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G20 backs WTO roadmap to make tourism a key driver of SDGs

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The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), in coordination with the G20 economies, has developed a roadmap to make tourism a central pillar of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

As a Knowledge Partner of India, which holds the G20 Presidency, UNWTO launched the Goa Tourism Roadmap at the meeting of tourism ministers from the world’s major economies as a tool to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

This is a road map for people and the planet, as the G20 economies account for approximately 85% of global GDP, more than 75% of global trade, and roughly two-thirds of the world’s population.

Between the launch of the 2030 Agenda in 2015 and the deadline for its completion, UNWTO called on G20 tourism ministers to take the lead in contributing to the accelerated achievement of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

The Goa Roadmap, developed with the Tourism Working Group, is based on five priority areas under India’s G20 presidency:

The Roadmap for Tourism in Goa as a Tool to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals provides the G20 economies with a proposed action plan to lead towards a better future for all. The five priority areas are:

*Green Tourism: Recognizing the urgent need for commitment to climate action and environmental protection and related international cooperation, the Goa Roadmap incorporates the G20 economies and guest countries on issues such as financing, sustainable infrastructure and resource management Recommends actions and good practices, integrating approaches in the circular economy tourism value chain and making tourists key players in sustainable development.

*Digitalisation: The roadmap identifies a wide range of benefits to support businesses and destinations adopting digitalisation, including increased productivity, improved infrastructure management and a safer and more efficient visitor experience.

*Skills: The roadmap reflects one of UNWTO’s core priorities for the industry, emphasizing the need to equip tourism workers, especially youth and women, with the skills employers need to fit the tourism jobs of the future and make the industry a More attractive career paths.

*Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in tourism: With micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) accounting for 80% of all tourism businesses globally, the roadmap highlights the role of public policy and public-private partnerships in addressing key challenges, including financing, marketing and skills gaps and market access to support MSMEs through digital and sustainable transformation.

* Destination management: The roadmap presents a series of proposed actions to create a holistic approach to destination management, strengthen public-private community partnerships and enhance a whole-of-government approach. It further shared examples of innovative initiatives between the G20 and invited countries.

Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization, said: “As tourism rebounds to near pre-pandemic levels, we must ensure that the recovery is sustainable, inclusive and resilient. A roadmap on tourism as a tool to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals provides G20 economies with a proposed action plan to lead towards a better future for all.”

G. Kishan Reddy, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Development, North East Region, Government of India, said: “Tourism can help address many of the challenges facing our society while transforming itself to address its socio-economic impact.”

“Working together to develop a common roadmap for recovery and long-term sustainable development will unlock its enormous potential to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals,” he added.

On the occasion, UNWTO and UNEP, together with the Indian Ministry of Tourism, hosted a side event entitled “Towards a Circular Economy for Plastics in Tourism – Global Tourism Plastics Initiative”.

The Global Tourism Plastics Initiative provides a shared vision for a circular economy for tourism plastics. The side event provided delegates and attendees with practical guidance on addressing plastic pollution in tourism operations.

Participants included country (India, Indonesia), accommodation (ITC Hotels, Leela Palaces Hotels & Resorts, Indian Hotels Limited) and airline (International Air Transport Association – (IATA)) representatives.

India’s Central Node Authority for Sustainable Tourism, a technical agency of the Ministry of Tourism, is a signatory to the Global Plastics in Tourism Initiative, along with the Punjab State Government and the Responsible Tourism Association of India.-TradeArabia News Service

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