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UN taskforce established to ‘redesign tourism’

A UN taskforce has been established in order to “redesign tourism for the future”.

The taskforce, co-chaired by Spain and Saudi Arabia, has a focus on the needs of developing countries and is due to be convened within a month.

It hopes to provide representation of UNWTO members in all regions of the world. Ministers in support of the taskforce say it should be ready to report back to the UNWTO executive council with specific recommendations and a work plan, within three months of starting work.

Saudi Arabia’s tourism minister, Ahmed Al Khatee, said: “We are all in strong agreement that tourism is a vital part of our economies and that, unless the sector recovers, our economies will not recover to the pre-pandemic levels.

“Accelerating the recovery will require a level of international coordination and cooperation that has been absent for much of the past two years.

“The UNWTO has a critical part to play and this requires improvements to its working methods so that they become more effective and more transparent.

“This new taskforce will spearhead these efforts and drive this agenda vigorously forward.”

Spanish tourism minister, Reyes Maroto, said: “We need to strengthen the agenda and workings of the UNWTO, to provide the right foundations for the future of tourism, to ensure real, meaningful, and measurable benefits for member states and for all those who depend on tourism for their livelihoods, as well as to facilitate closer working with the private sector.”

Dr Najib Balala, Kenyan minister of tourism, said: “Tourism is a critical part if economies especially in developing countries.

“The pandemic has demonstrated a serious gap in the ability of the UNWTO to support and facilitate international coordination and collaboration for the benefit of the sector globally. The agreement to establish a new task force is an important step forward.

“I look forward to working with this new group to accelerate the recovery and advance this important agenda.”

Edmund Bartlett, Jamaican minister of tourism, added: “This marks a critical step forward towards a new and brighter future for the UNWTO. This organisation has a crucial role to play, and it will only succeed with the full support and commitment of its member states, empowered through a more transparent and more effective working mechanism.

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