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UN General Assembly hosts tourism for sustainable development event

The President of the General Assembly reiterated the importance of collaboration and partnership to address the complex challenges facing the tourism sector and reaffirmed the UN’s commitment to supporting sustainable tourism as a catalyst for positive change.

The United Nations General Assembly has held a second thematic event focused on tourism and the sector’s critical role in critical role of tourism in advancing sustainable development and resilience.

Organized by the President of the General Assembly in collaboration with UN Tourism, the event was held at the UN Headquarters within the framework of Sustainability Week. The presence of Member States, Observers, civil society organizations, and UN agencies reflected a growing collective commitment to harnessing the transformative power of tourism for inclusive and sustainable development.

UN Tourism

UN Tourism Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili.

Addressing the General Assembly, UN Tourism Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “The growing significance of the tourism sector for our societies and our economies brings with it extra responsibility. We cannot allow the lifeline of tourism to be cut again. Resilience in the tourism is not just a matter of planning or reacting to crises. It is also about proactively addressing the underlying factors of those crises. Unsustainable consumption is leading to biodiversity loss, climate change and the emergence of pandemics. It’s vital that we adopt policies that accelerate transformative change.”

The President of the General Assembly, His Excellency Dennis Francis, said: “We need a global tourism sector that is sustainable – one with deep local value chains that expand demand for locally made products and services in ways that also directly and positively benefit local communities; a sector that serves as a positive force for biodiversity conservation, heritage protection and climate friendly livelihoods.”

UN Tourism

President of the General Assembly, Dennis Francis.

High-level platform for statistics-led strategy

The thematic event provided a platform for Member States to share best practices, strategies, and innovative approaches to promote sustainable and resilient tourism, aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Key highlights included:

  • Fireside Chat: The Future of Tourism – Leaders from the tourism industry, academia, and civil society engaged in a dynamic discussion on the future of tourism and the need for innovative solutions to address emerging challenges and opportunities.
  • Ministerial Roundtables: Discussions were held on the launch of the Statistical Framework for Measuring the Sustainability of Tourism and strategies for fostering resilient tourism in the face of global challenges. Ministers and high-level officials shared insights and commitments to advance sustainable tourism practices and policies.

UN Tourism

In February, the UN General Assembly adopted a Resolution to declare 2027 as the International Year of Sustainable and Resilient Tourism. The resolution invites UN Tourism to work with Governments, UN agencies and international organizations to on the implementation of the themed year.

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