- Özgür Töre
UNWTO has served as tourism’s global voice as the Tourism Ministers of the G20 nations met to devise a way forward for an inclusive, resilient, and sustainable recovery for the sector.
Upon assuming Presidency of the G20, Italy has drawn on UNWTO data to highlight the impact the pandemic has had on tourist numbers globally and how this translates into lost jobs and revenues, as well as lost opportunities for social development.
Addressing the meeting, UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili, stressed the continued need for coordination at the very highest level, in order to advance “common, harmonized criteria for the easing of travel restrictions, and for increased investment in systems that support safe travel, including testing on departure and on arrival.”
With the crisis far from over, the Secretary-General welcomed the G20 Rome Guidelines for the Future of Tourism and called for “schemes aimed at supporting the survival of tourism jobs and businesses to be sustained and, wherever possible, expanded, especially as millions of livelihoods continue to be at risk”.
Italy’s Minister of Tourism, Massimo Garavaglia, outlined the G20’s priorities, including safe mobility, supporting tourism jobs and businesses, building resilience against future shocks, and advancing the green transformation of the sector. Furthermore, the Tourism Ministers recalled that the current crisis represents an opportunity to rethink and restart tourism, with an emphasis on guiding the sector towards greater sustainability.
In addition to ensuring the safe restart of international travel and supporting jobs and businesses, the G20 Tourism Ministers committed to taking action in driving the digital transformation of the sector, with particular reference to ensuring everyone has fair access to the opportunities that will come from greater innovation, and in promoting more investment in green tourism infrastructure.
The new UNWTO Recommendations for the Transition to a Green Travel and Tourism Economy, developed in partnership with the G20 Tourism Working Group, were identified as a key resource for advancing progress in the policy area of “Green Transformation” of the world’s leading economies. The Recommendations present the main lines of action and showcase frontrunning initiatives of tourism businesses and destinations leading the way in achieving greater sustainability while also outlining steps that can help tourism recover from the worst crisis in its history safely and responsibly.
UNWTO will continue to work with the Italian G20 Presidency as well as the previous and forthcoming presidencies, Saudi Arabia, and Indonesia, in advancing the contribution of tourism to the G20 objectives.