• Tourism is on track for a full recovery by the end of the year. Overall, international arrivals reached 80% of pre-pandemic levels in the first quarter of 2023. An estimated 235 million
tourists travelled internationally in the first three months, more than double the same period of 2022. Europe reached 90% of pre-pandemic levels, driven by strong intra-regional demand.
• What it Means: The start of the year has shown again tourism’s unique ability to bounce back. In many places, we are close to or even above pre-pandemic arrivals levels.
• Looking Ahead: What’s in Store? The Q1 2023 results are in line with UNWTO’s forward-looking scenarios for the year, which project international arrivals to recover 80% to 95% of pre-pandemic levels.
• What Challenges May Lie Ahead? The combination of increasing interest rates in all major economies, rising energy, oil, and food prices (inflation), and the growth prospects of a global recession, as indicated by the World Bank, are major threats to the recovery of international tourism through the remainder of 2023.
About the UNWTO Regional Commission for Europe
• The UNWTO convenes its Commission for Europe (CEU) to address regional tourism issues and promote cooperation among Member States. The CEU focuses specifically on tourism development and cooperation in the European region.
• Among its decisions, the Regional Commission for Europe will:
– Nominate candidates to the various General Assembly offices and its subsidiary bodies;
– Nominate two candidates to the Task Force on “Redesigning Tourism for the Future”;
– Recommend the venue of the World Tourism Day 2024 and the venue of the 69th meeting of the UNWTO Commission for Europe in 2024.
– Prepare for the 25th session of the UNWTO General Assembly in October 2023 in Uzbekistan.
Side Conference: Education and Skills in Medical and Wellbeing Tourism (Sofia, Bulgaria)
• On the 2nd of June 2022, the conference will primarily focus on identifying the skills and expertise most in demand to ensure sustainable growth in the medical and wellbeing tourism sector. Emphasis will be placed on adapting education and training programs to align with the new market reality.
• Distinguished speakers from esteemed organizations, including the European Commission, the World Travel and Tourism Council, the European Travel Commission, the European Spa Association, and the Bulgarian Union of Balneology and Spa Tourism, will participate in the conference.
Activities during the Commission
• UNWTO – AVIAREPS Partnership: As part of the ongoing collaboration (since March 2023), the following objectives have been established to empower Member States by providing the Full Package Grant for International Promotion and In-Depth International Travel Trade and Consumer Research,
• Announcement of the UNWTO Competition on Event Tourism: Mega Events and MICE Tourism: The latest UNWTO competition aims to identify and support ideas focused on making Mega Events and MICE Tourism more innovative
Looking Back: UNWTO 118th Session of the Executive Council
(Punta Cana, República Dominicana. 16-18 May 2023)
The 118 Session steered UNWTO ́s efforts to better advocate for investment in tourism; promote jobs, training, and education; address the impact of tourism climate change, and enhance governance. Furthermore, it provided an avenue for Member States to share knowledge and best practices, strengthening cooperation and alliances in the tourism sector. Among the decisions, the Executive Council:
• Endorsed the UNWTO rebranding presented by the Secretary-General and its specific elements;
• Approved the terms of reference of the Working Group on Health and Travel & Tourism, as proposed by Mauritius;
• Encouraged the Member States to contribute to the work of the Task Force by sharing substantive proposals with the Secretariat;
• Welcomed the progress on the establishment of Regional Offices in Argentina, Brazil, and Morocco;
• Endorsed the draft Regular Budget of the Organization for 2024-2025.
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Looking Ahead: World Tourism Day 2023
(Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 27 September 2023)
Saudi Arabia will be the host of the World Tourism Day 2023 celebrations under the theme “Tourism and Green Investments”, highlighting the need for more and better-targeted investments for people, for the planet, and for prosperity.
• This international observance day for tourism will highlight the vital need to deliver investment for projects that work for People (by investing in education and skills), Planet (by investing in sustainable infrastructure and accelerating green transformation), and Prosperity (by investing in innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship).
• Investments that integrate sustainability measures, skills training, entrepreneurship and digitalization into tourism operations will influence most of the drivers of the sector’s growth: cost efficiency, city policies, internal sustainability goals, brand image, women empowerment, skilled workforce, and guest satisfaction.
Information provided by the UNWTO