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UNWTO Says International Tourism To Plunge Up To 30% Due to Pandemic

The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) also known as the World Tourism Organization is the United Nations specialized agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism. It is the leading international organization in the field of tourism which promotes tourism as a driver of economic growth, including development and environmental sustainability and offers leadership and support to the sector in advancing knwedge and tourism poilicies worldwide.

It serves as a global forum for tourism policy issues and a practical source of tourism knowledge. It encourages the implementation of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism to maximize the contribution of tourism to socio-economic development while minimizing it’s possible negative impacts, and is committed to promoting tourism as an instrument in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),headed towards eliminating poverty and fostering sustainable development and peace worldwide.

UNWTO generates market knowledge, promotes competitive and sustainable tourism policies and instruments fosters tourism education and training, and works to make tourism an effective tool for development through technical assistance projects in over 100 countries around the world.

Recognizing the UNWTO’s role in promoting the potential of tourism in fighting poverty and achieving the SDGs, the UN General Assembly declared 2017 as the international year of sustainable tourism for development (IY2017) and as of July 2p17, UNTWO features on the DAC/OECD’s list of development assistance organizations. Tourism is included in SDG 14:” conserve and sustainably use the oceans,seas and marine resources for sustainable development”.

In recent years,several capacity-buliding activities have been carried out by UNWTO and it’s member States (on a bilateral or regional level) and also with the support of some of the UNWTO sustainable tourism observations in various coastal countries. UNWTO pays special attention also to the situation of small Islands Developing States (SIDs) and to their challenges related to the development of a sustainable tourism.
Membership of the UNWTO which includes 158 States,six territories which are Felmish Community, Puerto Rico, Aruba, Hong Kong, Macau, Madeira and two permanent observers which are Holy See, Palestine. Seventeen state members have withdrawn from the organization at different periods in the past which are Australia, Bahamas, Bahrain, Belgium, Canada, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Grenada, Honduras, Kuwait, Latvia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Panama, Phillipines, Qatar, United Kingdom, Thailand and Puerto Rico.

UNTWO membership which includes 158 counties, 6 territories and over 158 affiliate members representing the private sector, educational institutions, tourism associations and local tourism authorities, non-government entities with specialized interests in tourism, commercial and non-commercial bodies and association with activities related to the aims of UNWTO or falling within it’s competence. It’s headquarters is in Madrid.

The official languages of UNWTO are Arabic, English, French, Russian and Spanish.
The objectives of the UNWTO are to promote and develop sustainable tourism to contribute to economic development, international understanding,peace, prosperity and universal respect for, and observance of human rights and fundamental freedom for all,without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion. In pursuing these aims, UNWTO pays particular attention to the interests of developing countries in the field of tourism.

The United Nations World Tourism Organization has noted that international travels will likely fall by 30% in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, putting millions of jobs in the global tourism sector at risk.

This revises sharply lower a forecast made on March 6 of a decline of just 1-3% due to the travel restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the disease and economic fallout of the outbreak.

The drop in arrivals will lead to an estimated vloss of $300-450billion in international tourism receipts,almost one third of the $1.5trillion generated in 2019,said the United Nations Body.

The UNWTO said it had revised it’s forecast to take into account “the unparalleled introduction of travel restrictions across the world” but it added ” should be interpreted with caution in view of the extreme uncertain nature of the current crisis”.
The body had predicted at the beginning of the year that International tourism would grow by 3-4% in 2020. “Tourism is among the hardest hit of all economic sectors,” the body secretary general had said in a statement, adding it is clear that millions of jobs within the sector at at risk.

The UNWTO noted that small and medium sized businesses make up around 80% of the tourism sector, which leads the way in providing jobs for women,youths and rur communities.
It was also noted that the tourism industry accounts for about 10% of the world’s GDP and jobs.

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