Top News UN report underscores tourism’s key role in global economic recovery By TTG Asia / Posted on 18 January, 2022 12:18 Tourism’s critical role as a source of employment and economic development will determine growth for the global economy, notes the 2022 edition of the World Economic Situation and Prospects by the United Nations. Drawing on data from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the report underlines the sector’s particular economic importance for developing economies, including Small Island Developing States (SIDS). The tourism sector employs one in 10 people globally; Pattaya Beach stripped of tourists due to Covid pictured After a global contraction of 3.4 per cent in 2020 and a rebound of 5.5 per cent in 2021, the world economy is projected to grow by four per cent this year and 3.5 per cent in 2023. UNWTO secretary-general Zurab Pololikashvili said in a statement: “The sudden halt in international tourism caused by the pandemic has emphasised the sector’s importance to both national economies and individual livelihoods. The flagship UN report makes use of UNWTO data and analysis to assess the cost of declining tourism and illustrates just how important restarting tourism will be in 2022 and beyond.” The report notes the pandemic and tourism crisis’ devastating impact on employment, including in hospitality, travel services and retail trade, causing disproportionate effects on vulnerable groups, including youth and migrant workers, as well as workers with lower educational attainment and skills. Exacerbation of the gender divide is evident, especially in developing countries, with women seeing greater declines in employment and labour force participation than men. Further analysing the sector’s role in economic recovery, the report notes that many destinations, in particular tourism-dependent countries, will need to diversify their tourism throughout 2022 and beyond. Many destinations are already developing domestic and rural tourism to help local economies in rural and depressed areas to boost job creation and protect natural resources and cultural heritage, while at the same time empowering women, youth and indigenous peoples. Additionally, the report notes how SIDS can take steps to ensure local businesses and workers retain more of the economic benefits that international tourism brings.