Latin America and the Caribbean show the way to sustainable recovery
The region with the greatest biodiversity on the planet is undergoing a transition towards a tourism model based on net zero emissions
World Tourism Day, which we celebrate this week, has highlighted the role that tourism must play in providing opportunities to rural communities and driving social and economic recovery, but there is something deeper and more essential in this new scenario than Our industry lives, we must work urgently to develop climate-friendly projects that contribute to sustainable development goals and are also accepted by local stakeholders, it is complicated but not impossible.
The health crisis caused by Covid-19 has made it much clearer that without respect for nature, sooner or later the economy is damaged, even of the great world powers.
In this regard, Latin America and the Caribbean has been the region that has shown the greatest progress in the world with examples such as Costa Rica, whose government has worked with numerous stakeholders to create a widely accepted National Decarbonization Plan and which today assures it has with a green and sustainable economy.
The Caribbean is also full of examples, where completely sustainable projects have been developed that take into account the development of their communities. These hotels have generated a variety of businesses and jobs that would not otherwise exist without tourism, including new attractions, ground transportation services, restaurants, musicians and entertainment providers, fishermen, farmers, and other hotel support services.
It is clear then that an economy with less carbon emissions that is not equitable and fair, will not lead us to the post-pandemic model that we need.
The path will not be easy or without obstacles, but it is the only option we have towards a future that is economically resilient, socially just and environmentally sustainable.
The slowdown in the arrival of visitors to destinations that suffered from “overtourism” is a golden opportunity that must be seized to rebuild a better industry with more care for the environment.
While it is true that the pandemic will create a brake on new real estate investments in the tourism market in many destinations, work must be done from now on for future investments to improve energy efficiency, provide renewable energy and reduce water use.
Opening the debate at the UN General Assembly, Secretary General Antonio Guterres highlighted: "The COVID-19 pandemic is not just a wake-up call, it is a dress rehearsal for the global challenges that are yet to come," therefore that we must humbly move forward and acknowledge that a microscopic virus has brought the world to its knees".
“In an interconnected world, the time has come to recognize a simple truth: solidarity is based on self-interest. If we do not understand that fact, everyone will lose out, "he said.
With regard to tourism, it is clear then that we will only have a different post-pandemic future, if from now on the authorities and businessmen take care of laying the foundations to solve these problems, to generate deep structural transformations.