Travel South over Cloud Webinar Series: South-South exchanges on Sustainable and Cultural Tourism in World Heritage Cities of Latin America and the Caribbean
Background and objectives
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused severe disruptions and almost shut down tourism at a global scale, with 1 billion fewer international tourist arrivals, loss of US$ 1.3 trillion in total export revenues from international tourism, and 100 to 120 million direct tourism jobs at risk.  Tourism accounts for half of services exports in Latin America and the Caribbean and represents significant shares of gross domestic product (GDP) and employment. As countries have taken measures to mitigate the impact of the crisis on tourism, more efforts are needed to step up the sector’s preparation for economic recovery, while enhancing diversification as well as world culture and heritage protection, environmental and social sustainability. As we rebuild a post-COVID world, the tourism sector – which represented 10.2% of global GDP and one in every 10 jobs before the pandemic hit  – should be at the forefront of recovery efforts while contributing to the fulfillment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
To better advance the role of tourism and its synergies with culture for a suitable and inclusive development, cooperation and partnerships are key. South-South cooperation is a modality that encourages solidarity among persons and countries of the South to support each other in the attainment of shared development goals with horizontal approaches. In combating COVID-19, as well as addressing other development challenges, strengthening South-South cooperation and solidarity can offer a positive route forward for the developing countries.
Under the framework of the Cities Project – which supports and promotes South-South and triangular cooperation for sustainable development at the city level – the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) and UNESCO Mexico, with the support of the Mexican World Heritage Cities Association (ANCMPM or MWHCA), organized a webinar “South-South exchanges on Sustainable and Cultural Tourism in World Heritage Cities of Latin America and the Caribbean, held on 29 November 2021.”
The event brought together representatives of international organizations, cities, think tanks, and the private sector from Latin America and the Caribbean, to (1) exchange good practices and experiences in sustainable tourism, including the particular measures taken to protect world cultural and natural heritage to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic; (2) discuss the role and potential of South-South and triangular cooperation in the growth and recovery of the tourism sector in cities, especially in helping SMEs recover better; and (3) facilitate partnership brokering among multiple stakeholders from the Global South for sustainable tourism in cities.
- Presentations and a panel discussion among local government representatives, think tanks, private sector companies, and international organizations and cities partners in LAC
- Presentation of 2-minute videos of cities
- The webinar will be recorded via the Zoom Meeting platform and broadcast through UNOSSC and partner’s media channels
Guiding Questions for Discussion
- From the point of view of the cultural and creative sector, what are the criteria for sustainable tourism (management, socioeconomic, cultural, and environmental impacts) and how to monitor them?
- What were the lessons learned in cities’ responses to the COVID-19 pandemic? What was the role of South-South and triangular cooperation in sustainable tourism, cultural heritage and creative industries?
- Share measures taken and good practices on using digitalization, data management and monitoring, IP assets, etc. to help tourism, cultural and creative SMEs recover and build back better and more sustainably.
- How to ensure wide participation and consensus-building? How do individuals take the part in striving towards sustainable tourism and the linkage between the tourism activities and the management of cultural heritage and creative cities?
8:00-8:12 Opening Remarks
- Frédéric Vacheron, Representative of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Mexico (5 min)
- Video synopsis (2 min)
8:12-9:12 Presentation panel – moderated by (TBD)
- Jorge Ortega, General Director, Mexican World Heritage Cities Association (8 min)
- Video of World Heritage Cities of Mexico (2 min)
- Mario Cifuentes, Director, Valparaíso Creative Programme and Representative of National Network of Creative Territories of Chile (8 min)
- Video of National Network of Creative Territories of Chile (2 min)
- Arsenio Sánchez Pantoja, Coordinator, Network of National Offices of Conservation of Heritage Cities of Cuba (8 min)
- Video of Heritage Cities of Cuba (2 min)
- Mário do Nascimento, President, National Association of Touristic and World Heritage Cities of Brazil (OCBPM) (8 min)
- Video of World Heritage Cities of Brazil (2 min)
- Luis Bogdanovich, President, Peruvian World Heritage Cities Network (8 min)
- Video of World Heritage Cities of Peru (2 min)
- Ana Román, General Director, Union of Ibero-American Capital Cities (UCCI, as part of the World Organization of United Cities and Local Governments -UCLG) and Francisco Mugaburu, Subdirector of International Relations and Cooperation, UCCI (8 min)
9:12 – 9:22 Q&A / Open Discussion
9:22 – 9:25 Video South-South Cities Clusters
9:25 – 9:30 Summary and Closing Remarks
- Xiaojun Grace Wang, Deputy Director, United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) (5 min)