The "COVID-19 and the Transforming Tourism” policy brief, the main author of which is the WTO and which was presented by the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, paints a clear picture of the impact the pandemic has had on worldwide tourism, affecting from jobs and economies to wildlife preservation and cultural heritage protection. In this context, Guterres explained that "it is imperative that we reconstruct the tourism sector” in a "safe, equitable and climate-friendly" manner, thus "ensuring that tourism recovers its position as a provider of decent jobs, stable income and protection of our cultural and natural heritage".
The United Nations Secretary pointed out as well that tourism is one of the world's main economic sectors, as it provides "livelihood for hundreds of millions", while at the same time it "boosts economies and makes countries prosper", allowing "people to experience the world's cultural and natural wealth and brings people closer together, highlighting our common humanity".
Growth and employment
The Secretary General of the WTO, Zurab Pololikashvili, recalled that “tourism affects almost all areas of our societies and it is a keystone for growth and employment, both in developed and in developing economies”. He added that “The United Nations Secretary General has specified the five key priority areas that the WTO has identified in order for tourism to return and boost a wider recovery, and both governments and the private sector now have a duty to implement this plan.”
The crisis as opportunity
In addition to requesting strong support in reducing this massive impact, the document points out that this crisis is an opportunity to rethink tourism, including the way in which it contributes to the SDGs. To this end, the five priorities listed in the document for restarting tourism are aimed at guaranteeing a more resilient, inclusive and carbon-neutral sector.