On 8th July 2020, the Members of the Working Group (WG) on SDGs support met after almost three months and after monitoring the situation and the necessity to carry on the work of the WG in the context of COVID-19 as the new normality. It was well recognized by all members that tourism recovery and response measures must be sustainable, and the 2030 Agenda is a clear and practical roadmap to move forward. Being Cristina Ortega, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of WLO, part of this WG, we would like to share a brief summary on the outcomes achieved during this meeting.
During the WG session, it was highlighted that the current situation and the inequality existing in the societies are the real hindrance to tackle the current challenges. Also, all the participants, as experts in the field of tourism, agreed that the social aspect of the sustainability has not received enough attention and recognition. The word sustainability is associated with environmental conservation rather than considering the balance between social, economic and environmental development. Moreover, it was recalled that a lot of tourism work force’s livelihoods are still affected, and it is essential to find a solution. Moreover, it was recalled that some companies and organizations might need to reorient how they are working on SDGs due to COVID-19. Therefore, it is essential to see how the approaches have changed and how the old practices have been adapted to see how the industry perceive the situation and like to respond to it. Additionally, Members expressed their readiness and enthusiasm to collaborate on sharing their current existing best practices with the other UNWTO Affiliate Members and also beyond. As the result, they expressed their interests in holding a virtual expert meeting on Tourism and SDG: Solution for Recovery.