UNWTO and FAO sign MoU for developing tourism for rural development
Madrid/IBNS: The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has been working closely with fellow UN agencies from the start of the COVID-19 crisis in leading the sector’s response to the pandemic and now guiding the global restart of tourism.
In keeping with their collaborative efforts, UNWTO has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) that will see the two agencies work together to advance shared goals relating to the sustainable and responsible growth of rural tourism.
This new MoU is in sync with the theme of World Tourism Day 2020, Tourism and Rural Development.
UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said that this MoU between UNWTO and the FAO emphasises the cross-cutting nature of tourism and the importance of cooperation at every level to ensure the sector works for everyone.
“Both tourism and agriculture are lifelines for communities around the world. The agreement is particularly timely as it comes as we recognize 2020 as the year of Tourism for Rural Development. This was also the theme of World Tourism Day, highlighting the role tourism must play in providing opportunities for rural communities and driving social and economic recovery,” said Zurab Pololikashvili.
According to a release following the signing of the MoU, a central aim of the collaboration will be to increase the resilience of rural communities against social and economic shocks through growing tourism and making it both more sustainable and inclusive.
Across the FAO’s Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) network of communities, tourism is a leading driver of equality, with the sector employing women and youth and giving them a stake in economic growth.
Tourism is also a protector of the rich cultural heritage that characterizes many of the communities within the GIAHS network, for instance through keeping folklore and other traditions alive for future generations.
Key priorities, as outlined in the agreement, include encouraging entrepreneurship within rural communities, particularly among youth and women, with the aim of providing them with access to both local and global markets for their products.
Other priorities include fostering education and skills so as to provide communities with opportunities within the tourism sector.