The World Tourism Organization and COVID-19

The World Tourism Organization and COVID-19

The World Tourism Organization and COVID-19

The World Tourism Organization is the specialized agency of the United Nations that works to promote responsible, sustainable, and universally accessible tourism. Its headquarters is located in Madrid, Spain. The goal of the organization is to increase international tourism by addressing environmental, social, and economic issues. The organization is also committed to improving access to cultural and natural resources.


During COVID-19, the World Tourism Organization called for policies and measures to stimulate tourism recovery. To achieve this, the organization provides marketing, product diversification, and promotional assistance. It also advocates for strengthening tourism institutions to strengthen public-private partnerships and collaborate in tourism recovery. The agenda also highlights the importance of skills development to enhance tourism resilience.

Vaccines can help countries with high vaccination rates recover faster from the impact of the virus. However, it is estimated that tourism will not recover to its pre-pandemic levels until 2023. The slow containment of the virus, low traveler confidence, and poor economic conditions are all barriers to tourism recovery. This report estimates that the tourism sector could lose up to $1.7 trillion in 2021, excluding the benefits of government-run stimulus programmes.

Impact of COVID-19 on international tourism

The recent outbreak of COVID-19 has posed an especially difficult scenario for the tourism industry. Although it has not yet spread beyond China, it is expected to cause direct and indirect effects in other countries. The impact of the virus on international tourism is particularly serious for developing and smaller tourist destinations, and the crisis may pose particular challenges for these economies. Their high starting debt levels could limit their fiscal response, and the international community may need to help these emerging economies to adjust to the pandemic.

The panic caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has already hit the tourism industry hard. The industry has faced sharp declines in revenue and jobs, and may be the last to recover from the shock. In addition, the crisis has had a detrimental impact on many sectors, including the global economy and consumer confidence.

Impact of COVID-19 on sustainable development in tourism

The tourism industry is one of the most important drivers of global economic growth and is vital to local communities. The industry also generates a large number of jobs, particularly for women, young people, indigenous people, and migrant workers. Globally, tourism accounts for about one in ten jobs, and more than half of those workers are employed by small businesses. Tourism is a key contributor to national economies, representing 10% of total exports in 2019.

The COVID-19 crisis is creating an opportunity for tourism to rethink its role in sustaining livelihoods. Through the implementation of sustainable development principles, tourism can become resource-efficient, carbon neutral, and resilient. Ultimately, tourism can contribute to a better future for all. It can help alleviate the social impact of climate change, create jobs, and diversify the economy.

Efforts of UNWTO to achieve Sustainable Development Goals

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a set of 17 targets aimed at achieving economic growth while reducing environmental impacts and poverty. They are designed to tackle global challenges such as climate change, extreme poverty, and the loss of biodiversity, and are the cornerstone of the UN’s new Agenda 2030. Tourism has a unique role to play in the achievement of these goals.

The UNWTO is committed to supporting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by generating market knowledge and promoting sustainable tourism policies. It also supports and promotes tourism education and training, and works to make tourism an effective development tool. Its membership includes 160 countries worldwide.