The important role of MSMEs and people in the transformation of tourism
Small businesses and local communities must be given the support they need to become true 'change agents'
As the global community grapples with a host of challenges, including geopolitical tensions, rising energy prices and a climate emergency, UNWTO has placed tourism firmly on the G20 agenda. Under the Indonesian presidency of the G20, UNWTO Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili urged leaders to seize the opportunity to rethink and transform tourism to harness its huge potential for sustainability and opportunity.
Accelerate and scale transformation
Secretary General Pololikashvili said: “We are behind in progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. In fact, progress has been reversed in areas such as gender equality. Tourism can help us get back to normal. But we have to speed up. And we have to scale. There is no time to lose".
Throughout 2022, UNWTO has worked with the G20 Tourism Working Group under the leadership of the Indonesian Presidency and the Minister of Tourism and Creative Industries, Sandiaga Uno, on the Guidelines for Converting MSMEs and Communities into transformation agents. Published in September, on the occasion of the G20 Tourism Ministers Meeting, the Guidelines are based on five pillars: 1. Human capital; 2. Innovation, digitization and creative economy; 3. Empowerment of women and youth; 4. Climate action, biodiversity conservation and circularity; and 5. Politics, governance and investment.
Together, the Guidelines put people at the center of the recovery and future development of tourism. According to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, the number of international tourists worldwide is on track to reach around 70% of pre-pandemic levels by the end of the year. UNWTO recognizes the responsibility of the sector to ensure that this recovery translates into more decent jobs, greater investment in infrastructure, skills and talent for digital and green transformations and the empowerment of women.
In a post-pandemic world, renewed governance, multilateralism and international cooperation are the only way to address a world in a poly-interconnected crisis, stressed the UNWTO Secretary-General. With the G20 economies accounting for 80% of world GDP, 60% of the world's population and 76% of GDP from worldwide tourism, they are in a position to lead by example, he added.