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UNWTO Launches Digital Futures Programme for SMEs

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UNWTO Launches Digital Futures Programme for SMEs - TRAVELINDEXMadrid, Spain, May 18, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / UNWTO has announced the launch of the Digital Futures Programme, designed to accelerate the adoption of new technology among tourism enterprises.

Developed in collaboration with some of the world’s leading technology, finance and business companies as Mastercard the initiative is focused on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which make up 80% of all tourism businesses. UNWTO aims to reach at least 1 million tourism SMEs over the lifetime of the Programme, providing them with the foundational skills and knowledge needed to harness the power of new and emerging technologies.

The Digital Futures Programme will help them to recover from the impacts of the pandemic and drive the sector forward, powered by innovation and new technology
UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili says: “Small businesses are the backbone of tourism. The Digital Futures Programme will help them to recover from the impacts of the pandemic and drive the sector forward, powered by innovation and new technology.”

In order to provide SMEs with tailored guidance and and tools, the Programme is built on a Digital Readiness Diagnostic Tool that benchmarks SMEs across five key digital dimensions – Connectivity, Business Growth, E-Commerce, Big Data and Analytics, and Payments and Security. The launch event, held at IE Tower in Madrid, was attened by around 200 participants including the Ambassadors to Spain of UNWTO’s Member States, as well as invstement and promotion Agencies, and SMEs themselves.

First published at – Global Travel News

UNWTO & Save The Children Partner for Education Central America & Caribbean

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UNWTO & Save The Children Partner for Education Central America & Caribbean - TRAVELINDEXSanto Domingo, Dominican Republic, May 11, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and Save the Children Dominican Republic have launched a new challenge to promote the development of educational ideas and experiences through the tourism sector in Central America and the Caribbean.

Read all the latest UNWTO News and Updates here.

The challenge seeks innovative and technological proposals in ‘Early Stage’ development that offer new educational opportunities through the tourism sector. The challenge has two categories:

  • New technologies: People or startups that promote the use of technology to provide solutions to the tourism and education sector.
  • Local impact: People or startups that promote transformation and social improvement, and that belong to the tourism and education sector.

Tourism is a leading provider of opportunities for young people throughout Central America and the Caribbean

According to Secretary General of the World Tourism Organization, Zurab Pololikashvili, “tourism is a leading provider of opportunities for young people throughout Central America and the Caribbean, and innovation and new technologies can help us reach more young people, allowing them to benefit as tourism returns to the region.”

“For our organization, the launch of this challenge represents a unique opportunity to capitalize on the potential of the tourism sector in our country and the region, thus generating innovation in favor of childhood education with a high social impact,” says Juan Tomás Díaz, President Save the Children Dominicana.

Tourism for the SDGs

Projects must be aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of the United Nations. Additionally, they must be framed in one (or several) of the following areas:

  • The management of destinations or the private management of solutions/products/services developed around and education as tourism and education products;
  • Seeking a balance between sustainable development and the profitability of the project, maximizing its positive impacts.
  • The connection with the market and the user experience in all phases of the journey

Applications are open until 25 June, 2022. The winning projects will be selected based on several criteria, such as the degree of innovation, and its viability and sustainability. The winners will be invited to the Tourism Tech Adventure in the Dominican Republic that will take place in November 2022.

Tourism education for empowerment

Tourism is one of the largest sectors in the world, accounting for more than 4% of direct global GDP in 2019. In the Americas, the contribution of tourism to regional GDP fell from 3.4% to 1.6% during the pandemic. Central America and the Caribbean represent 4.8% of global international arrivals, and reflect the potential in all tourism sub-sectors, and their needs for good training and education.

After the effects of COVID-19, this sector is reinventing itself to achieve more responsible, innovative and accessible tourism. The pandemic has also disrupted education systems around the world, highlighting that digital learning must become an essential service available to all. This means that all children and young people have access to first-rate digital solutions that facilitate personalized learning and open the doors to a better future.

Read all the latest UNWTO News and Updates here.

UNWTO supports digital education and innovation initiatives promoted by Startups and small and medium-sized enterprises, which will play a leading role in the revival of tourism in the coming years.

First published at – Global Travel News

UNWTO Brings Tourism for Transformation to UN General Assembly

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UNWTO Brings Tourism for Transformation to UN General Assembly - TRAVELINDEXNew York City, New York, United States, May 6,2022 / TRAVELINDEX / The United Nations General Assembly has met for a first ever dedicated session on tourism and its key role in inclusive recovery and growth.

The High-Level Thematic Debate was convened by the President of the General Assembly, His Excellency Abdulla Shahid, in collaboration with the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). In the General Assembly Hall, government representatives joined public and private stakeholders in recognizing tourism’s unique ability to drive positive change.

Now is the time to build resilient and peaceful societies and tourism can help make this happen!

Tourism for hope and opportunity

As the first ever UNWTO Secretary-General to address the UN General Assembly, Zurab Pololikashvili stressed that “now is the time to build resilient and peaceful societies and tourism can help make this happen! Tourism is a leading provider of opportunities because it is based on people, builds bridges and helps create a better tomorrow for people everywhere.”

Joining Secretary-General Pololikashvili in opening the session were the President of the General Assembly and UN Deputy Secretary-General and UNSDG Chair Amina J. Mohammed, who noted “Every part of the United Nations system, including the World Tourism Organization as its specialized agency for the sector, can leverage tourism to help us achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, from inclusive growth to gender empowerment and biodiversity protection.”

UN General Assembly President Abdulla Shahid also stressed the importance of tourism, particularly for small islands and developing states. He said: “We face a critical opportunity to not only reboot tourism, upon which so many are dependent for their jobs and livelihoods, but to transform it to make it more resilient, more sustainable and more responsible.”

Debating people, planet and prosperity

A Fireside Chat, chaired by CNN International anchor Richard Quest, reflected the challenges faced through tourism’s recovery, addressing how best to reconcile potential trade-offs between the need for economic growth and creating jobs with advancing efforts for overall sustainability.

The high-level debate also featured a special roundtable discussion focused on tourism for people, with an emphasis on inclusivity. This was followed by a roundtable discussion on accelerating the climate-friendly transformation of tourism. The concluding third roundtable discussion focused on re-invigorating investments in tourism.

Placing tourism in the General Assembly

On the eve of the debate, UNWTO Secretary-General Pololikashvili had met with UN General Assembly President Abdulla Shahid for discussions on tourism’s role in the wider work of the United Nations. President Shahid commended UNWTO’s work in guiding tourism first through the biggest crisis in its history and now through the sector’s restart and recovery. The high-level meeting also laid the foundations for the potential inclusion of tourism as a topic of annual debates or thematic sessions within the UN General Assembly.

First published at – Global Travel News

Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism Surpasses 500 Signatories

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Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism Surpasses 500 Signatories - TRAVELINDEXMadrid, Spain, May 2, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / The number of signatories to the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism has passed the 500-mark, just four months after the landmark initiative was launched at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26, November 2021). Today, and coinciding with International Mother Earth Day, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has announced that Expedia Group, Booking Holdings and Condé Nast have become the latest signatories, joining stakeholders of all sizes and from every part of the diverse sector.

The signatures of three of the sector’s biggest names underscores tourism’s determination to accelerating climate action at every level and reflects the shared commitment of both big businesses and small stakeholders to work towards a common goal. All signatories of the Glasgow Declaration commit to the decarbonization of tourism operations and to restore and protect ecosystems, helping visitors and host communities experience better balance with nature. “Rebalancing our relationship with nature is critical to regenerating both its ecological health and our personal, social and economic well-being”, the Declaration states.

Cross-sector commitment

The 538 signatories of the Glasgow Declaration include all types of stakeholders, among them DRV German Travel Association, Tanzania Association of Tour Operators, the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, PATA and Hostelling International; tour operators as EXO Travel, and Europa Mundo Vacaciones; accommodation providers such as The Cayuga Collection; DMOs such as Turismo de Portugal, Turisme de Barcelona, West Sweden Tourist Board, London & Partners, Destination Québec Cité and many more. All adhere to the guiding principle of restoring nature as a “key to our sector’s recovery from the pandemic, as well as its future prosperity and resilience”.

Tourism must prosper in harmony with nature, and the number and variety of businesses, destinations and other organizations signing up to the ambitious Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action shows our sector is committed to doing better.

UNWTO: “Time to Act”

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili says: “It is time to act. Tourism must prosper in harmony with nature, and the number and variety of businesses, destinations and other organizations signing up to the ambitious Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action shows our sector is committed to doing better. I am delighted to welcome Expedia Group, Booking Holdings and Condé Nast as the newest signatories.”

Collaboration across stakeholders is key to ensure that the necessary skills, tools and knowledge are available among service providers, host communities and tourists so that they can deliver change. Among the priorities of the Glasgow Declaration for 2022 is to deliver guidance on measurement of emissions and climate action planning with support from working groups.

“The need to address the damaging effects of climate change has become more urgent than ever before, which is why our Climate Action Plan includes ambitious targets, based on the latest scientific guidance, to achieve near-zero emissions for our own operations by 2030, and net-zero by 2040,” said Glenn Fogel, Chief Executive Officer of Booking Holdings. “Committing to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) and Net Zero Standard, and now signing the Glasgow Declaration, is critical to ensure that climate action is supporting science and the Paris Agreement to change the trajectory of the current crisis.”

“We are proud to become a signatory of the Glasgow Declaration for Climate Action in Tourism as part of a concerted effort with our partners and peers to progress a more sustainable travel industry,” said Peter Kern, CEO and Vice Chairman, Expedia Group. “As a travel company, we have the privilege of bringing people all around the world together every day. And as more people travel, we also have a responsibility to shift towards more sustainable operations to lessen our overall footprint and equip our travelers with sustainable options that match their values. We’re enhancing the visibility travelers have into their impact and offering more responsible choices. The industry must work together to help safeguard the future of travel for generations to come.”

About the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism

The Glasgow Declaration was launched at the UN Climate Change Conference COP26. It is a voluntary commitment which requests organizations to support halving emissions by 2030 and achieving net zero by 2050 at the latest; to deliver climate action plans (or update existing plans) within 12 months from becoming signatories and implement them; to align their plans with five pathways, namely: measure, decarbonize, regenerate, collaborate and finance; to report publicly on progress made implementing those commitments; and to work on a collaborative spirit.

The Glasgow Declaration is led by UNWTO in collaboration with the Travel Foundation and within the framework of the One Planet Sustainable Tourism Programme.

About the One Planet Sustainable Tourism Programme

The One Planet Sustainable Tourism Programme aims to accelerate sustainable consumption and production (SCP) in tourism policies and practices to address the challenges of pollution, biodiversity loss and climate change. It promotes knowledge sharing and networking opportunities to define collective priorities and identify solutions. Under its umbrella, initiatives such as the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism, the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative and the Global Roadmap on Food Waste Reduction in Tourism are implemented.

The One Planet Sustainable Tourism Programme is led by UNWTO, with the governments of France and Spain as co-leads and in collaboration with UNEP.

First published at – Global Travel News

United Nations World Tourism Organization Members Suspend Russia

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United Nations World Tourism Organization Members Suspend Russia - TRAVELINDEXMadrid, Spain, April 28, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / The Russian Federation has been suspended from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), losing with immediate effect its rights and privileges as part of the United Nations specialized agency.

Meeting for a first extraordinary UNWTO General Assembly, Members debated the suspension of Russia from the Organization, as decided by the UNWTO Executive Council at its emergency meeting last month. The Russian delegation declined to step up and defend its position, and instead announced its withdrawal from UNWTO before the debate took place.

Read all the latest UNWTO News and Updates here.

The Assembly voted in favor of suspension, far exceeding the two-third majority required. The decision is effective immediately, while voluntary withdrawal is only effective one year after a Member submits an official communication through the appropriate channels.

Tourism is a pillar of peace and international friendship, and Members of UNWTO must uphold these values or face consequences, with no exceptions.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “UNWTO’s Members have sent a clear message: Tourism is a pillar of peace and international friendship, and Members of UNWTO must uphold these values or face consequences, with no exceptions. This emergency General Assembly shows that Russia’s actions are indefensible and contrary to the very principles of UNWTO and of international governance.”

Loss of rights and privileges

In total, 99 countries were represented in Madrid. According to Article 3 of the Statutes, all Members commit to developing tourism with a “view to contributing to economic development, international understanding, peace, prosperity, and universal prospect for, and observance of, human rights”.

Effective immediately, the Russian Federation will not be able to exercise the rights or enjoy the privileges of UNWTO membership. This means it will not be able to receive services from the Organization, including Technical Assistance, nor will the Russian Federation be able to participate in any UNWTO meetings or events, be permitted to put forward any candidates to serve on UNWTO’s statutory bodies, or to vote in elections to UNWTO organs or to propose a candidate to serve as Secretary-General.

Fulfilling Members’ requests

The first emergency session of the General Assembly was convened at the request of six Members and at the instruction of the UNWTO Executive Council. The UNWTO Secretariat then provided a comprehensive report to the General Assembly for Member States to take an informed decision in relation to Russian Federation’s suspension from membership, following the Organization´s Statutes.

Read all the latest UNWTO News and Updates here.

The UNWTO Statutes state that any Member State may be suspended if two-thirds of their fellow Members believe them to be persisting in a policy that is contrary to the fundamental aim of the Organization. A majority of two-thirds of Full Members present and voting at the General Assembly is required for a motion for suspension of membership to pass. Suspension is temporary and may be lifted, though only by the General Assembly and following the same procedure.

First published at – Global Travel News

UNWTO Calls on Start-Ups to Join Awake Tourism Challenge

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UNWTO Calls on Start-Ups to Join Awake Tourism Challenge - TRAVELINDEXMadrid, Spain, April 23, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / UNWTO has launched the second edition of its global flagship competition under the name of “Awake Tourism Challenge”. The competition will identify innovators who are advancing solutions to 6 different challenges, as well contributing to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Read all the latest UNWTO News and Updates here.

For the 2022 challenge, UNWTO will focus on specific areas that can help the recovery of the tourism sector in a disruptive way, and which deserve extra attention right now, namely:

  • Community involvement: 80% of people living in ‘extreme poverty’ live in rural communities while domestic, rural and eco-tourism have emerged as the most popular travel choices.
  • Green and blue economies: Tourism can be a source of economic opportunities and at the same time protect natural ecosystems.
  • Ecological and Sustainable Capital Creation: Sustainable capital has the potential to optimize resource usage, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide a competitive advantage for businesses.
  • Tourism Tech for Good: Advancements in technology have revolutionized the sector, especially since the start of the pandemic. Artificial Intelligence, crypto, block chain, metaverse, NFTs are welcome in this category.
  • Tourism Education: Despite representing 10% of the world’s jobs, there is a need for updated data, and new tools for education and skills development.
  • Women Empowerment: Women tend to be concentrated in the lowest paid and lowest status jobs in tourism. Startups with a gender focus can be an important contributor to equality.

The return of tourism is a chance to awaken its potential to transform lives

Organized in collaboration with Wakalua, the first global innovation hub for tourism, powered by Ávoris, the competition also counts on the support of a number of major partners, including; SPARK, the Innovation Hub of Les Roches from the Sommet Education group, and Ankh Impact Ventures (AIV), an impact-driven venture capital investment platform with a gender and racial equity lens. It also counts on strong public and private sector backing, with Qatar Airways and Qatar Tourism, Singapore Tourism Board, KPMG, MasterCard, Amadeus, IE University, Telefonica, Wayra, ClarkeModet, The FarCo, BBVA, MentorDay, Finnova, Google for Startups, The Valley Digital Business School, the Future Food Institute and the Inter-American Development Bank all on board.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashviki said: “The return of tourism is a chance to awaken its potential to transform lives. UNWTO is calling on startups everywhere to put forward their ideas for meeting the biggest challenges our sector is facing and for making tourism a champion of the Sustainable Development Goals.”

Startups are invited to participate provided that they:

  • Apply to 1 of the 6 challenges
  • Include 1 or more SDGs
  • Are innovative in nature and provide value-added solutions
  • Are sustainability-driven
  • Are scalable, with potential for international growth and potential to be applied in corporations and destinations (countries, regions)
  • Are an Early Stage or Series A startups
  • Have a tested pilot and business plan
  • Have been accelerated before
  • Have a full-time team already in place

The 12 most disruptive startups (2 for each of the Challenges) will be given support to scale-up. UNWTO will present the best ideas to its Member States, Affiliate Members and investors, providing them with a unique networking opportunity. Additional benefits include the chance to pitch at a special UNWTO Demo Day and access to technological support and to the UNWTO Innovation network, as well as a curated mentorship programme with both one-on-one and group training sessions on key topics such as Intellectual Property, sustainability in business and leadership, possible seed funding for female Startup founders from Ankh Impact Ventures, and incubation for 3 months at the SPARK Innovation Lab.

Applications are now open and will close 31 June 2022. The winning startups will be announced in October. To find out more and to apply, visit the webpage of the UNWTO Awake Tourism Challenge.

UNWTO SDGs Global Startup Competition 2020 Edition:

The 2020 edition was supported by more than 25 partners from across the global innovation ecosystem and attracted over 10,000 participants from 150 countries. The winners had the opportunity to meet Ministers, corporations, investors at the Final Event in Madrid and they have been connected to funding opportunities and pilot projects.

Read all the latest UNWTO News and Updates here.

Since 2018, top startups have raised over US$214 million in funding through the UNWTO Innovation Network.

First published at – Global Travel News

Leading The Transformation Summit Looks to More Sustainable Tourism

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UNWTO - Leading The Transformation Summit Looks to More Sustainable Tourism - TRAVELINDEXPalma de Mallorca, Spain, April 19, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / The Palacio de Congresos de Palma hosted the Summit of Sustainable Destinations organised by UNWTO in partnership with the Mallorca Tourism Foundation. The conference has shared the best practices of environmental, social and economic sustainability developed around the world by leading organisations and companies in these initiatives.

Read all the latest UNWTO News and Updates here.

Catalina Cladera, the President of Consell de Majorca, Isabel Oliver from the Office of the UNWTO Secretary-General and José Hila, Mayor of Palma, opened the event of which was followed by more than 300 attendees in-person and online. Closing the summit were Closed the summit the vice president of the Spanish Government and Minister for Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation, Nadia Calviño; and the president of the Balearic Islands, Francina Armengol

Cladera expressed her pride that Majorca is “the world capital of sustainable tourism during the celebration of this international summit” and assured delegates that “we want it to continue beyond this summit”. During her speech, the president highlighted the potential of the island as a benchmark of sustainability within the tourism sector. The president added, “Majorca is a leading, quality destination around the world, year-round, with pioneering laws in waste management and tourism.

Representing UNWTO, Isabel Oliver highlighted the importance of “promoting sustainable tourism that respects human rights” and highlighted the weight of Majorca as a benchmark in terms of sustainability for “its ability to innovate, the professionalism of its entrepreneurs and the management of its governments”. The Mayor of Palma, who announced the recent approval of the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan for the city, highlighted the “need to bet on sustainability to improve the experiences of tourists and the quality of life of its residents, being a shared work between public administrations, the private sector and citizens”.

Calviño stressed the importance of making public investments now, as well as the need to work collaboratively with the private sector to modernise a sector as important for Spain as the tourism sector and to continue to place the country in a position of leadership. She further emphasised that Spain will be able to recover 80% of international tourists of 2019 this summer under the leadership of the Balearic Islands, which this Easter has already exceeded the figures for 2019 in some segments.

President Armengol ended the closing ceremony by highlighting the importance of the new tourism law that is being processed by the Parliament focused on sustainability from the triple perspective of business competitiveness, environmental sustainability and care for workers.

Discussion of international experts

On the first day, the Minister of Transition, Tourism and Sports, Andreu Serra, commenced the conference with the presentation “Majorca, leading the transition towards regenerative tourism”. This was followed by the first round table of the summit on institutional experiences in water management. Speakers included such as Miquel Mir, the Balearic Islands Minister of Environment and Territory, Jaume Mata, the Head of Sustainable Tourism for Visit Valencia, and Asad Riza, the Deputy Minister of Tourism of the Maldives Islands. Aniol Esteban, Director of the Marilles Foundation, and Stefan Gössling, professor of Linnaeus University School of Business and Economics, also participated. The moderator was the Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Tourism of the University of the Balearic Islands, Tolo Deyà.

Representatives of the private sector also discussed solid waste management, including Sandra Benbeniste, Director of Sustainability of EMEA -Iberostar Hotels, Miguel González San Roman, the Director of Business Development at Minsait/Indra, and Antonio Pérez, the Mayor of Benidorm.

In addition, the experiences of civil society in the United States have been heard, with Nina Bellucci Butler, CEO of Stina, and Andy Schroeder, co-founder of an ocean plastics recovery project. The round table was moderated by Toni Munar of Turismoconsulting.

In the afternoon, the forum began with presentations on circular economy, moderated by José María de Juan, from Koan Consulting. The panel involved the views of Enrique Martínez, President of Segittur, Antoni Riera, Director of the Impulsa Foundation, Jaume Ordinas, the auditor of Hotels Garden, and Elif Balcı Fisunoğlu, the deputy director of the Tourism Promotion and Development Agency of Turkey.

The day ended with the block of analysis of data for the decision making in initiatives of touristic sustainability. The debate was moderated by Dolores Ordóñez, Director General at AnySolution, and was attended by Dirk Glaesser, Director of the UNWTO Sustainable Development Programme, Luis Javier Gadea, Director of Tourism Research, Development and Innovation at Segittur, José Javier Ramasco, CSIC Researcher at IFISC (CSIC-UIB), Sergio Guerreiro, Director of Knowledge Management and Innovation of Tourism of Portugal, and Carlos Cendra, partner at Mabrian Technologies.

The second day of the forum was attended by the Minister of Economic Model, Tourism and Labour of the Balearic Government, Iago Negueruela, who participated with the presentation “Social Circularity and other axes of the Balearic tourism model”. This was followed by a round table on Human Development, with the participation of Catalina Alemany, CSR manager of Riu Hotels, Lola Herrero, professor and director of the Jean-Baptiste Say Institute, ESCP Europe, José Mañas, founder of Wireless DNA, Estelle Antognelli, director of Tourism and Congresses, Tourism and Convention Authority of Monaco, Manuel Butler, director of OTS in London and Juanma Martínez, director of projects and culture of sustainability at Green&Huma.

Read all the latest UNWTO News and Updates here.

Finally, the island councillor for Transition, Tourism and Sports, Andreu Serra, the president of FEHM, María Frontera, Mark Tanzer, executive director of ABTA, Miguel Sanz, director general of Turespaña, and Norbert Fiebig, president of DRV, presented the conclusions of the conference in a debate moderated by Michael Collins, director of


Parallel to the second day of the summit, a hackathon was held at the same Palacio de Congresos. The event was aimed at professionals, researchers, and students with an interest in and commitment to sustainability. They worked in groups on problems linked to three major challenges: water, food, and mobility. Each challenge will have a winning group, which will receive €5,000, to be divided equally among the members of each team.

First published at – Global Travel News

UNWTO and Italy Set Stage for Global Youth Tourism Summit

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UNWTO and Italy Set Stage for Global Youth Tourism Summit - TRAVELINDEXSorrento, Italy, April 14, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / UNWTO has announced more details of the upcoming Global Youth Tourism Summit, set to be held in Sorrento, Italy, from 27 June to 3 July.

The Summit, organized by UNWTO in collaboration with the Italian Ministry of Tourism and the Italian National Tourist Board, will provide a unique opportunity for young people aged between 12 and 18 to share their vision for the future of the sector. For one week, 100 young delegates will network with and work alongside politicians, leading figures from across the tourism sector as well as from the worlds of entertainment and sports.

Read all the latest UNWTO News and Updates here.

Against the backdrop of the BIT travel trade show in Milan, UNWTO Director for Europe Alessandra Priante joined representatives of the project partners to share more details of the landmark Summit. The inaugural event will be held around the theme of International Sustainable Tourism. The program will include interactive activities oriented towards the Sustainable Development Goals and how they interact with tourism, during which participants will learn how to build a sector that combines sustainability, culture, gastronomy, innovation and climate action.

Empowering the next generation

The Global Youth Tourism Summit is a unique platform to celebrate and empower the next generation of tourism leaders

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili says: “The Global Youth Tourism Summit is a unique platform to celebrate and empower the next generation of tourism leaders. It will help build a lasting legacy by providing young people with the skills and knowledge they need to transform tourism not only in their communities but everywhere.” UNWTO Director for Europe Professor Priante added: “Tourism offers opportunities to the youth. But youth gives tourism the opportunity to become stronger and more resilient. We are extremely proud of the first generation of GYST-ers, who already show their promise and commitment to transform tourism – starting from their local communities.”

High-level participation

In Milan, the organizers confirmed that several Italian Ministries will be involved (education, foreign, south), as will a number of key UN institutions, including FAO, UNICEF and ITU. The Summit will bring together major international players convened by UNWTO, including the Global Tourism Economy Research Center of Macao, the Bella Vista Institute of Higher Education in Switzerland, the Azerbaijan National Tourism Agency, Hilton International, Mastercard Europe and MSC Crociere. Confirmed institutional guests will include Commissioner Gabriel, the UN’s ENVOY for YOUTH Jayathma Wickramanayake, some of the UNWTO Ambassadors for Responsible Tourism Valeria Mazza, Didier Drogba, Gino Sorbillo and many other international VIPs and influencers.

Hosts anticipate ‘unique experience’

“A moment of osmosis between past, present and future can only benefit Italy which is being reorganized and reborn. We believe in the contribution and enthusiasm of the generations of tomorrow, not only for the lessons they can teach us and for the necessary comparison of what will come next, but also because new opportunities arise from this dialogue, not only in terms of tourist offerings, but also in terms of tourist training,” says Enit President Giorgio Palmucci.

Felice Casucci, Councillor for Tourism of the Campania Region adds: “The institutional chain must be compact at a time when it is necessary to have a broad vision and focus on young people for a great international message of peace. Sorrento is a unique opportunity to put together a highly recognized tourist destination with a narrative that is open to the territorial contexts and regional identity values among the most exclusive and attractive in the world.”

Read all the latest UNWTO News and Updates here.

The Mayor of Sorrento, Massimo Coppola says: “Our city is honored to host the first edition of Global Youth Tourism. The objective of the event is to bring participants, selected and from all over the world, to live a unique experience, promoting the comparison and ensure that the new generations can pursue the mission of environmental sustainability. To animate it will be young people aged between 12 and 18 years, who will confront themselves and contribute to the definition of the World Tourism Agenda 2030.”

First published at – Global Travel News

Taste of Sustainability on Agritourism, Food and Better Life

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UNWTO - Taste of Sustainability on Agritourism, Food and Better Life - TRAVELINDEXRome, Italy, April 13, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / High-level speakers from across UNWTO and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) came together for a virtual talk on how best to harness the enormous potential that tourism has for the development of rural areas and communities.

Representatives of the two agencies were joined by experts from the European Commission, as well by a number of entrepreneurs from the fields of agri-tourism and gastronomy, including representatives of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and renowned international chef Fatamata Tarazid-Tarawali (better known as “Chef Binta”).

The scope of the ‘virtual coffee’, which was moderated by FAO’s Rosa Laura Romeo, was to establish new links and widen participants’ knowledge on the future challenges but also opportunities faced by tourism rapidly evolving in rural areas.

Tourism currently faces many challenges, including the ongoing pandemic, but also many opportunities. There is a chance of “building back better” especially through the involvement of rural communities and youth, in line with the UN’s motto for the 2030 Agenda of leaving no one behind.

According to Valentina Superti, Director for Tourism and Proximity in the European Commission´s DG GROW, recovery from the current global health crisis is already leading to the transformation of the tourism sector, which today supports 23 million jobs in the European Union alone. In particular, agri-tourism has been identified as one of the key elements in sustaining national economies as recover and build back more inclusively, sustainably and with greater resilience.

In particular, participants in the virtual conference highlighted several transversal areas that would need to be leveraged urgently accelerating this transformation in the tourism sector:

  • Creating more attractive employment opportunities;
  • Developing the basic infrastructure, such as hotels and transport routes;
  • Better integration of digital technologies in the ways tourism destinations are conceived and managed by the relevant authorities.

In this respect, Maciej Golubiewski, Head of Cabinet of the European Agriculture Commissioner, observed that agri-tourism fits across the main priorities of the current Common Agricultural Policy of the European Union. Participants also agreed on the need for tourism activities to be planned so as to both meet changing consumer demands and to benefit rural communities. Yoshihide Endo, presented an overview of the FAO’s Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) Programme.

Alongside this, UNWTO provided participants with an update on the Best Tourism Villages initiative. Launched in 2021, the initiative identifies and supports villages harnessing the power of tourism for opportunity and transformation. Illustrating the criteria of the BTV, the presentations of GIAHS sites in Spain (La Axarquía) and Slovenia (Brda-Collio) showed how agri-tourism best practices, such as strategizing and marketing of products for tourists, could be applied across selected sites in Europe building on the region’s deep-rooted natural and cultural heritage. At the same time, the presentations of Chef Binta and representatives from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Dr Frans Teguh, underlined how the character of tourism destinations is showcased through authentic local cuisine.

First published at – Global Travel News

Zimbabwe Launches First UNWTO National Tourism Satellite Account

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Harare, Zimbabwe, April 6, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / UNWTO has partnered with the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry (MECTHI) of Zimbabwe to launch the country’s first National Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) today.

The Account shows the size and significance of the tourism sector for the Zimbabwean economy, based on the last available pre-COVID-19 data and on data gathered before the formal transition of national currency from US dollar into the Zimbabwean Dollar. The TSA revealed that tourism accounted for 4.25% of the National Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with a value of USD1.03 billion in 2018. In 2019 the sector accounted for 6.3% of GDP with a value of USD1.23 billion. At the same time, the data also shows that tourism accounted for 1.56% of national employment levels in 2018, with around 100 000 jobs supported and created.

The TSA was produced as part of the Zimbabwe Destination Development Program, a technical assistance program supported by International Finance Corporation (IFC). As well as recording the number of tourists visiting the country, the initiative also provides monetary and non-monetary tourism data related to demand and supply and measures the value of expenditure on goods and services across all types of tourism as well as the value of tourism-sector industries producing goods and/or services. It will be used for quantifying tourism’s contribution to GDP and national employment rates.

Data for tourism’s restart and recovery
Tourism in Zimbabwe has been significantly impacted by the pandemic, with the introduction of travel restrictions and lower demand from tourists leading to a massive fall in visitors. The loss to the national economy is estimated at USD690m. According to the IFC’s Country Manager, Adamou Labara said, ‘these empirical findings highlight the opportunity for policymakers in Zimbabwe to support recovery of the tourism sector through stimulating traveller demand, and responsibly reducing barriers to entry’.

By addressing information gaps and supporting a data-driven approach to policy development and investment decisions, the TSA should prove particularly relevant to Zimbabwe’s tourism sector as it works towards sustainable recovery and growth from the impacts of the pandemic. The development of the TSA is one of the key milestone projects for the tourism sector under the National Development Strategy (NDS1 2021-2025).

First published at – Global Travel News