations (UN) has proposed a five-step recovery map to rescue the industry.

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) urges that the pandemic is a watershed moment for tourism entities to align efforts towards improving the tourism sector, particularly sustainable tourism.

UNCTAD’s Special Adviser for the Blue Economy, Dona Bertarelli said that the freezing effect of COVID-19 gives the industry time to rebuild in a more sustainable way. “At this critical time, we have the possibility to help communities that depend on tourism for their livelihoods to rebuild their businesses in a more resilient and sustainable way,” she said.

The five steps include:

1. Mitigate socio-economic impacts on livelihoods, particularly women’s employment and economic security.

2. Boost competitiveness and build resilience, including through economic diversification, with promotion of domestic and regional tourism where possible, and facilitation of conducive business environment for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.

3. Advance innovation and digital transformation of tourism, including promotion of innovation and investment in digital skills, particularly for workers temporarily without jobs and for job seekers.

4. Foster sustainability and green growth to shift towards a resilient, competitive, resource-efficient and carbon-neutral tourism sector. Green investments for recovery could target protected areas, renewable energy, smart buildings and the circular economy, among other opportunities.

5. Coordination and partnerships to restart and transform sector towards achieving SDGs, ensuring tourism’s restart and recovery puts people first and work together to ease and lift travel restrictions in a responsible and coordinated manner.

“Never before has tourism’s economic impact on global GDP been so sharply in focus. We cannot sleep while the third-largest global export sector is threatened with collapse,” UNCTAD’s Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi said. Kituyi called on governments of the world to deploy policies to protect those working in hotels and airlines.

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