UN Secretary General warns the loss of tourism jobs could be devastating for developing countries


(Posted 25th August 2020)

Given the widespread reopening in the Eastern African region, allowing scheduled passenger flights to operate and permitting tourist and business visitors to return – as long as certain conditionalities are observed by them – is it all the more unsettling that Uganda, in a rather backward fashion, keeps the airport closed and by doing so pushing the tourism and hospitality industry to the brink of ruin.

Perhaps will the powers that be in this country – after turning a deaf ear to the entire tourism, hospitality and aviation industry – listen to the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who overnight released a hard hitting and bitter truth telling statement about the impact, the loss of tourism revenues will have on the world and especially on developing countries.

Said the UN Secretary General in his message:

It is imperative that we rebuild the tourism sector in a safe, equitable and climate friendly manner

He went on to state:

Tourism has been among the hardest hit of all sectors by COVID-19 and no country has been unaffected, with restrictions on travel and a sudden drop in consumer demand leading to an unprecedented fall in international tourist numbers.’

The “Tourism and COVID-19” Policy Brief from the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, makes clear the impact that the pandemic has had on global tourism and how this affects everything from jobs and economies to wildlife conservation and the protection of cultural heritage.

Mr Guterres said: “It is imperative that we rebuild the tourism sector in a safe, equitable and climate friendly manner and [by doing] so ensure tourism regains its position as a provider of decent jobs, stable incomes and the protection of our cultural and natural heritage”.

The UN Secretary-General further underscored that tourism is one of the world’s most important economic sectors, providing “livelihoods to hundreds of millions more, while it boosts economies and enables countries to thrive, and at the same time allowing people to experience some of the world’s cultural and natural riches and brings people closer to each other, highlighting our common humanity”.

It is anyone’s guess now if Uganda’s leadership will listen to this stark message but time will tell what if any decisions will be taken.

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