Edito by Isabel Novoa, President of ISTO
29 Jan 2021

Edito by Isabel Novoa, President of ISTO.

How to reconnect destinations and tourists will be one of the themes of the next ISTO World Congress.

The year 2020 has taught us to reinvent ourselves, to question our assumptions and to look for new ways to find ourselves, to continue relating to each other, to continue working, for our children to continue learning at school and, in short, to keep our activities as close as possible to everyday life.

This pandemic has hit our sector especially hard because it affects its very essence: the relationship between the tourist and the destination, as well as everything else that makes it up. We face 2021 with a hopeful but not yet ideal scenario; vaccination is in process but travel is not yet back to normal. This year starts with an exhausted tourism industry that has depleted its survival extensions: either we resume the activity, or it will be the definitive ruin for all those who have barely managed to hold on until now and who see in the vaccine the hope that allows them to risk a little more, to get into debt to stay open for a few more months. Many governments have provided significant aid to the sector, but the industry is still on the edge. World air traffic is down 80% and will have to increase fares to compensate for the accumulated loss.

In this extreme scenario, what is the role of fair and sustainable tourism for all? And the role of ISTO and its members?

We believe that domestic tourism will be the key to revitalizing the sector, and therefore social tourism policies must be reinforced.

The values that are part of ISTO's DNA become the key to the answer: quality of life, inclusion, solidarity, fair trade and environment. The fact is that people are once again at the center of everything; their care and recovery is a priority and that tourism should be carried out in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner is undoubtedly the future that we must visualize for everyone. The widespread impoverishment in the world due to this pandemic endangers access to tourism for all, inclusion, solidarity and quality of life, increases informal trade and threatens the return to unsustainable practices. We believe that the vision of tourism that we propose is a formula to be reinforced in government policies and to be transferred to the rest of the actors in the tourism sector.

At the next ISTO World Congress, which will be held virtually from April 21 to 23 - organized by our host country, Peru through its Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism (Mincetur) - we will discuss these issues in which the learning and exchange of opinions will help us to visualize a 2021 that moves towards prosperity. I look forward to seeing you at our congress: Fair and Sustainable Touris for All: How to reinvent and transform world tourism?