The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has launched a Technical Assistance Program for Tourism Recovery that provides guidance to the Member States regarding the response to COVID-19. The program is structured around 3 main pillars: economic recovery, marketing, and institutional promotion and strengthening, and building resilience.
The World Tourism Organization has identified 3 possible scenarios for tourism, one of the hardest-hit economic and social sectors. According to the evolution of travel restrictions in the coming months, the arrival of international tourists could fall between 60% and 80% in 2020.
This could translate into a loss of tourism export revenue of between US$ 910 billion and US$ 1.2 trillion, putting between 100 and 120 million jobs at risk. On a social level, the repercussions could be equally challenging for many societies around the world.
In this context, the UNWTO has prepared the COVID-19 Technical Assistance Program for the Recovery of Tourism, which aims to help governments, the private sector, and donor agencies to face this unprecedented socio-economic emergency.
UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili says: “We must support the tourism sector now with real measures while preparing ourselves so that when it recovers it is stronger and more sustainable. Tourism recovery plans and programs will translate into jobs and economic growth, not only in the tourism sector itself, but in society as a whole. This support program will help governments and businesses implement recommendations for recovery”.
Call to action: economic, promotional, and institutional measures
Along with the set of recommendations that UNWTO has already disseminated as a call to action to mitigate the socio-economic impact of COVID-19, and which are supported by the UNWTO World Committee on Crisis for Tourism, the program has identified 3 potential areas of intervention to accelerate the recovery of tourism: economic, promotional, and institutional.
The COVID-19 Technical Assistance Program for Tourism Recovery advocates the introduction of policies and measures to stimulate the economic recovery of the tourism sector. At the same time, needs assessments and specific national plans for tourism recovery should be carried out, among other measures.
In terms of marketing and promotion, UNWTO is ready to provide technical assistance to identify markets that can help accelerate recovery, addressing product diversification, and reformulating marketing strategies and promotional activities.
The 3rd pillar, institutional strengthening and resilience building, aims in particular at improving public-private partnerships and promoting collaborative efforts for tourism recovery, as well as improving crisis management and recovery capacities.
Tourism for sustainable development
The technical support offered by UNWTO is designed to help Members work with their sights set on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Several of these goals are directly related to tourism, especially SDGs 8, 12, and 17 on “decent work and economic growth”, “sustainable consumption and production”, and “alliances for the Goals”.
UNWTO is also working as part of a broader United Nations response to COVID-19, emphasizing the role that tourism can play in protecting developing countries and the most vulnerable members of society from to the worst impacts of the current crisis.