ABIDJAN, (Pakistan Point News - 28th Sep, 2021) Global tourism has reaffirmed its commitment to making the sector a pillar of inclusive growth. At the official World Tourism Day 2021 celebrations in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, political and business leaders united behind a common message of solidarity and determination to ‘leave nobody behind’ as tourism restarts and grows back.
In his message on the Day, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said:''On World Tourism Day, we recognize the power and potential of tourism to advance prosperity and drive inclusive, sustainable development. The tourism sector touches almost every part of our economies and societies, enabling historically marginalized people and those at risk of being left behind to benefit from development that is local and direct.'' He added tourism continues to suffer enormously under the COVID-19 pandemic: in the first five months of this year, international tourist arrivals decreased by a staggering 95 percent in parts of the world and forecasts suggest a loss of over $4 trillion to global GDP by the end of 2021. This is a major shock for developed economies, but for developing countries, it is an emergency.
''With many millions of livelihoods in jeopardy, it is time to rethink, transform, and safely restart tourism. With the right safeguards in place, the tourism sector can provide decent jobs, helping to build resilient, sustainable, gender-equal, inclusive economies and societies that work for everyone. This means targeted action and investment to shift towards green tourism – with high emitting sectors, including air and sea transport and hospitality, moving towards carbon neutrality.'' Prime Minister Patrick Achi and Minister of Tourism Siandou Fofana welcomed international delegates, signalling Cote d’Ivoire’s firm support of tourism and Tourism Ministers from 12 countries, the biggest Ministerial participation for an official World Tourism Day celebration. The day featured 1,500 participants, including representatives of international organizations and the private sector.
The Prime Minister said that "Cote d’Ivoire is proud to host a World Tourism Day like no other. It is important that we realign tourism so the sector meets the hopes and expectations of people. Tourism is a key sector for Cote d’Ivoire’s growth and development. And the right path for Cote d’Ivoire is also the right path for all of Africa, using tourism as a locomotion to drive our economies forward and create jobs for women and youth."
Minister of Tourism Siandou Fofana added that World Tourism Day 2021 "showed the human face of tourism," stressing the sector’s unique ability to lead recovery from the impacts of the pandemic, in Africa and worldwide.
Ministers and experts explored how the pledge to drive inclusive growth can be achieved. The importance of innovation, targeted investments and of strengthened collaboration between public and private sectors was made clear. The speakers also underscored the need for inclusive policymaking as tourism slowly returns and looks to the future.
Opening the day, UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili stressed the sector’s "commitment to inclusive growth so that tourism’s restart brings hope for millions worldwide and ensures that everyone who has a stake in tourism also has a say in its future".
In addition to recognising the challenges of the present, World Tourism Day also looked to the future. In Abidjan, "The Future of Africa" focused on the potential of the continent’s youth as well as its innovators and entrepreneurs. Against the backdrop of World Tourism Day, UNWTO signed two Memorandums of Understanding, reflecting the broad scope of tourism’s reach and relevance