Madrid, Spain

30 November 2021

Secretary-General's video message to the General Assembly of the World Tourism Organization (WTO)

Watch the video: https://s3.amazonaws.com/downloads2.unmultimedia.org/public/video/ondemand/2689185_MSG%20SG%20WORLD%20TOURISM%20ORGANIZATION%2019%20NOV%2021.mov

The World Tourism Organization General Assembly meets as tourism’s relevance has never been clearer.

The COVID-19 pandemic hit tourism hard. Countries dependent on tourism have seen their revenues drop, with livelihoods badly affected.

For economies reliant on tourism, particularly those with large informal sectors and those impacted by the climate crisis, this is an economic catastrophe.

As we restart and recover from the pandemic, WTO has a key role in rethinking tourism and its interaction with societies, economies and our natural resources and ecosystems.

That means green tourism, with high-emitting sectors including air and sea transport aiming for carbon neutrality.

It means inclusive tourism that benefits marginalized communities and contributes to gender equality and inter-cultural understanding.   

And it means sustainable tourism, which builds resilience, protects our planet, and delivers on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

I [commend UNWTO and Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili, and] hope the decisions taken at this Assembly will help to restore trust in travel and get the world moving safely, so that developing economies can reap the benefits of sustainable tourism.

I wish you all the best for a successful meeting.