Tourism at its best is an amazing tool for sustainable development. At worst, tourism can inflict cruel damage on communities and the environment. The current COVID-19 break gives the sector an opportunity for transformation.
“That United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) must seize the opportunity opened up to us for structural change, ”said HE Mai Al Khalifa, the candidate Bahrain has nominated to compete for the post of UNWTO Secretary-General.
“We must be relentless in defining and delivering achievable outputs that maximize the contribution to sustainable development goals (SDGs). In my opinion, this requires a special emphasis on reducing the damage to climate change, including moving where possible towards support for more ‘local’ forms of tourism, ”she said.
HE Mai Al Khalifa believes that the UNWTO needs to reflect on its own ability to innovate and deliver value for money to the full range of both current and potential members to ensure that it is fit for purpose in managing crisis and sectoral change. .
Her vision for the future of UNWTO depends on seven pillars:
– Crisis management and future planning
– Tourism and the SDGs
Finance and membership
– Innovation and technology
– Increased cooperation with international organizations
Education, training and employment
Exploitation of the private sector
UNWTO is the United Nations agency responsible for promoting responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism. With the current COVID-19 pandemic, it is necessary for UNWTO leaders to think outside the box, prioritize and have the expertise to move forward.
When Bahrain nominated HE Mai Al Khalifa to run as UNWTO Secretary-General, it is because they believe she is the person who will be able to lead tourism out of this global crisis. If she is elected, she will be it first woman to lead this global UN-affiliated agency. As in the way America has elected a new president and its first female vice president to lead from negativity in 2020 and into a hopeful 2021 and beyond, it may well be a woman who should also take the reins of the UNWTO and lead the organization into a brighter future.