The new initiative follows the set of recommendations already released by UNWTO to call for action to mitigate the socio-economic impact of COVID and endorsed by the UNWTO Global Tourism Crisis Committee, and is designed to support governments, the private sector and donor agencies face “this unprecedented socio-economic emergency”.
The package is structured around three main pillars to accelerate the recovery of tourism: economic recovery, marketing and promotion and institutional strengthening and resilience building.
“The COVID-19 Tourism Recovery Technical Assistance Package makes the case for policies and measures to be introduced to stimulate the economic recovery of the tourism sector. These should be introduced alongside the development of impact needs assessments and country-specific plans for tourism recovery, among other measures,” the organization said.
In terms of marketing and promotion, UNWTO stands ready to provide technical assistance to identify markets that can help accelerate recovery, addressing product diversification, and (re)formulating marketing strategies and promotional activities.
The third pillar, institutional strengthening and resilience building, is particularly aimed at enhancing public-private partnership and promoting collaborative efforts for tourism recovery, and, enhancing skills in crisis management and recovery.
With tourism among the hardest-hit of all sectors, the UNWTO recently identified three possible scenarios for the months ahead.
According to the organization, depending on when restrictions on travel are lifted, international tourist arrivals could decline by 60-80 percent in 2020.
“This could translate into a decline in export revenues from tourism of between US$910 billion to US$1.2 trillion and place 100-120 million jobs directly at risk. The social ripple effect is also feared to be at least equally challenging for many societies the world over,” the UNWTO said.
Tourism for Sustainable Development
According to the UNWTO, its technical support is designed to help members work towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Several of these Goals directly relate to tourism, most notably the SDGs 8, 12 and 17, on ‘Decent Work and Economic Growth’, ‘Responsible Consumption and Production’, and ‘Partnerships for the Goals’.
The UNWTO said that it is also working as part of the wider UN response to COVID-19, emphasizing the role tourism can play in shielding developing countries and the most vulnerable members of society from the worst impacts of the current crisis.