Restarting Tourism Essential amid Cascading Effects of Ukraine War on Global Economy, Deputy Secretary-General Tells General Assembly Thematic Debate

Following is the text of UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed’s video message to the high-level thematic debate of the General Assembly on “Putting sustainable and resilient tourism at the heart of an inclusive recovery”, in New York today:

Your Excellency, Mr. Abdulla Shahid, President of the General Assembly, Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization, Excellencies, tourism is a driver of growth and development.  It provides direct and indirect livelihoods for hundreds of millions of people.  It empowers communities, women, youth and indigenous peoples and allows people worldwide to appreciate and benefit from diverse cultures and nature.

But tourism is in turmoil.  The sector has been among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, with particularly harsh consequences for many least developed countries, small island developing States, countries in Africa, and middle-income countries, where it is an essential source of employment, foreign currency earnings and tax revenues.

With the war in Ukraine producing alarming cascading effects on the world economy, and especially on the fiscal spaces of many developing countries, restarting tourism is essential.  This high-level thematic debate provides an opportunity to recognize the tourism sector as a key driver of a sustainable and inclusive recovery, with a focus on making it more resilient in the face of future crises, especially in tourism-dependent countries.

Every part of the United Nations system, including the World Tourism Organization as its specialized agency for the sector, can leverage tourism to help us achieve the Sustainable Development Goals — from inclusive growth to gender empowerment and biodiversity protection.  In this regard, we look forward to strengthening the linkages between the World Tourism Organization and our new generation of UN country teams, as the Organization considers joining the UN Sustainable Development Group.

The pandemic has taught us the importance of a healthy planet, not only to sustain tourism but also as a natural barrier against future pandemics.  The future of tourism must have sustainability at its core and incorporate circular, low-carbon and inclusive business models and policies.

Ladies and gentlemen, I sincerely hope today’s debate will be taken as an opportunity to rethink and transform tourism to maximize its contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals, ultimately supporting our efforts to build a robust, inclusive, resilient and sustainable recovery which leaves no one behind.

I thank you.

For information media. Not an official record.