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Global Tourism Plastics Initiative Releases First Progress Report

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Global Tourism Plastics Initiative Releases First Progress Report - UNWTO - TRAVELINDEXMadrid, Spain, December 23, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / The Global Tourism Plastics Initiative has welcomed a further 21 signatories, taking the total number past 110. The new signatories have been announced alongside the launch of a first annual report, which makes clear the significant progress made in tackling plastics pollution in tourism over the past year.

Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Accor, Club Med, Hong-Kong and Shanghai Hotels, Iberostar, Melco, Six Senses have all reported continuous efforts to implement their commitments to tackle plastic pollution. Together, they have eliminated over 108 million plastic items and packaging in 2020, totaling around 804 metric tons.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “In just one year, the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative has made a real impact. Together, signatories have cut their use of plastic by 800 metric tons, equivalent to 27 large shipping containers full of plastic. I congratulate all those businesses and destinations for their commitment and welcome the 21 newest signatories to the Initiative – a clear sign that tourism is working hard to become more sustainable, even in times of crisis.”

Signatories report plastics progress

In just one year, the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative has made a real impact

deSter, a member of gategroup and the leading supplier to the aviation, hospitality and foodservice industries has also reported progress, for instance by discontinuing the launch of new products with non-recyclable materials; working on fiber-based technologies and closed loop recycling pilots with customers; and developing new designs.

“We are delighted to have joined the Global Tourism Plastic Initiative through our Bye Bye Plastics program: Club Med has already removed on a global scale disposable plastic items such as cups, straws, cutlery, plates as well as individual plastic packaging from shower gel, shampoo and lotion and from other in-room accessories. We are now aiming to remove single use plastic accessories from our rooms and festive events as well as reducing by up to 50% the use of plastic water bottles in 2024 (compared to 2019),” said Florian Duprat, Sustainability manager at Club Med.

“We are pleased to have been able to formalize our goals and progress in the global commitment of the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative report. It gives us the opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to developing more sustainable solutions. And, more importantly, by being part of a coordinated action plan with other signatories, we can be sure that we are moving the needle to stop plastic pollution,” said Philippe De Naeyer, Director Sustainability at deSter.

The full report is available online and is also linked to the annual report of the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, providing its Tourism chapter (see page 12). A broader reporting mechanism which would allow additional stakeholders that are signatories (e.g. SMEs) to report progress on the implementation of their commitments will also soon be made available.

More sector-wide commitment

Since the last announcement of signatories in July 2021, the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative has officially welcomed 21 new signatories bringing the total of organizations that have committed to implement circular economy of plastics in the tourism sector to 113.

Among the 21 new signatories, the Initiative welcomes 4 accommodation companies (Alila Villas Uluwatu, JJ’s Hostel Mirissa, Phaea Resorts, Sudima Hotels), 7 tour operators (Adventuretects LLC, Europamundo, Evaneos, Secret Scotland Tours, SEE Turtles, Travel.Bhutan, Turama Pacific Travel Group), 9 supporting organizations (arcenciel, Blue Community, Clewat Ltd, The Environment and Social Development Organization-ESDO, Jaya House River Park Siem Reap, Lombok Tourism Polytechnic, Natufagus Consulting, Union of International Mountain Leader Associations (UIMLA), Worldwide Association of Diving Instructors) and 1 destination (Azerbaijan Tourism Board (ATB)). These signatories have set concrete targets around the elimination of unnecessary and problematic plastics, the introduction of reuse models and work on value chain level to improve recyclability.

A common goal for tourism

The Global Tourism Plastics Initiative unites the tourism sector behind a common vision to address the root causes of plastic pollution. It is led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Tourism Organization in collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. The Global Tourism Plastics Initiative was endorsed by the Executive Council of the World Tourism Organization at its 114th meeting held on 1st December 2021 during the UNWTO General Assembly in Madrid, encouraging Member States to take part in the fight against plastic pollution.

First published at – Global Travel News

First published at – Global Travel News

Dr. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka Confirmed as New Chairperson of World Committee on Tourism Ethics

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Dr. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka Confirmed as New Chairperson of World Committee on Tourism Ethics - TRAVELINDEXMadrid, Spain, December 20, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / Dr. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the former Executive Director of UN Women, has been confirmed as the new Chairperson of the World Committee on Tourism Ethics.

The 24th Session of the UNWTO General Assembly, which met in Madrid (30 Novemer-3 December) unanimously approved Dr.  Mlambo-Ngcuka’s nomination for the position. She will serve as Chair for four years, starting on 3 December 2021, taking over from Pascal Lamy, former Director-general of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and President Emeritus of the Jacques Delors Institute.

Read all the latest UNWTO News and Updates here.

“It is with great honour that I accept this appointment and I will, together with the members of the Ethics Committee, work hard to provide a fair guidance towards more ethical practices in the tourism sector.” said Dr. Mlambo-Ngcuka.

With her rich background and experience of leadership, Dr. Mlambo-Ngcuka will ensure that the principles of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism and the UNWTO Framework Convention on Tourism Ethics continue to serve as a compass directing us towards a fairer and more inclusive tourism sector

UNWTO Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili added: “With her rich background and experience of leadership, Dr. Mlambo-Ngcuka will ensure that the principles of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism and the UNWTO Framework Convention on Tourism Ethics continue to serve as a compass directing us towards a fairer and more inclusive tourism sector.”

New Committee Members Confirmed

The World Committee on Tourism Ethics is the independent body responsible for interpreting, applying and evaluating the provisions of the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism. The Committee’s tasks include the promotion and dissemination of the Code as well as the evaluation and monitoring of its implementation. Dr. Mlambo-Ngcuka brings to the role significant experience working in the fields of human rights, equality and social justice, most notably serving as an Undersecretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women for two terms.

The 24th UNWTO General Assembly also approved the appointment of the following as Committee Members: Ms. Mayada Belal (Undersecretary for the Egyptian Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research for Cultural Cooperation), Mr. José Ignacio Besga Zuazola (President of the Basque Country Ethics Cluster), Ms. Susan Longley (General Secretary of the International Union of Food, Agriculture, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers Associations (IUF), Ms. Daniela Otero (Chief Executive Officer of Skal International).

Read all the latest UNWTO News and Updates here.

Ms. Gunnur Diker (Partner and General Manager of Eurasia Tourism Ltd.), Mr. Shahid Hamid Fih (Chairman & Founder of SH’otel Hospitality Management & Consultancy Ltd) and Prof. Marina Novelli (Professor of Tourism and International Development at the University of Brighton) were also appointed as alternate members of the Committee.

First published at – Global Travel News

First published at – Global Travel News

ICAO and UNWTO Issue Joint Statement to Reconnect he World

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ICAO and UNWTO Issue Joint Statement to Reconnect he World

Montréal, Canada, December 10, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / This International Civil Aviation Day, the UN Aviation and World Tourism organizations (ICAO/UNWTO) have issued a joint call for efforts to reconnect the world to be accelerated. The COVID-19 pandemic brought global air mobility and tourism to an abrupt halt. It also pressed pause on trillions of dollars worth of economic activity. Millions of livelihoods and businesses have been placed at risk. And while increasing vaccination rates are helping to kickstart the return of international aviation and restart tourism, much more still needs to be done.

We therefore add our organizations’ voices to those of the G7, G20, and the many countries who have called for borders to be opened to fully vaccinated travelers, travelers with acceptable proof of recovery from previous infection, and travelers holding mutually recognized and ICAO VDS-secured personal health certificates.

We also jointly stress that restrictions on travel considered in response to new variants of the COVID-19 virus must be only used as a very last resort. Such restrictions are discriminatory, ineffective and against the guidance of the World Health Organization.

ICAO and UNWTO also call for equal access to vaccines, and for efforts towards vaccine equity to be intensified and accelerated. This is especially critical for developing countries still bearing the brunt of the pandemic and least able to cope with its economic and social impacts.

With pent up travel and tourism demand now clearly evident in every global region, and with better mitigation strategies and greater international coordination in place, our organizations believe that our sectors can be drivers for economic recovery, both in the developed and the developing worlds.

However, as the restart of international civil aviation and tourism does get underway, ICAO and UNWTO recognize that a return to ‘business as usual’ would be a dereliction of responsibility in a post-pandemic world facing a climate crisis and ongoing economic inequality.

To build greater resilience to future health emergencies within our respective sectors, our agencies will work with governments to improve travel and tourism crisis response coordination, and to rethink and modernize every step of the passenger journey, with a focus on safety and security. Air travelers must be able to expect a safe, secure and healthy travel experience from check in to arriving at their destination.

To ensure the sustainability of air tourism in the face of the climate crisis, we will also take every opportunity to facilitate and accelerate the pace of innovation. In particular, we will advance progress towards the use of renewable energy, sustainable fuels, and other emissions reduction and elimination solutions, while continuously encouraging countries and the industry itself to meet or surpass their commitments.

And, as global air connectivity continues to expand, and to connect more of us to each other and to our natural environments, we must ensure that it does so on a progressively greener and more sustainable basis. Countries must set aggressive targets through our agencies so that international and domestic commitments progress together and so effectively address the impacts of travel and tourism.

The outcome of our shared efforts will play a critical role in assuring the most basic capability of many countries to invest toward and realize the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and all objectives to build-back-better in global air connectivity and tourism must be reviewed and fine-tuned in support of the 2030 Agenda and Our Common Agenda objectives.

First published at

First published at – Global Travel News

UNWTO Calls Against Blanket Travel Restrictions

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UNWTO Calls Against Blanket Travel Restrictions

Madrid, Spain, December 9, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) of the United Nations calls out against the introduction of blanket restrictions on travel, as witnessed in recent days. This call echoes the concerns raised by UNWTO Members during the 24th UNWTO General Assembly (30 November–3 December). Countries from all global regionsexpressed their solidarity with Southern African states, calling for the immediate lifting of travel bans imposed on specific countries and for freedom of international travel to be upheld.

UNWTO takes note of the recent declarations of the United Nations Secretary-General and the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) regarding the unfairness and ineffectiveness of blanket travel in respect to the countries of Southern Africa.

Restrictions ineffective and discriminatory

In light of recent developments, UNWTO has once again reminded countries that the imposition of blanket restrictions on travel is discriminatory, ineffective and contrary to WHO recommendations. Blanket restrictions may also stigmatize countries or whole regions.

During the UNWTO General Assembly, Members States and partners, including voices from international organizations and across the private sector, echoed WHO’s advice that travel restrictions should only be imposed as a very last resort in response to changing circumstances. Furthermore, it was stressed that if restrictions are introduced, they must be proportionate, transparent, and scientifically based. They must also only be introduced with a full appreciation of what halting international travel would mean for the most vulnerable, including those developing countries and individuals who depend on tourism for their economies and livelihoods.

Coordination not discrimination

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, UNWTO has called for coordinated and evidence-based approaches to balancing public health concerns with keeping the lifeline of tourism intact. Over recent months, such an approach has been shown to be the most effective way forward.

UNWTO notes that travel and vaccination levels are closely connected, as the emergence of new variants facilitated by low levels of vaccination has shown. As such, UNWTO calls on all countries to act in solidarity to ensure equitable access to vaccines for all, to recognize all WHO approved vaccines for the purpose of international travel and to facilitate access to patents for local production of vaccines.

First published at – Global Travel News

First published at – Global Travel News

UNWTO Announces Best Tourism Villages 2021

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UNWTO Announces Best Tourism Villages 2021 - TRAVELINDEXMadrid, Spain, December 3, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / The best examples of villages embracing tourism to provide opportunity and drive sustainable development have been celebrated at the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) General Assembly in Madrid. The Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO initiative was launched to advance the role of tourism in safeguarding rural villages, along with their landscapes, natural and cultural diversity, and their local values and activities, including local gastronomy.

A total of 44 villages from 32 countries across the five world regions were granted the recognition in 2021. All of them stand out for their natural and cultural resources as well as for their innovative and transformative actions and commitment to the development of tourism in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This initiative recognizes those villages committed to making tourism a strong driver of their development and wellbeing

The villages were evaluated by an independent Advisory Board based on a set of criteria covering nine areas:

  1. Cultural and Natural Resources
  2. Promotion and Conservation of Cultural Resources
  3. Economic Sustainability
  4. Social Sustainability
  5. Environmental Sustainability
  6. Tourism Potential and Development and Value Chain Integration
  7. Governance and Prioritization of Tourism
  8. Infrastructure and Connectivity
  9. Health, Safety and Security

All of the 44 chosen villages scored a total of 80 or more points or more out of a possible 100.

Tourism as a driver of rural development and inclusion

“Tourism can be a driver of social cohesion and inclusion by promoting a fairer distribution of benefits throughout the territory and empowering local communities,” says UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili. “This initiative recognizes those villages committed to making tourism a strong driver of their development and wellbeing”.

The Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO initiative includes three pillars:

  1. The ‘Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO’: Recognizes villages which are an outstanding example of a rural tourism destination with recognized cultural and natural assets, that preserve and promote rural and community-based values, products and lifestyle and have a clear commitment to innovation and sustainability in all its aspects – economic, social and environmental.
  2. The ‘Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO’ Upgrade Programme: The Upgrade programme will benefit a number of villages that do not fully meet the criteria to receive the recognition. These villages will receive support from UNWTO and its Partners in improving elements of the areas identified as gaps in the evaluation process.
  3. The ‘Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO’ Network: The Network will provide a space for exchanging experiences and good practices, learnings, and opportunities. It will include representatives of the villages recognized as the ‘Best Tourism Village by UNWTO’ , the villages participating in the Upgrade Programme, as well as experts, public and private sector partners engaged in the promotion of tourism for rural development.

A total 174 villages were proposed by 75 UNWTO Member States (each Member State could present a maximum of three villages) for the 2021 pilot initiative. Among which 44 were recognized as Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO. Another 20 villages will enter the Upgrade Programme of the Initiative. All 64 villages enter to make part of the UNWTO Best Tourism Villages Network.

The next edition will open in February 2022.

List of Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO 2021:

  • Bekhovo, Russian Federation
  • Bkassine, Lebanon
  • Bojo, Philippineshe
  • Caspalá, Argentina
  • Castelo Rodrigo, Portugal
  • Cuetzalan del Progreso, Mexico
  • Cumeada, Portugal
  • Gruyères, Switzerland
  • Batu Puteh , Malaysia
  • Kaunertal, Austria
  • Le Morne, Mauritius
  • Lekunberri, Spain
  • Maní, Mexico
  • Misfat Al Abriyeen, Oman
  • Miyama, Japan
  • Mokra Gora, Serbia
  • Morella, Spain
  • Mustafapaşa, Turkey
  • Nglanggeran, Indonesia
  • Niseko, Japan
  • Nkotsi Village, Rwanda
  • Old Grand Port, Mauritius
  • Olergesailie, Kenya
  • Ollantaytambo, Peru
  • Pano Lefkara, Cyprus
  • Pica, Chile
  • Pochampally, India
  • Puerto Williams, Chile
  • Radovljica, Slovenia
  • Rijal Alma’a, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
  • Testo Alto, Brazil
  • Saas Fee, Switzerland
  • San Cosme y Damián, Paraguay
  • San Ginesio, Italy
  • Sidi Kaouki, Morocco
  • Solčava, Slovenia
  • Soufli, Greece
  • Taraklı, Turkey
  • The Purple Island, Republic of Korea
  • Ungok Village, Republic of Korea
  • Valposchiavo, Switzerland
  • Wonchi, Ethiopia
  • Xidi, China
  • Yucun, China

Additionally, UNWTO will work with the following villages participating in the Upgrade Programme:

  • Ordino, Andorra
  • Khinalig, Azerbaijan
  • Koprivshtitsa, Bulgaria
  • Kaštelir Labinci, Croatia
  • Agros, Cyprus
  • Fuwah, Egypt
  • Western Samos, Greece
  • Hollókő, Hungary
  • Biei, Japan
  • Capulálpam de Méndez, Mexico
  • Godinje, Montenegro
  • Gornja Lastva, Montenegro
  • Oukaimeden, Morocco
  • Barangay Tenani, Philippines
  • Gasura, Rwanda
  • Gostilje, Serbia
  • Gorenja Vas, Slovenia
  • Cantavieja, Spain
  • Bo Suak, Thailand
  • Ruboni, Uganda

First published at – Global Travel News

First published at – Global Travel News

UNWTO General Assembly Underway in Madrid

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UNWTO General Assembly Underway in Madrid - TRAVELINDEXMadrid, Spain, December 1, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / Tourism leaders from every global region have arrived in Madrid for the 24th Session of the UNWTO General Assembly. Ministers of Tourism will be joined by representatives of international organizations and from across the private sector for the first truly global tourism meeting to be held since the start of the pandemic, with innovation, education and investments high on the agenda.

In all, more than 1,000 participants, representing 135 countries and including 84 Ministers and Vice-Ministers of Tourism will attend the most important meeting of the United Nations specialized agency for tourism.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “Guided by UNWTO, global tourism is facing up to the challenges of today while looking to the opportunities of tomorrow. The UNWTO General Assembly shows the sector’s determination to restart, lead recovery and be a central pillar of sustainable development and climate action.”

Towards an International Code for the Protection of Tourists

The UNWTO General Assembly shows the sector’s determination to restart, lead recovery and be a central pillar of sustainable development and climate action

UNWTO opened the General Assembly with an Induction Session for the International Code for the Protection of Tourists. Launched in response to the drop in consumer confidence caused by the pandemic, the landmark legal code will provide minimum standards and consumer rights for tourists in emergency situations. It was developed in collaboration with 98 Member States and Associate Members as well as 5 non-member States international organizations and leading private sector stakeholders. Once adopted by the UNWTO General Assembly, the Code will be presented to the United Nations General Assembly in 2022 with the aim of making it a Resolution.

Affiliate Members Meet to Reform and Restart

Held within the framework of the General Assembly, UNWTO’s Affiliate Members met today for their 43rd annual Plenary Session. Made up of businesses and destinations, as well as representatives from civil society and academic, UNWTO counts on more than 500 Affiliates to transform tourism policy into action. In Madrid, participants were given an overview of UNWTO’s crisis response, with the Destination Tracker developed by in partnership with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) presented as an example of effective public-private partnerships. At the same time, delegates approved the proposed Reform of the Legal Framework for UNWTO Affiliate Membership, paving the way for more effective collaboration

Executive Council Endorses Key Initiatives

Ahead of the official opening of the General Assembly, UNWTO convened its Executive Council for a 114th session. The Council, which serves as the governing board of UNWTO, met to hear Secretary-General Pololikashvili present his report on the work done since the 113th session, also held in Madrid at the start of the year. The Members of the Executive Council agreed to the iimplementation of the General Programme of Work for 2020-2021 and for 2022-2023. Members also endorsed several key UNWTO initiatives, notably the UNWTO Recommendations on Tourism for Rural Development, the Best Tourism Villages project and the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative.

Also meeting in Madrid, the UNWTO Committees on Tourism and Sustainability, on Tourism and Competitiveness and on Tourism Online Education, brought together experts to explore ways to advance the Organization’s Programme of work around key priority areas.

First published at

First published at – Global Travel News

UNWTO and Council of Europe to Promote Cultural Routes

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UNWTO and Council of Europe to Promote Cultural Routes - TRAVELINDEXBrussels, Belgium, November 26, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the Council of Europe will work together to develop the opportunities tourism offers to local communities and to enhance the tourist experience along the European region’s Cultural Routes.

The joint actions will be aimed at recognizing the added value that cultural routes offer for sustainable tourism development, cultural heritage safeguarding and intercultural dialogue. The collaboration will also further highlight the routes’ potential for advancing social, economic and cultural development, benefitting both Europe and its partner countries by strengthening cultural and historical ties.

All along the Cultural Routes, tourism has the power to support jobs and create other development opportunities for communities

International Year of Creative Economy 2021

The two organizations will be collaborating first in the sphere of creative tourism, to showcase good practices in line with the International Year of Creative Economy 2021, and further promote destinations encompassed by the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes (EPA) of the Council of Europe.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “All along the Cultural Routes, tourism has the power to support jobs and create other development opportunities for communities. It is also a chance to protect and promote cultural heritage and to celebrate creativity.”

Council of Europe Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić adds: “The Cultural Routes programme plays an important role in the promotion of Europe’s rich cultural heritage, in addition to being an effective tool for fostering intercultural dialogue and transnational co-operation.

We are delighted that the UN’s World Tourism Organisation will contribute its expertise to the Cultural Routes programme on the basis of this Memorandum of Understanding.”

Enhancing accessibility

The partnership will also see UNWTO and the Council of Europe harness their individual expertise and technical capabilities to further develop Cultural Routes, through research, training and policymaking. Special attention will be paid to the mapping of Cultural Routes and to promoting greater accessibility for persons with disabilities and specific access requirements.

First published at – Global Travel News

First published at – Global Travel News

First Regional Conference in Kuala Lumpur on Women’s Empowerment

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First Regional Conference in Kuala Lumpur on Women’s Empowerment

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, November 24, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / UNWTO’s Members from across Asia and the Pacific came together to advance the tourism sector’s contribution to gender equality and women’s empowerment.

The UNWTO Regional Conference on the Empowerment of Women in Tourism in Asia and the Pacific – the first event on the topic organized by UNWTO jointly with Malaysia’s Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture – brought together more than 500 key virtual participants in addition to around 100 local in-person stakeholders. Alongside UNWTO experts, government policymakers, UN Women representatives, high-level representatives of women’s associations and NGOs, joined leading academics to address some of the key challenges and opportunities for women in tourism in the region.

In Asia and the Pacific, women make up 53% of the tourism workforce. However, they remain concentrated in lower paid-positions and tens to have poorer working conditions. As in other regions of the world, high-level and leadership positions seem to be the sole prerogative of men. The aim of this conference was to contribute to international efforts to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 5 (SDG5) on gender equality and the empowerment of women, particularly in light of how the pandemic has worsened the socio-economic situation of the female tourism workforce in the region.

In her welcome and opening remarks, H.E. Dato’ Sri Nancy Shukri, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture of Malaysia reinforced this main objective of the conference and said  “As part of efforts to advance a more inclusive recovery for the tourism sector which is in line with the Sustainable Development Goals and particularly SDG 5 on gender equality, I believe this conference will provide us with deep insights on strategies and the future prospects for women in tourism in the Asia-Pacific region.”

The discussions of the conference focused on the six thematic pillars of UNWTO’s Action Plan on Women in Tourism. These include women’s employment and leadership; entrepreneurship; education and training for the realities of post-COVID19 tourism; and data and statistics for an inclusive recovery. Based on these thematic areas, the conference explored how tourism’s immense potential for advancing women’s economic empowerment can be further enhanced through the implementation of the right recovery policies and strategies.

First published at – Global Travel News

First published at – Global Travel News

UNWTO, Panama and NOAH to Create UN Fund for Climate Neutrality

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UNWTO, Panama and NOAH to Create UN Fund for Climate Neutrality

Panama City, Panama, November 14, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / Within the framework of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change COP26, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the Government of Panama and the business group NOAH agreed to work together for the implementation of the United Nations Fund for Climate Neutrality of Tourism. The Fund represents an innovative financing instrument promoted by UNWTO to respond to threats posed by the climate emergency.

In recognition of the existential threat posed by the climate emergency, UNWTO, the government of Panama and NOAH (Network of Ocean Ambassadors Headquarters) will support the creation of a Capital Fund that will make possible the UN Fund for the Climate Neutrality of Tourism and the creation of a Smart Carbon Exchange Market (MIIC). Led by NOAH together with UNWTO, this market aims to promote the exchange of carbon credits in the most efficient way.

Mobilizing resources

With this agreement, Panama ratifies its climate leadership and its efforts to conserve and regenerate nature and, at the same time, unleash economic growth through tourism that benefits local communities. Panama is one of only three carbon negative countries in the world – that is, it absorbs more greenhouse gases than it emits.

These projects reflect UNWTO’s commitment to transform the tourism sector to accelerate the decarbonization of the sector

The Minister of Tourism of Panama, Iván Eskildsen, highlighted “the role of UNWTO in bringing together a leader in climate response like Panama, firmly committed to tourism as a pillar for the future of people and the planet, and NOAH that will contribute technological and financial solutions to mobilize the necessary resources for a sustainable future for the benefit of all.”

“These projects reflect UNWTO’s commitment to transform the tourism sector to accelerate the decarbonization of the sector,” said UNWTO Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili. He stressed that this is an example of success based on cooperation between “the UN system, international organizations, UNWTO Member States and the private sector in general”.

Towards “Blue Carbon”

With Panama serving as a pilot country for these initiatives, NOAH will prepare a study in coordination with the Ministry of the Environment to estimate the “blue carbon” reserves in mangroves and seagrasses in protected areas of the country, as well as the reserves of carbon in wetlands.

For his part, the founder of NOAH, Frederic Degret, confirmed that “to articulate this great project, Panama will host the international headquarters of an Intelligent Carbon Exchange Market, as we have agreed in the Memorandum of Understanding signed between UNWTO and NOAH.”

The UNWTO, NOAH and Panama ensure the transition to a tourism sector with net zero emissions and focused on improving people’s lives.

First published at – Global Travel News

First published at – Global Travel News

Putting Women’s Empowerment Centre Stage in Tourism’s Recovery

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Putting Women’s Empowerment Centre Stage in Tourism’s Recovery

Madrid, Spain, November 13, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has launched the ‘Centre Stage’ project, with the support of German Federal Ministry for Economic Development (BMZ), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and UN Women.

Over the course of one year, from November 2021 – November 2022, the project will support the tourism sector in placing women’s empowerment and gender equality at the heart of recovery plans following the COVID-19 pandemic. The project will be piloted in four participating Member States in collaboration with the National Tourism Administrations of Jordan (MOTA), Costa Rica (ICT), the Dominican Republic (MITUR) and Mexico (SECTUR).

The impact of COVID-19 on women in tourism

Women make up more than half of the tourism workforce at a global level (54%), according to the Global Report on Women in Tourism, Second Edition. However, women are often concentrated in low-skilled or informal work and have fewer opportunities for education and career development. As a result, women in the sector have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19, with less access to social protections and a reduced capacity to absorb the economic shock caused by the pandemic.

Nevertheless, the tourism sector has historically provided women with opportunities for empowerment, offering many a livelihood and source of autonomy. For this reason, UNWTO has identified the recovery phase of the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to address the gender inequality in the sector.

Concrete measures towards gender equality

Under the ‘Centre Stage’ project, the participating National Tourism Administrations and tourism businesses will implement a one-year action plan containing a series of concrete measures designed to increase opportunities for women’s empowerment. They will be supported by local NGOs, professional organizations and be accompanied by UNWTO through a series of virtual and in-person training opportunities.

The measures included in the Action Plans span the 6 areas of work considered key for gender equality and women’s empowerment in tourism: Employment; Entrepreneurship; Education and training; Leadership, policy and decision making; Community and civil society; Measurement for better policies. The measures have been targeted to the needs identified in the four pilot countries and look to address the specific challenges women face in each.

A total of 10 tourism businesses and 4 NGOs/community organizations will join the participating National Tourism Administrations to implement the measures. UNWTO recently organized two informative webinars for participants from Jordan as well as Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic and Mexico.

The activities of ‘Centre Stage’ will get underway in November 2021 and include training sessions with a gender focus, personalized guidance aiming to improve working conditions for women in the sector and producing data on the effects of the pandemic on female employment in tourism.

First published at – Global Travel News

First published at – Global Travel News

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