Sustainability must no longer be a niche part of tourism but must be the new norm for every part of tourism sector, says Zurab Pololikashvili, secretary-general of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
"This is one of the central elements of our Global Guidelines to Restart Tourism. It is in our hands to transform tourism and that emerging from COVID-19 becomes a turning point for sustainability," he said this marking World Environment Day on June 5.
The One Planet Vision for the Responsible Recovery of the Tourism Sector builds on the UNWTO Global Guidelines to Restart Tourism, with the aim to emerge stronger and more sustainable from the COVID-19 crisis, says a UNWTO news release.
The combined effort has come at a time when several destinations around the world have begun to ease restrictions on travel and mobility and the tourism sector is getting ready to resume its activity with the lessons learned from the pandemic.
Better, more sustainable and resilient growth
The One Planet Vision calls for responsible recovery for the tourism sector, which is founded on sustainability, to build back better.
This will underpin tourism's resilience to be better prepared for future crises. The Vision will support the development and implementation of recovery plans, which contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to the Paris Agreement.
At a time when governments and the private sector are embarking on the path to recovery, the time is right to keep advancing towards a more economically, social and environmentally sustainable tourism model.
Private sector committed to lead by example
Delphine King, executive director of The Long Run, an international community of nature-based tourism businesses, said, "Our members collectively conserve over 20 million acres of fragile ecosystems, and none of this work has stopped despite the pandemic and tourism's pause, demonstrating where priorities lie."
James Thornton, CEO, Intrepid Travel, a leading provider of adventure travel experiences, calls for committed actions and underscores that, "We believe climate action is a collective commitment to the sustainability of the entire travel industry, and the world we so love to explore".
The One Planet Vision for the Responsible Recovery of the Tourism Sector is structured around six lines of action to guide responsible tourism recovery for people, planet and prosperity, namely public health, social inclusion, biodiversity conservation, climate action, circular economy and governance and finance.