Throughout 2020, the UNWTO has constantly insisted on the promotion of investments in the tourism sector as a key to its recovery and strengthening. And it has launched numerous initiatives to encourage both the public and private sectors to invest in the third largest sector of the world economy, only behind chemicals and oil.
In the first six months of 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in tourism fell by 73 per cent, according to UNWTO data. A very significant drop if we consider that in 2019 the peak of investment growth was reached, which had been constant since 2016: 61.8 billion in FDI.
Investments are a crucial component for the recovery and strengthening of the tourism ecosystem, as many participants agreed during the first Investment Forum organized by UNWTO last September in Tbilisi (Georgi).
But it is not only about investing money, but also about innovating financial mechanisms, promoting ‘green’ investment and using new technologies. In short, making investments in the tourism sector sustainable, in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goals, and contributing to the creation of innovative initiatives.
The UNWTO Executive Council, which will meet in Madrid on 18 and 19 January, will analyse the Investment Forum’s work proposals, which have been proposed along four lines: promoting investment networks; disseminating investment trends; increasing international cooperation to facilitate investment; and offering perspectives that promote the exchange of knowledge on investment attraction.
Beyond financial instruments that provide liquidity to support the tourism value chain in the short term, what the World Tourism Organization officials propose is to “create investment vehicles that accelerate technology diffusion, inclusion and sustainability for the sake of the sector’s resilience in the post-VID-19 world.
In this regard, a major focus will be on working with private sector partners to promote green financing and share experiences on sustainable building resources. Initial cooperation is already taking the form of a series of training programmes to promote green investment for the long-term recovery of the tourism sector.