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UN Official Highlights Need For Resilient, Sustainable Tourism

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On Tuesday, the President of the United Nations General Assembly highlighted the urgent need to boost sustainable and resilient tourism practices to protect the environment while continuing to benefit local economies.

Dennis Francis spoke at a high-level meeting on tourism as part of the General Assembly’s first-ever Sustainability Week.

As the Trinidad and Tobago national pointed out, tourism is not just a sector but a vital catalyst for economic growth and empowerment, underscoring its significance in the global landscape.

In 2023, the sector contributed three percent to the global gross domestic product (GDP), amounting to $3.3 trillion.

Tourism also employs one in every ten people worldwide.

For small island nations, tourism accounts for nearly 35 percent of all export earnings and up to 80 percent of national exports.

However, the UN General Assembly President warned that tourism is also intrinsically susceptible to disruptive forces despite the spectacular benefits reaped across its vast supply chains.

Francis mentioned climate change, pandemics, acts of terrorism, and domestic political instability among the disruptive forces.

He also expressed concerns about tourism’s environmental and carbon footprint, saying sustainability must be paramount.

In this regard, the Trinidad and Tobago diplomat stressed the need to minimize tourism’s vulnerabilities and bolster its ability to withstand external shocks.

It included designing infrastructures that can withstand environmental disasters, fostering innovations that enhance economic and social resilience, and diversifying tourism activities to reduce recovery time after disruptive events.

 

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