European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) President Suma Chakrabarti and the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Friday at the UNWTO Headquarters in Madrid.
Under the MoU, the two institutions pledge to work together in promoting and fostering tourism for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda and the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The MoU is also aligned with the new property and tourism strategy the EBRD published on Thursday.
In particular, the EBRD and UNWTO are looking for ways to strengthen the role of the tourism sector for social, economic, and environmental development for regional integration and economic diversification.
“Fostering education and training in tourism for job creation and socioeconomic inclusion, by adopting the best practices to increase and improve skill sets in the sector, is a key priority for both the EBRD and UNWTO,” according to the UNWTO`s press statement.
The two institutions will also look to strengthen tourism governance and institutions, promote policy dialogue at the national and regional level on matters of common concern, facilitate investments and advocate for the increase of official development aid flows to the tourism sector, including through UNWTO.
“Tourism has become a central part of the global sustainable development agenda. Strengthening our partnership with the EBRD will help us drive the sector forward, deliver change in the tourism climate and digital economy, and help guide the growth of tourism in a responsible and inclusive manner for the benefit of all,” said Pololikashvili.
Chakrabarti said: “Travel and tourism represent a vitally important and fast-growing sector of the global economy, and can benefit poorer, more remote regions, opening up job opportunities, promoting economic inclusion for all and facilitating the transfer of valuable skills. These are all objectives central to the EBRD’s mission.”
Notably, the EBRD and UNWTO are longstanding partners. In 2015, the two institutions signed an agreement in the framework of the EBRD’s commitment for supporting inclusive and sustainable tourism in the economies where the bank invests, particularly in the southern and eastern Mediterranean region and the Western Balkans.