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Global sector leaders urged to transform tourism sector

By Guardian Nigeria
12 November 2022   |   1:59 am
Tourism sector leaders all over the world have been urged to focus on proffering solutions to pressing issues in the industry. This call was made at the 16th Ministers’ Summit held at the World Travel Market in London, with the theme ‘Rethinking Tourism’.

Pololikashvili. PHOTO: youtube

Tourism sector leaders all over the world have been urged to focus on proffering solutions to pressing issues in the industry. This call was made at the 16th Ministers’ Summit held at the World Travel Market in London, with the theme ‘Rethinking Tourism’.

The consolidated platform for public and private sector leaders gathered Ministers and high-level delegates from 19 countries, alongside business leaders. Reflecting the heightened relevance of tourism for crosscutting economic and social wellbeing.

Whilst addressing pressing issues and setting agenda for the years ahead, United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili emphasised the unique opportunity to transform the sector now that global tourism is around 70 percent of pre-pandemic levels.

He said: “The window of opportunity will not stay open forever. We need to rethink tourism as a provider of jobs, an economic pillar, and, against the backdrop of COP27, as a solution to the climate emergency. Education and job creation is key to tourism’s future.”

Presenting an overview of UNWTO’s work leading the transformation of tourism, Pololikashvili focused on investing in sustainable infrastructure and in people, most notably through quality education and providing decent jobs.

For Exhibition Director at World Travel Markets Juliette Losardo, he said, “A post-pandemic world has revealed exciting opportunities, and given us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reconsider tourism and ask ourselves how we can rebuild and better prepare for the future.”

While president and CEO of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), Julia Simpson who is also a co-organiser of the summit with UNWTO, emphasised the talent, speed and capital of the private sector.

The event, which also featured a roundtable session brought together Ministers of Tourism from every global region and addressed common challenges in the sector. Each provided unique insights from their own countries.

Minister of Tourism for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Ahmed Al-Khateeb, stressed on putting sustainability above everything. He noted that his country focuses on innovation and youth.

Other ministers highlighted the importance of diversifying national tourism sectors, including through domestic and rural tourism, and creating new products.

On the theme of Rethinking Tourism, the Minister of Tourism for Croatia Nikolina Brnjac, noted that this would require an ‘evolution’ towards measuring success by greater sustainability.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism for Mauritius Steven Obeegadoo, emphasised its ability to promote peace.

Representing tourism’s vast and broad private sector, Expedia and the Radisson Hotel Group outlined their proactive work achieving greater sustainability, as well as highlighting the sector’s ability to provide decent jobs and lifelong career progression for people everywhere.

While the summit promoted diversity of thought, background and experiences, a focus on tourism’s unique power as a driver of sustainability and as a promoter of peace and understanding proved a common theme. High-level participants emphasised that now is the time for the tourism sector to focus more on cooperation rather than competition. Ministers also acknowledged Pololikashvili’s call for tourism to be mainstreamed within the political agenda and for greater collaboration between ministries of tourism and those of economy, business and environment.

The World Travel Market will also host the launch of the new Travel Trends Report 2023, produced by UNWTO in partnership with leading broadcaster Euronews.

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