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.
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.”