Stopped by the pandemic but more united than never to understand how to get back to a new normality, world tourism is facing the responsibility to restart the industry, based on sustainability, innovation, collaboration, and solidarity. In the case of the American continent, tourism ministers from more than twenty countries have virtually met at the 65th meeting of the Regional Commission of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) for the Americas to recover from the effects of COVID-19 but also to boost future growth in the region.
The tourism of our time
Over the last decades, tourism has grown to become an important player at the economic, social, and environmental sectors of each nation, mainly for the countries that have done best by offering travelers a more efficient and complete experience.
The Americas are the third most visited region in the world, just behind Asia & Pacific, but both, distanced from the most visited region: Europe; according to a 2019 published statistics at Our World In Data merged data presented by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in the Tourism Barometer.
“Sustainability and innovation will be the central axis of tourism recovery” – Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili, UNWTO Secretary-General
Strong efforts for the sake of this purposes are being developed by different alliances announced at the meeting:
- The “Innovation Challenge, Beyond Tourism” is a collaboration between UNWTO and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to promote digital transformation and positive change, and aims to identify the best innovative ideas to cope with the disruptions suffered by the tourism sector, with a particular focus on sustainability and the creation of universal opportunities.
- The “Green investments for sustainable tourism” is an initiative of the UNWTO and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) designed to promote greater investment in tourism and greening the sector, with a special emphasis on hospitality establishments and small and medium-sized companies.
Pololikashvili also said: “restarting the growth of the sector will provide a lifeline for many millions of people across the Americas, while helping to protect and promote the region’s many cultures and natural heritage.” The discussions also focused on plans for sustainable recovery and future resilience, with emphasis on the potential of digitization and ideas. innovative, as well as promoting investment in green business models.
One way or another, as much of the sectors, tourism needs a bigger view on sustainability to get a better world. In the Americas we have a great opportunity to achieve this thanks to the fact that we have a vast nature throughout the entire territory.