UN: President of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) Abdulla Shahid has highlighted the need to build a more sustainable, resilient, and responsible global tourism sector as part of the “long journey” to recover from COVID-19.
At the first-ever High-Level Thematic Debate on Sustainable Tourism held at the UN headquarters in New York, Shahid said that the COVID-19 pandemic halted the entire tourism industry, dealing a “devastating blow to the global economy”, reports Xinhua news agency. “In 2019, prior to the pandemic, tourism contributed $3.5 trillion to global GDP. The precipitous drop during the pandemic is estimated to have cost up to 120 million jobs,” the UNGA President noted.
According to the UN Environment Programme’s Green Economy Report, a “business-as-usual” scenario predicts that by 2050, tourism will generate an increase of 154 percent in energy consumption for the sector, 131 per cent in greenhouse gas emissions, 152 per cent in water consumption, and 251 per cent in solid waste disposal.
Chief of the World Tourism Organization Zurab Pololikashvili commented that the current energy crisis contributes to the vulnerability of the tourism sector, while asserting that investments in tourism are also investments in peace. – IANS