restart of tourism africa

The restart of tourism has brought hope to many around the world.

SOURCE: The Office of the Secretary-General,
United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)
Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili

It’s been over three months since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) a global pandemic. As the crisis continues to threaten jobs and livelihoods in tourism and beyond, stakeholders in what could be the world’s most important sector, Travel and Tourism, continue to work together to get its engine running again.

International tourism has never been as united as it is now. Both in measuring the impact of COVID-19 and in looking at how the restart of tourism can be implemented in a responsible and safe way, based on the best that our sector has to offer: sustainability, innovation, collaboration, and solidarity.

The discussion has now graduated to changing gears to #RestartTourism

The early days of the crisis were tough for all and were not the best time to connect. It is, however, great to see conversations resuming as the crisis enters an early stabilization and rebuilding phase that is aiding the restart of tourism.

The UNWTO-led Global Tourism Crisis Committee supported international guidelines to restart tourism, and it’s great to see that this determination is now transforming into concrete actions for recovery and all the efforts are being rewarded at the highest level, from heads of state to milestone support from the leadership of the United Nations (UN).

The Secretary-General of the UN, António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres in his recent remarks identified the sector as a pillar of economic growth, recognizing UNWTO’s leadership as he told the citizens of the world that “tourism can be a platform for overcoming the pandemic”.

In the current times, as each of the UNWTO Regional Commissions meets virtually in the coming weeks, the global tourism sector will pool skills and expertise from around the globe to influence the restart of tourism. This will also help to get the Decade of Action towards the Sustainable Development Goals back on its much-desired track.

This round of meetings enjoyed the strongest possible rekindle as Tourism Ministers from across Africa with representatives of the African Union, the West African Monetary Union, and from the private sector met to plot a united course towards a stronger and better tourism sector.

The UNWTO Agenda for Africa has been readjusted to lessen the impact of COVID-19 and to fast-track the sector’s recovery and its impact on nation-wide economies.

As well as addressing the immediate challenge posed by COVID-19, discussions also focused on the key areas of UNWTO’s Agenda for Africa, a roadmap designed to guide the sector in sustainable growth up to 2030. These priorities include enhancing Africa’s tourism Infrastructure, boosting air connectivity, easing visa facilitation, ensuring the safety and security of tourists, investing in the development of human capital development, and improving the image of Africa to the rest of the world.

Click to read about the Africa Tourism meeting on the UNWTO website

Building on this, ahead of their Regional Commission meeting this week, members from across the Americas will also further their determination to advocate for tourism as a pillar of post-COVID-19 recovery.

The global discussion across sectors can also be followed on the hashtag #StrongerTogether.

Such a commitment to international cooperation will be important as we move forward and rebuild confidence and trust.

The World Committee on Tourism Ethics, a self-governing body assembled by UNWTO, has emphasized the importance of safeguarding the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, as travel restrictions around the world are relaxed.

“Restarting our sector must be done in a timely and responsible manner, avoiding at all costs coming at the expense of fair and equal treatment of tourists,” Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili said

Zurab Pololikashvili restart of tourism
Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General of the UNWTO | UNWTO

He added that as we join the world in celebrating this year’s Sustainable Gastronomy Day, chefs from every global region have given us a first taste of what to expect when we travel again, and highlighted the unique potential of cuisine (or gastronomy) tourism in preserving the unique culture while creating countless opportunities for rural communities.

At the same time, the world is celebrating innovation and entrepreneurship making it clear that this restart offers the opportunity to re-imagine not only how we travel, but how tourism can help build a better future for people and the planet.

If the restart of tourism is managed in a responsible and coordinated manner, harnessing the power of ingenuity, then it can transform millions of lives and help protect and preserve the world’s rich cultural and natural heritage.

The Secretary-General,
United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)
Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili

Written by 

My old folks call me Jonathan Benaiah but I prefer to go by as “The Ugandan Tourist“. I love to travel, write, take photos (of nature mostly). Ask me my best kind of trips and I'll tell you that it's those moments which allow me enough time in the African bush.