Tourism as a beacon of peace and hope

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Tourism as a beacon of peace and hope
Source: UNWTO
March 21, 2022

The UNWTO Secretary-General stressed that in the invasion of Ukraine, the sector shows once again its key role


UNWTO has been recognized for affirming the values ​​of tourism and promoting the sector as a pillar of peace and recovery. At an informal meeting of EU Tourism Ministers, the French Presidency of the European Council welcomed UNWTO's leadership and highlighted the strong unity of the sector in the face of a historic challenge.

Addressing delegates, UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili warned of the "triple threat" of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the climate emergency and war in Europe. Since the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation, UNWTO has added its voice to the strong condemnation of the United Nations system in general and other international organizations. In Dijon, representatives of the French Presidency joined ministers from across the region in praising the unequivocal stance taken by UNWTO leaders.

Tourism has an active role to play in reaffirming our shared values ​​and promoting peace.

Tourism as a beacon of peace and hope
Secretary-General Pololikashvili underlined that, in the face of such challenges, “tourism has an active role to play in reaffirming our shared values ​​and promoting peace”, adding that it is a role that the sector is committed to fulfilling. "Just as we did during the pandemic, we are seeing the best of tourism, and this support will grow in size, scope and power in the coming days," he added.

As Tourism Ministers from the 27 EU states met in person for the first time since the start of the pandemic, UNWTO also called for greater cooperation and solidarity. "Together we are stronger," Secretary-General Pololikashvili said at the conference, which was also attended by European Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton. All delegates were urged to recognize the key role that the restart of tourism will play in promoting international solidarity and bringing hope to millions of people in all regions of the world.  

Tourism restart underway
UNWTO has welcomed the continued lifting and relaxation of travel restrictions introduced in response to the pandemic. As of March 15, seven countries around the world have fully lifted their COVID-19 related restrictions, fully in line with UNWTO and World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations, and ministers were urged of the 27 EU member states not to lose focus on the challenges that still stand in the way of the recovery of the sector.

The UNWTO Secretary-General called on EU governments to give tourism the support it needs to make a difference, while praising the recovery plans of many EU member states. "Specific aid for tourism will benefit all levels of the sector, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises and individual workers," who represent up to 80% of the tourism sector, he said. He also made it clear that now is the time for tourism to step up its climate action commitments, again citing cooperation as the essential foundation for building a more sustainable and resilient sector.

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