On the occasion of the International Tourism Day, on September 28, Aurora Pedro Bueno, director of the Interuniversity Chair of New Green Transition at the University of Valencia, gave the conference Tourism and Rural Development: Towards an effective sustainable transition of tourist destinations. This talk was aimed at students of a Tourism and Hotels degree at the Universidad Argentina de la Empresa (UADE), as well as graduates, teachers and other guests.
Regarding tourism, we know that our current world is mainly characterized by the right to free movement of people; however, these displacements have been truncated with this global pandemic. Tourism has been one of the most affected by the health crisis of Covid-19, and has been a victim of the economic crisis in which it has derived. The UNWTO figures show us some alarming data: the loss of 300 million tourists if we compare with the 2019 figures.
It is worth highlighting the process of climate change as the main cause of a series of problems that will directly affect the tourism sector, starting with the change, transformation or even the disappearance of tourism resources. This crisis should also be seen as an opportunity to advance in the medium and long term towards a model of tourist destinations that is more integrated with the environment and that definitely contributes to reducing social inequalities and improving the well-being of the local population.
The vulnerability of the tourism sector requires a future, long-term perspective. This falls within the insistence, not on the definition, but on the measurement of sustainability. If we have been able to measure competitiveness, we have to make an additional effort to measure sustainability. The UNWTO proposed at the Manila Conference the formation of a group of experts for the measurement of tourism sustainability. Ultimately, it is about rethinking tourism based on a sustainability strategy.