The travel industry must remerge from the Covid-19 crisis with sustainability at its heart, the UN’s agency for tourism has declared.

Speaking on World Environment Day (Friday, June 5), the general secretary of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Zurab Pololikashvili, said: “Sustainability must no longer be a niche part of tourism but must be the new norm for every part of our sector.

He added: “This is one of the central elements of our Global Guidelines to Restart Tourism. It is in our hands to transform tourism and that emerging from Covid-19 becomes a turning point for sustainability.”

The UNWTO has published a document outlinining its vision for a more sustainable future for travel: the One Planet Vision for the Responsible

Recovery of the Tourism Sector, which builds on UNWTO’s global guidelines to restart tourism and that it says will help the industry meet sustainability goals related to the 2016 Paris Agreement on climate change.

The UNWTO says sustainability “must no longer be a niche part of tourism” but must be “the new norm for every part of our sector” and calls for better, more sustainable, and resilient growth.

It argues that rebuilding with sustainability as the foundation will underpin tourism’s resilience to be better prepared for future crises after its recovery from Covid-19.

The One Planet Vision for the Responsible Recovery of the Tourism Sector is structured around six lines of action to guide responsible tourism recovery for people, planet and prosperity, namely public health, social inclusion, biodiversity conservation, climate action, circular economy and governance and finance.

It aims to enhance the sustainable development impacts of the tourism sector by 2030 by developing, promoting and scaling up sustainable consumption and production practices that boost the efficient use of natural resources, while producing less waste and addressing the challenges of climate change and biodiversity.