February 17 will be celebrated as Global Tourism Resilience Day every year, starting this month.

The United Nations General Assembly has adopted a resolution from Jamaica to declare the first-ever Global Tourism Resilience Day in an effort to future-proof the sustainability of tourism.

The move to mark the day annually was supported by more than 90 countries.

“The pandemic has shown us that global disruptions will continue, so there will be more epidemics, pandemics and earthquakes like the one in Turkey. The importance of this day is therefore to encourage capacity-building for the world to be better able to respond to these global disruptions and recover quickly,” said Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, at the UNGA’s 58th plenary meeting in New York on Monday.

At the beginning of the meeting, the assembly observed a one-minute silence for those in Turkey and Syria affected bu the earthquake.

Tourism is one of the world’s major economic sectors, but it’s also one of the most vulnerable industries.

The last few years have shown that despite an insatiable desire for travel, the tourism industry remains vulnerable and needs resilience to survive everything from hurricanes to armed conflict, volcanic eruptions and global pandemics.

Petra empty of tourists during the global pandemic. The tourism industry is one of the world's largest, but also one of its most vulnerable. Reuters

“This announcement will in fact signal to the world to put aside one day, February 17, every year to not just observe, but also create a greater level of consciousness around resilience,” added Bartlett.

“If we are to future-proof the sustainability of tourism, now is the time to give greater consideration for building resilience.”

The UNGA invites everyone to observe February 17 as a day to raise awareness of the importance of sustainable tourism, in accordance with local, regional and national priorities and through education, activities and events.

The first Global Tourism Resilience Conference will be held in Jamaica on February 15, culminating on Global Tourism Resilience Day.

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