The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has provided UNESCO with 2 million euros to address some of the immediate socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 on tourism and heritage. The project aims to support UNESCO’s efforts to accelerate the recovery, to protect livelihoods and to transform the sectors to become more inclusive and sustainable.
Working in collaboration with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, the project will expand the UNESCO Sustainable Tourism Pledge which promotes responsible practices, community resilience and heritage conservation, with the ultimate goal of changing the nature and impact of global tourism. Under the Pledge, signatories commit to supporting the reduction and elimination of single-use plastics and promoting local economies, cultures and activities.
The project will focus on engaging the tourism private sector to create incentives to boost sustainable practices by providing training and capacity building for key stakeholders. It will invest in cultural heritage preservation while creating short-term job opportunities by utilizing culture and heritage as a source of resilience. The project will be implemented over 18 months in seven countries (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Georgia, Indonesia, Kenya, Namibia and Viet Nam).
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has since seen tourism drastically decline in most countries. According to the latest World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) statistics, international arrivals dropped by 74% in 2020. Many World Heritage sites and associated communities are dependent upon tourism to maintain their economic, environmental, social and cultural well-being. Tourism underpins how many of these sites respond to the notion of providing a ‘life in the community’ which is mandated by the World Heritage Convention. Tourism is a vital source of income for many vulnerable groups, indigenous peoples and local communities.
This is an excerpt from an article originally published by the UNESCO World Heritage Centre.