Tourism is one of the sectors most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic throughout the world, impacting economies, international travel, creative industries, and the protection of nature. Recovering tourism must consider building back better and be a driving force to achieve sustainable development.
In the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, SDG target 8.9 stablished to “by 2030, devise and implement policies to promote sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products”, and SDG target 12.b. called to “develop and implement tools to monitor sustainable development impacts for sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products”.
The World Tourism Organization defines sustainable tourism as “tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities". Culture and creative economy are key part of the potential of tourism. Sensitive natural areas, sites, monuments, and intangible heritage should be properly safeguarded. UNESCO World Heritage sites and Biosphere Reserves should be managed responsibly and sustainably.
Representatives from the Government of Ecuador and other stakeholders will share their good practices and lessons learned from policies implemented by its Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Environment, and other entities, in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce of Quito and other private sector actors, including the good example of sustainable tourism at the Galapagos National Park. UNESCO and WTO will also share their assessments of the tourism sector and efforts needed from the international community to enhance the potential contribution of this sector to sustainable development.
Sustainable tourism calls for partnerships and commitment from Governments, the UN system, and all relevant stakeholders. The side event will provide a platform to share views and experiences on how safety, resilience and incentives can be addressed to recovering tourism for sustainable development, including through harnessing national cultural and natural assets.