Tourism at its best is an astonishing tool for sustainable development. At its worst, tourism can inflict cruel damage upon societies and environments. The current COVID-19 hiatus offers the sector an opportunity for transformation.
“The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) must seize that opportunity that has opened before us for structural change,” said HE Mai Al Khalifa, the candidate Bahrain has nominated to compete for the post of Secretary General for UNWTO.
“We should be relentless in defining and delivering achievable outputs that maximize contribution to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This, in my view, requires a particular emphasis on reducing climate-change harm, including moving wherever possible towards support for more ‘local’ forms of tourism,” she said.
HE Mai Al Khalifa believes that to ensure that it is fit for purpose to manage crisis and sectoral change, UNWTO needs to reflect on its own ability to innovate and deliver value for money to the full range of both its current and its potential Members.
Her vision for the future of UNWTO depends upon seven pillars:
– Crisis Management and Future Planning
– Tourism and the SDGs
– Finance and Membership
– Innovation and Technology
– Increasing Collaboration with International Organizations
– Education, Training, and Employment
– Harnessing the Private Sector
The UNWTO is the United Nations agency accountable for the promotion of responsible, sustainable, and universally-accessible tourism. With the current COVID-19 pandemic, it is necessary for UNWTO leaders to think outside the box, prioritize, and have the expertise to move forward.
When Bahrain nominated HE Mai Al Khalifa to run for the post of UNWTO Secretary General, it is because they believe she is the person who will be able to guide tourism out of this global crisis. If elected, she will be the first woman to lead this global UN-affiliated agency. As in the manner in which America has elected a new President and its first woman Vice President to lead from the negativity of 2020 and into a hopeful 2021 and beyond, it may very well be a woman that should also take the reins at UNWTO and lead the organization into a brighter future.