World Tourism Day, Rethinking Sustainably

To mark the occasion of World Tourism Day, which occurs annually on 27 September, ARC-WH stands committed to the promotion of sustainable tourism for World Heritage sites in the Arab region. COVID-19 has impacted countries and sites everywhere, and many in the region remain closed or only partially opened. With travel restrictions, lock-downs and social distancing, conventional tourism has been limited.

Traditional tourism has relied heavily on external visitors from various countries as the main source of income for local communities and economies. As a flipside to these restrictions and challenges, however, the current global pandemic has also given us the opportunity to rethink tourism on a more local and sustainable scale that is in line with the 2030 SGDs Global Agenda.

COVID-19 has shown the world that the conventional tourism model is not sustainable. The global community needs to reinvent tourism to create a system that is more resilient and inclusive. These new methods include ideas such as webinars and virtual tours, collaborating with local schools and universities to increase local interest and traditional knowledge, and many other initiatives that can reshape tourism globally.

ARC-WH stands in solidarity with the Arab States in the recovery of tourism to create a more resilient and sustainable form of local tourism that can both promote cultural heritage, while simultaneously, conserving heritage sites that not only hold universal value, but that have financially supported and contributed to local development and cultural traditions in the past.