UNESCO online debate on Tourism and COVID-19,

UNESCO will host an online international debate on Culture, Tourism and COVID-19: Recovery, Resiliency and Rejuvenation on 28 September from 1.30pm – 3pm CET with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM). Held on the occasion of World Tourism Day (27 September), the debate will focus on new approaches to tourism in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic that are resilient and sustainable, able to support the recovery of local communities, as well as the cultural and creative industries and cultural heritage

The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the tourism industry and impacted many World Heritage sites, intangible cultural heritage practices, cultural activities and institutions as well as their communities, many of which depend on tourism. This has jeopardized millions of livelihoods and affected the social and cultural values of communities. The pandemic has also increased the vulnerability of many World Heritage sites and other protected areas poaching and looting.

The debate will explore how the current pause in global travel can be used to develop new models and approaches to ensure a resilient and sustainable tourism recovery that supports communities, creates jobs, promotes culture, protects heritage and its transmission. Participants will also look at recent models and practices implemented by the travel and tourism sector in response to the crisis.

Ernesto Ottone R., UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Culture, will open the debate, which will bring together representatives from the tourism industry, World Heritage management authorities and tourism thought leaders, among them Fergus T. Maclaren, President of ICOMOS International Cultural Tourism Committee, Joseph King, Director of Partnership and Communication at ICCROM, Mizuki Murai, World Heritage Conservation Officer at IUCN, Anna Pollock, Conscious Travel, Dr. Suleiman Farajat, Chief Commissioner, Petra Archaeological Park, Sisa Ntshona, Chief Executive Officer of South African Tourism and Katherine Cheng, Head of Global Corporate Social Responsibility & Community Relations at Expedia Group, Inc.

The debate will be in English, and viewers will be able to ask questions and contribute ideas and comments through a live chat. French translation may also be made available.

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