Government AffairsPut power back in the hands of "grassroot actors" to speed up and scale up tourism growth, UNWTO urges G20 Summit leaders.

Make big summits count for small tourism businesses

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The G20 Summit recently took place in Bali, Indonesia. Credit: G20 Indonesia 2022
The G20 Summit recently took place in Bali, Indonesia. Credit: G20 Indonesia 2022
Fast facts: UNWTO believes G20 economies have the potential to affect change

  • G20 economies represent 80% of global GDP, 60% of the world population and 76% of the tourism GDP worldwide.

  • In 2022, UNWTO worked with the G20 Tourism Working Group on guidelines to make these businesses and communities “agents of transformation.”

  • The Guidelines, released in September, comprise five pillars: 1. Human capital; 2. Innovation, digitalisation and the creative economy; 3. Women and youth empowerment; 4. Climate action, biodiversity conservation, and circularity; and 5. Policy, governance and investment.

  • According to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, international tourist numbers worldwide are on track to reach around 70% of pre-pandemic levels by the end of the year.

United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) officials believe that tourism has the power to be a force for good, and are urging the leaders of the recent G20 Summit to see the potential of small tourism businesses and local communities as “agents of change.”

Put the power back into the hands of these “grassroot actors,” they say, and watch as they make progress toward growing responsible tourism, fostering inclusion and speeding up economic recovery.

"Tourism can help us get back on track. But we need to speed up. And we need to scale up. There is no time to lose."

For any worldwide sustainability goals to be met, tourism needs to be a part of the conversation. And for any real change to be made, UNWTO argues, the travel industry’s small enterprises need international support, especially as non-pandemic road bumps — including geopolitical issues, rising fuel prices and climate change — have the potential to impede progress.

This support comes in many forms, namely increased job opportunities; more investment in infrastructure, skills and talent; and female empowerment. Many local DMCs and tour operators are already keeping sustainability and responsible travel top of mind; travel advisors can do their part by directing their clients toward such suppliers.

“We are behind in progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili. “In fact, progress has actually been reversed in areas like gender equality. Tourism can help us get back on track. But we need to speed up. And we need to scale up. There is no time to lose.”

Source: TravelAge West

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