Transforming Tourism for a sustainable, prosperous, and inclusive post COVID-19 world

Transforming Tourism for a sustainable, prosperous, and inclusive post COVID-19 world

Thank you chair,

My name is Svitlana Slesarenok of Black Sea Women’s Club, part of the Women’s Major Group and representing today the Regional Civil society Engagement Mechanism.

The presentations were very interesting. This is the only Round Table that has a reference to women (question 2). That is good, but more is needed.

Our organization is working for green tourism and sustainable development in the Black Sea region, with women local leaders. We have a lot to do!

  • We need to protect our natural wetlands and their biodiversity from industrial and petrochemical pollution.
  • We need solar water heaters and photovoltaic energy on hotels and guesthouses.
  • We need to transform tourist’s mindsets to not throw away single-use plastic waste into the sea.
  • We need local authorities to ban spraying of pesticides that kill bees and insects, and to ban sales of plastic bags and bottles.
  • We need to provide tax incentives for the green local tourism businesses instead of for the polluting shipping and oil companies.

In my city of Odessa we have an amazing plan, to turn a former wetland, which has been polluted and neglected, back into a healthy, biodiversity-rich eco-tourism area.

We are learning from similar programs, for example in the UK where waste-land was returned to a healthy ecosystem status as part of the Olympics. And from Austria, where tourists are encouraged to use the train and local bikes from the train company, instead of polluting cars.

The women’s groups like ours are frustrated by the lack of action from the side of our authorities, and we see the United Nations role as very important, to provide policy guidelines for a transition in tourism that protects our seas, wetlands and creates sustainable jobs with women equally engaged in leadership.

Thank you chair.