Global tourism now at around 70% of pre-pandemic levels

 Wednesday, November 9, 2022 

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UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili told tourism sector leaders that their job is to create jobs as education, sustainability, and governance took centre stage at the Ministers’ Summit at the World Travel Market.

The platform for public and private sector leaders addresses tourism’s most pressing issues and sets the agenda for the years ahead.

Held around the theme of “Rethinking Tourism”, the 16th Summit gathered Ministers and high-level delegates from 19 countries, alongside business leaders.

Reflecting the heightened relevance of tourism for cross-cutting economic and social wellbeing, this year’s edition was the most successful to date.

Opening the event, Secretary-General Pololikashvili emphasised the unique opportunity to transform the sector.

Window of opportunity

However, with UNWTO data showing that global tourism now at around 70% of pre-pandemic levels, the window of opportunity will not stay open forever.

They need to rethink tourism: as a provider of jobs, an economic pillar, and, against the backdrop of COP27, as a solution to the climate emergency.

Presenting an overview of UNWTO’s work leading the transformation of tourism, Secretary-General Pololikashvili focused on investing in sustainable infrastructure and in people, most notably through quality education and providing decent jobs.

Echoing UNWTO’s position, Juliette Losardo, Exhibition Director at World Travel Markets, noted that a post-pandemic world has revealed exciting opportunities, and given us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reconsider tourism and ask ourselves how we can rebuild and better prepare for the future.

Julia Simpson, President and CEO of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), which co-organises the Summit with UNWTO, emphasized the talent, speed and capital of the private sector.

While the Summit promoted diversity of thought, background and experiences, a focus on tourism’s unique power as a driver of sustainability and as a promoter of peace and understanding proved a common theme.

High-level participants emphasized that now is the time for the tourism sector to focus more on cooperation rather than competition.

Ministers also acknowledged UNWTO Secretary-General Pololikashvili’s call for tourism to be mainstreamed within the political agenda and for greater collaboration between ministries of tourism and those of economy, business and environment.

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