The secretary-general of the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), Zurab Pololikashvili, has reaffirmed commitment to working closely with the government of Brazil to help the country’s tourism sector recover and become a key driver of sustainable development. Pololikashvili led a UNWTO delegation to meet with President Jair Bolsonaro and minister of tourism Marcelo Álvaro Antônio, on a first visit to the Americas region since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The highlight of the visit was a meeting with President, during which Pololikashvili thanked him for making tourism a central part of his government’s agenda and for his ongoing support for UNWTO. The President and his government were cited as a strong example of Member States working together with UNWTO to advance education and training in the tourism sector, foster innovation, and drive both job creation and investment.
In meetings between the UNWTO leadership and Antônio, he outlined how he has been working to support the sector through the unprecedented crisis posed by the pandemic. Measures taken include advancing USD 1 billion of loans to support tourism businesses, as well as promoting investments in the sector, including through modifying the existing legal framework.
Alongside this, UNWTO is working closely with private partner Wakalúa, the first global tourism innovation hub, and the Brazilian government to make the country a hub of tourism innovation. Furthermore, the Brazilian government used the occasion of these meetings to again express an interest in hosting a new UNWTO Regional Office for the Americas.
Pololikashvili also used the occasion of the official visit to Brazil to share the steps UNWTO is taking to ensure confidence returns to international tourism. These include plans to introduce a new International Code for the Protection of Tourists, which will also have the additional benefit of spreading responsibility for tourists faced with emergency situations more fairly across the sector.