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February 22, 2019

Tourism Middle East: The Final Petra Declaration is now out

On October 26 and 27 tourism leaders from the Middle east participated in the  jointly organized by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities of Jordan and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), brought together tourism stakeholders from the public, private, banking, investment and development sectors, who are working in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean (SEMED) region and are driving tourism development on a national, regional or global level to identify the challenges and best-practices that are specific to the region, with a view to drafting comprehensive recommendations for tourism development in the future encompassing the following three priority areas:

  • Provide access to training and employment opportunities;
  • Enhance resource and energy efficiency
  • Strengthen local Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises

eTN Publisher was one of the panelist contributing to this important event.

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The Final declaration known as the Petra Declaration was now released by uNWTO  it reads:

Declaration on Investing in Tourism for an Inclusive Future


We, the representatives of the tourism administrations, international and regional organizations, investment and banking sector, and the private sector gathered at the Regional Conference on Investing in Tourism for an Inclusive Future: Challenges and Opportunities, organized by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities of the Kingdom of Jordan, and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in Petra, Jordan, on 26–27 October 2016, Recalling

1. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, adopted on 16 November 1972, which considers that “parts of the cultural or natural heritage are of outstanding interest and therefore need to be preserved as part of the world heritage of mankind as a whole”.

2. The UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, approved by the UNWTO General Assembly in 1999 and endorsed by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in 2001, which comprises a comprehensive set of principles as guideline for responsible and sustainable tourism, including the provision of fair and quality training and employment opportunities in tourism.

3. The UN General Assembly resolution A/RES/64/14 of 22 December 2009 that expresses the support for the establishment of the UN Alliance of Civilizations as a platform for intercultural dialogue, understanding and cooperation.

4. The UN General Assembly resolution A/RES/66/288 of 27 July 2012 that endorses the outcome document of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, The Future We Want which emphasizes that “well-designed and managed tourism can make a significant contribution to the three dimensions of sustainable development, has close linkages to other sectors, and can create decent jobs and generate trade opportunities”;

5. The UN General Assembly resolution A/RES/69/233 of 19 December 2014 on the Promotion of sustainable tourism, including ecotourism, for poverty eradication and environment protection which recognizes that “sustainable tourism, including ecotourism, represents an important driver of sustainable economic growth and decent job creation, that it can have a positive impact on income generation and education, and thus on the fight against poverty and hunger, and that it can contribute directly to achieving the internationally agreed development goals”;

6. The UN General Assembly resolution A/RES/70/1 of 25 September 2015 on Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which adopts the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), of which three specifically mention tourism.

7. The UN General Assembly resolution A/RES/70/193of 22 December 2015, which proclaimed 2017 the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development and encourages the UN 2 system and all other actors to support sustainable tourism at all levels, including international cooperation, as an efficient instrument to contribute to sustainable development, especially addressing global challenges such as poverty eradication, environment protection, and economic empowerment of women and youth;

8. The T20 Tourism Ministers’ Declaration of 30 September 2015 on Tourism, SMEs and Employment – Policies to Stimulate Job Creation and Inclusiveness, which recognizes that “the competitiveness of tourism depends on the quality of the service and thus the sector requires increased investment in human resources development, including education and vocational training, as well as improvement in working conditions and social dialogue”;

9. The 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns (10YFP), notably the 10YFP Sustainable Tourism Programme that encourages the shift towards green growth and sustainable development.

Considering that

10. Tourism is one of the fastest growing socio-economic sectors: in 2014 tourism was the third world export earning category — after fuels and chemicals — accounting currently for an estimated 10% of world GDP, 1 in 11 jobs, 7% of global trade and 30% of trade in services;

11. Given its complexity of multiple horizontal links with other economic sectors, tourism can generate development opportunities along the entire tourism value chain, diversifying the economy and stimulating entrepreneurship, thus accelerating structural transformation and providing opportunities to stimulate other productive sectors in goods and services related to tourism demand;

12. Tourism is featured in three of the 17 SDGs, namely Goal 8, 12 and 14 on inclusive and sustainable economic growth, sustainable consumption and production, and the sustainable use of oceans and marine resources, respectively, and yet has the potential to contribute to sustainable development in general in view of its cross-cutting nature;

13. Tourism is also well-positioned to fight poverty through creation of entrepreneurship opportunities as well as full and productive employment and decent work for all, particularly youth, women, indigenous, local and disadvantaged communities;

14. Resource efficiency in tourism operations and adoption of sustainable consumption and production patterns will enhance the sector’s competitiveness while contributing to address climate change imperatives in line with SDG 12 and SDG 13 respectively.

15. Tourism development, when efficiently planned and well managed, has the potential to contribute to environmental conservation efforts and poverty reduction by focusing on biodiversity assets;

16. As tourism is based on human interaction between visitors and host communities, it can efficiently contribute to the promotion of cultural links to improve and promote intercultural and international understanding, mutual respect and tolerance between nations and cultures, as well as between developed and developing countries and regions by enhancing cooperation at all levels and thus contribute to a culture of peace;

17. Despite growing recognition of tourism as an instrument for development, the sector often lacks firm integration in national development plans and is considerably underrepresented in international aid flows.

18. There is a growing demand from tourism organizations and stakeholders for a more systematic application of monitoring, data collection and detection of early warning signals to support evidence-based decision making processes and to underpin tourism’s catalytic capabilities in contributing to sustainable and resilient development.

Call upon

19. The private sector, investors, financial institutions, governments, academia and civil society to ensure that tourism development is based on responsible and sustainable planning, evidencebased decision making, and the involvement of all stakeholders, including the host communities and disadvantaged groups of society;

20. Governments, in partnership with the private sector, investors and financial institutions to provide access to fair and quality training and employment opportunities in order to address the inclusion gaps concerning youth and women, and to reduce local and regional employment and skills disparities;

21. Governments to incentivize entrepreneurship in relevant economic sectors related to the tourism value chain and to generate backward and forward linkages, as well as a regulatory framework, in order to fully engage local Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the complex tourism value chain;

22. Governments, the private sector and all other relevant stakeholders, to promote innovation in tourism products, business models, and management, to embrace what is referred to as “sharing economy”, “collaborative economy” or “on-demand suppliers” and push forward the transformation and upgrading of the tourism sector in order to improve its quality and vitality;

23. Governments, in partnership with the private sector, to introduce improved national skills standards that reflect the requirements of private sector employers in the regions.

24. Governments, the private sector and all other relevant stakeholders to enhance local sourcing of agricultural, fisheries and forestry products to offer a genuine food experience to tourists, and to promote typical food products and handicrafts as assets of the destination.

25. Governments, the private sector and all other relevant stakeholders to promote diversification of local destinations, assets and types of tourism.

26. Governments to integrate and prioritize sustainable consumption and production in national planning and policy making, including tourism, to accelerate the shift towards more sustainable consumption and production patterns;

27. Governments to take a holistic approach and promote regional integration by developing cross-border tourism products and initiatives that can present beneficial opportunities for regions as a whole in the international market, while serving individual destinations’ economies, environments, and social factors;

28. Governments, the private sector and all other relevant stakeholders, to support sustainable tourism development and foster investment in infrastructure and technology that helps to improve resource efficiency and decouple economic growth from resource use and environmental degradation;

29. The private sector to act in line with the principles of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism and advance Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives;

30. Governments, the private sector and education institution to promote the UNWTO TedQual Certification Programme—Themis Foundation, which defines international quality criteria and standards to ensure the quality improvements in hospitality and tourism education programmes in compliance with the principles and practices of the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism”

31. Governments, the private sector, investors and financial institutions to step up efforts in building an inclusive, sustainable and resilient tourism sector

32. Governments, the private sector and academia to establish data collection tools to capture and measure the social impact of MSMEs on local economies.

33. The global donor community, investors and financial institutions to recognise the potential of tourism to contribute to sustainable and inclusive growth and to increase investment for the sustainable development of tourism.

34. The UN System, and UNWTO in particular, to intensify efforts in advocating for tourism as a tool for development, and to trigger changes in policies, business practices and consumer behaviour on the occasion of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, 2017.

35. Governments to promote the message of peace and understanding as a prerequisite for sustainable development through tourism, fostering cross-cultural exchange and harmony between peoples and civilizations; and to support efforts to enhance safety and security and respect for human rights.

36. All tourism stakeholders to advance efforts in enabling and on-boarding hyperlocal technologies to enhance the travel experience.

37. All tourism stakeholders to recognize the role of tourism in contributing to greater understanding and respect among civilizations, cultures and religions, in accordance with the principles of the UN Alliance of Civilizations.

38. All tourism stakeholders to recognize the need for respecting, protecting and conserving cultural and natural heritage—as well as ensuring its transmission to future generations—in line with the UNESCO Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Pledge to

39. Use and promote tourism as a tool for contributing to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development;

40. Contribute to building an inclusive and sustainable tourism sector that is based on human rights, social and economic justice and equality;

41. Enhance and actively engage in the dialogue between the private sector, governments and educational providers in improving national skills standards and training provision in the tourism sector;

42. Foster public-private partnerships and increase investment in tourism, particularly related to infrastructure, product and human resource development, financing, research and technology;

43. Create opportunities for high-quality on-the-job training to foster school-to-work transition for young people entering the tourism and hospitality sectors through partnerships with local vocational schools, colleges and training providers;

44. Strengthen vocational and technical level training as well as innovation and research in higher education;

45. Create and implement quality training and career opportunities for all, including youth, women, indigenous and local populations, and disadvantaged groups, that contribute to an inclusive and sustainable growth of local communities;

46. Ensure equal pay for equal work and deliver jobs that are aligned with the principles of the International Labour Organization’s Decent Work Agenda;

47. Enhance access to financing for MSMEs in tourism to enable their increased participation in local and global value chains;

48. Undertake all efforts in continuously improving the sustainability of the tourism sector and ensure its resource efficiency at all levels;

49. Strengthen efforts to generate sufficient funding and investment in tourism, including to support competitiveness of MSMEs; Extend our sincere gratitude to our host, the Government of Jordan, for its warm hospitality and amiable support for the organization of the Regional Conference on Investing in Tourism for an Inclusive Future, as well as its significant contribution to the advancement of the sustainable tourism agenda as a driver for change and an inclusive future.

Petra, 27 October 2016

Final Petra Declaration (in English)

Final Petra Declaration (in Arabic)

Press Release

Final list of participants

Conference’s booklet (including provisional programme, foreword and speakers’ bio notes in English)

Conference’s booklet (including provisional programme in Arabic)

General Information Note

Social Programme



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