As the special event titled Aid for Trade Conference, hosted by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in Geneva, Switzerland, got rolling, the unique potential of tourism as a tool for driving the global sustainable development took centre stage.
In a session titled ‘Tourism Financing for the 2030 Agenda’ during the 2019 Global Review of Aid for Trade at the headquarters of the World Trade Organization (WTO), UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili highlighted the key role the global tourism sector plays in economic growth and job creation.
“Working together, we can harness the power of new aid architecture.”
Ministers, development partners and financing institutions need to better understand and recognise how tourism can contribute to the 2030 Sustainable Agenda. Tourism is explicitly mentioned as a target in three of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (8, 12 and 14), though, as speakers at the Geneva session noted, for the sector to really realise its enormous potential, the amount of aid and development financing directed towards tourism needs to be increased significantly.
“This is an important time for both the tourism and the international development sectors,” said Pololikashvili. “Strengthening and unlocking aid flows for tourism will help the sector be a driver of job creation, as well as of social and economic development and economic diversity. Working together, we can harness the power of the new aid architecture and ensure that nobody gets left behind as tourism transforms lives around the world,” he said.