The pandemic that has brought the world to a standstill offers a unique opportunity to rethink tourism. Above all, it is a chance to ask not just how the sector can grow back, but how it can grow back better.
It is clear now that sustainability must no longer be just one part of tourism. Sustainability, responsibility and inclusivity must underscore every part of tourism. Fair and sustainable for all will ensure that the social and economic benefits that tourism can bring, especially to rural communities and those in the developing world, are shared as widely as possible while the sector’s environmental footprint is managed and kept to an absolute minimum.
Innovation will play a key role in achieving this. As such, this has been at the centre of UNWTO’s work in helping governments and the private sector mitigate the impact of this crisis and prepare for recovery. The Healing Solutions challenge identified some of the world’s best innovators and gave them access to resources to scale up their ideas and so accelerate recovery at both the local and the global level.
The sense of international solidarity and cooperation that has defined the response to the shared challenge posed by the pandemic must also be carried forward into the future. Tourism is the ideal vehicle for this. ISTO, our valuable Affiliate Member, is a key promoter of tourism for personal and collective enrichment, bringing people together to share best practice and experiences. We are delighted to see that our committed Affiliate Members are contributing responsibly and playing an active role to tackle the surging challenges caused by the COVID-19 Outbreak.
Such collaboration is more important now than ever. The E-week of Fair and Sustainable Tourism for all showcases tourism at its best: capable of adapting to change, innovative and committed to building a better future for people and planet.