Press releases

Five WTO priorities for rethinking tourism

The WTO and another 11 United Nations agencies propose five priorities for tourism to restart, aimed at guaranteeing a more resilient, inclusive and carbon-neutral sector.

The priorities are to mitigate socio-economic impacts on livelihoods, particularly women's employment and economic security; boost competitiveness and build resilience, including through economic diversification with promotion of smes; advance innovation and digital transformation of tourism; foster sustainability and green growth, and dedicate more attention to coordination and responsible leadership.

03 Sep 2020

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.