Global Tourism Resilience Day Focuses on Strengthening Sustainable Development

ASTANA – The United Nations’ Global Tourism Resilience Day, established by the United Nations General Assembly on Feb. 17 last year, aims to raise awareness of the need to promote resilient tourism development capable of withstanding both predictable and unexpected challenges. It underscores the tourism industry’s importance in achieving Sustainable Development Goals and calls for developing strategies to quickly restore tourism after disruptions.

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Many developing countries, including the least developed ones, rely on tourism as a primary source of income and employment. Without revenue from tourism, these economies would suffer significant losses, leading to a decline in living standards and associated socio-demographic problems.

The tourism industry is highly vulnerable to various factors, such as infectious disease outbreaks, natural disasters, conflicts, strikes, and others. Its severe impact during the COVID-19 pandemic was evident due to travel restrictions, border closures, and widespread quarantines.

According to data from the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), tourism contributed $3.5 trillion to the global economy in 2019, or 4% of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP). In 2021, the economic contribution of tourism was estimated at $1.9 trillion, exceeding the $1.6 trillion in 2020. This indicates that the cumulative losses in the direct contribution of tourism to GDP for 2020-2021 amounted to $3.5 trillion.

Resilient tourism helps create jobs, especially for women and youth, promotes economic growth, improves living conditions, and ultimately contributes to poverty eradication. It also plays a major role in preserving the environment, promoting sustainable use of natural resources and biodiversity, promoting the development of local communities (especially in rural areas), and supporting small local businesses and family farms.

UNWTO projected scenarios for 2023 indicated that international tourism would recover almost 90% of pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2023.

According to the latest data from the UNWTO, an estimated 975 million tourists traveled internationally between January and September 2023, an increase of 38% compared to the same period in 2022.

“The Middle East remains the top-performing region in terms of recovery, with arrivals surpassing pre-pandemic levels by 20%, making it the only world region to exceed 2019 levels during this period. Europe welcomed 550 million international tourists, accounting for 56% of the global total and representing 94% of pre-pandemic levels. Africa recovered 92% of its pre-pandemic visitors, while arrivals in the Americas reached 88% of 2019 numbers. Asia and the Pacific reached 62% of pre-pandemic levels during this period due to slower reopening to international travel,” according to the report.

Kazakhstan also experienced growth in its tourist flow last year, surpassing low pandemic levels. The country welcomed 834,900 foreign tourists from January to September 2023, a 37% increase compared to the same period in the previous year, as per the data released by the Kazakh Bureau of National Statistics.

The statistical data indicates a yearly expansion in the geography of foreign tourists visiting Kazakhstan, attracting travelers from neighboring countries and distant lands.

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