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EVENT: Transforming Tourism for a resilient and sustainable post-COVID world

  • Published on October 23, 2020
This event will provide an overview of the impacts of COVID-19 on the tourism sector and evaluate stimulus packages and recovery plans

Date: November 9th

Time: 13:00-14:00 CET

The tourism sector is one of those hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Rebuilding tourism is an opportunity for transformation with a focus on building more resilient communities and businesses through innovation, circularity, digitalization, sustainability, and partnerships.

The causes and consequences of the zoonotic COVID-19 disease highlight the links between tourism and nature. Tourism has helped to conserve nature and protect endangered species but the pandemic and the subsequent closure of natural protected areas has had a destructive impact on the communities responsible for the protected areas.

With its high climate and environmental footprint, the growth of tourism over recent years has put achieving the climate targets of the Paris Agreement at risk. Transport-related greenhouse gas emissions from tourism have been estimated at 5% of all human originated emissions and could rebound sharply if the recovery of the sector is not aligned with climate goals.

The increased health and safety requirements related to the COVID-19 response increase waste generation and water use creating additional pressure in popular destinations where waste and water systems are already under significant stress.

The current planning of recovery and related investments by the public and private actors is critical in steering tourism models into sustainability and capturing opportunities for biodiversity conservation, climate action and circular economy.

This event will convene European government representatives, tourism institutions and international organisations to explore how sustainable tourism can build back greener towards a more sustainable tourism industry in a post-COVID scenario.

It will provide an overview of the impacts of COVID on the tourism sector and evaluate how stimulus packages and recovery plans could be aligned with a transition that meets health and safety requirements, leads to an inclusive green economy and meets the sustainable development agenda, and climate commitments.

Click here to register for the event


13:00 Welcome and introductions: Bruno Pozzi, Director, Europe Office, UNEP

13:05 Setting the scene: Dr Anna Spenceley, Chair of the IUCN Tourism and Protected Areas Specialist Group

13:15 Panel session: Sustainable tourism policies and practices during the COVID-19 recovery - needs, tools and benefits


  • Marika Palosaari, Programme Coordinator, Europe office, UNEP


  • Anne Pluvinage-Nierengarten, Head of the Global Affairs Unit, Directorate for European and International Affairs, Ministry for the Ecological Transition, France
  • Peter Haxton , Policy Analyst, Tourism Unit, OECD
  • Sergio Guerreiro, Director, Tourism Portugal
  • Alina Szasz, Public Manager, Carpathian Sustainable Tourism Center
  • Tim Fairhurst, Secretary General, European Tourism Association

14:00 - 14:25 Questions and answers session

14:25 - 14:30 Closing remarks


Engage further with Sustainable Tourism

Interested in getting more involved in sustainable tourism?

Check out the Sustainable Tourism Programme here 

Check out the One Planet Vision for a Responsible Recovery of the Tourism Sector

Are you a tourism company or destination and wondering you how can address plastic pollution?

Check out the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative here, to learn more and sign the pledge to take action and start eliminating, innovating and circulating plastics


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