The UN calls to rebuild the tourism sector in a safe, equitable and sustainable way

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Secretary General Antonio Guterres has warned that up to 100 million direct jobs are at risk and the massive drop in export earnings from tourism could reduce world GDP by as much as 2.8%

As part of the wider UN response to COVID-19, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres released today a thematic brief on the impact the pandemic has had on tourism. Drawing on the latest data from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the lead author of the publication, it warns that as many as 100 million direct tourism jobs are at risk, and the massive drop in export revenues from tourism could reduce global GDP by as much as 2.8%. The brief stresses that tourism is an essential pillar of the SDGs and the most vulnerable workers and nations at greatest risk.

Tourism has been among the hardest hit of all sectors by COVID-19 and no country has been unaffected, with restrictions on travel and a sudden drop in consumer demand leading to an unprecedented fall in international tourist numbers.

The “Tourism and COVID-19” Policy Brief from the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, makes clear the impact that the pandemic has had on global tourism and how this affects everything from jobs and economies to wildlife conservation and the protection of cultural heritage.

Mr Guterres said: that “It is imperative that we rebuild the tourism sector” in a “safe, equitable and climate friendly” manner and so “ensure tourism regains its position as a provider of decent jobs, stable incomes and the protection of our cultural and natural heritage”. The UN Secretary-General further underscored that tourism is one of the world’s most important economic sectors, providing “livelihoods to hundreds of millions more”, while it “boosts economies and enables countries to thrive”, and at the same time allowing “people to experience some of the world’s cultural and natural riches and brings people closer to each other, highlighting our common humanity”.