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A Promising Response:
The 2020 G20 Tourism Ministers Virtual Meeting

John Kirton, Annie Beaulieu and Sarah Scott, G20 Research Group
May 14, 2020
[pdf]

Introduction

Significance

On April 24, 2020, G20 tourism ministers held their first ever virtual meeting and their first ad hoc one, before their regularly scheduled gathering on October 7. At the end of their meeting they released a consensus "G20 Tourism Ministers' Statement on COVID-19" agreed by all members of the group (G20 Tourism Ministers 2020).

It was a very significant event. Tourism and travel as an economic sector represent about 10% of the global economy (Pololikashvili 2018). It is a key component of trade in services. Many countries depend economically on tourism, both in the developed north (notably Greece, Italy, France, Australia and New Zealand) and in the developing south, especially small island states in the Caribbean and elsewhere. It is a key source of employment, especially for poor people, women and youth. And it was the first sector to be struck by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the rapid cancellation of air travel, cruise ships, hotels, resorts, restaurants, bars, casinos, conventions and sports event. The revival of a redesigned tourism and travel sector, in a safer and more ecologically sustainable way, is thus a critical component of the "build back better" economic recovery strategy now underway, as the post-lockdown, sequential reopening phase of the COVID-19 crisis expands force amid the fears of a second wave that remain.

The Debate

In the lead-up to and after the G20 tourism ministers' April 24 meeting, its performance and its causes inspired different schools of thought.

The first school saw success in several ways, due to the severity of the economic shock for their industry and tourism-dependent countries. Authors highlighted the meetings' agreement to co-operate, above all to avoid travel restrictions but also to build back better for a safer industry in the future (Jiji Press 2020; Kuwait News Agency 2020; Reuters 2020; Yonhap 2020; ANSA 2020). They pointed to the number of foreign visitors to Japan dropping 93%, well above the 62.5% after the earthquake and tsunami in 2011. In Italy tourism provided 13% of small business formation and 15% of employment. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD 2020) said world tourism would fall between 45% to 70% in 2020.

The second school saw the G20 tourism ministers' meeting as an "incredibly helpful forum" for the United Kingdom, as tourism sustains 10% of its gross domestic product, and the country receives 40 million inbound visitors and produces 70 million overseas trips each year (Huddleston 2020).

The third school saw inadequate results (Talavera 2020; Frank and Chappell 2020). It emphasized how the Caribbean, the world's most tourist-dependent region, had only 300 COVID-19 deaths, mostly in the Dominican Republic, but tourism employed 2.5 million people with a 50% drop in revenues. Only one of its members, Haiti, has received any financial support from the G20 thus far. Globally, the tourism sector could lose $2.7 trillion in 2020 (Talavera 2020).

The Argument

A systematic analysis of the results of the April 24 meeting, relative to what G20 tourism ministers had produced in their nine meetings before and what the world needs now, shows that the virtual ministerial was a promising first step to combat the COVID-19-catalyzed crisis now ravaging G20 members and the world. The was especially so for G20 host Saudi Arabia that had put an autumn tourism ministers' meeting on it summit preparatory plan, and which depends on the annual Haj for its non-oil economy and its Vision 2030 economic diversification plan. The April 24 meeting was the first emergency one tourism ministers had mounted since they started meeting in February 2010. This promising first start was driven by the health, economic and employment crises proliferating throughout the G20 and the world as a result of COVID-19, the interests and initiative of the Saudi host, and the firm foundation provided by the decade-long G20 tourism ministers' meetings as the first G20 ministerial forum beyond the original finance ministers and central bank governors one.

G20 Tourism Ministers' Past Performance

After the G20 tourism ministers started meeting in February 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa, their performance increased through two phases: low performance from 2010 to 2013 and substantial performance from 2014 to 2019 (see Appendix a).

Their first meeting in February 2010 made tourism the first ministerial-level addition to the subsequently expanding G20 repertoire, after the annual meetings of G20 finance ministers and central bankers inaugurated in Berlin in December 1999 (Kirton 2013). Unlike the second addition — the labour and employment ministers who first met in April 2010 — the tourism meeting arose not in the G20's developed G7 members but in a developing one. In 2010 the ministers held two meetings, just as their leaders did. They continued with annual gatherings, except in 2014 when Australia hosted the G20 and in 2017 when Germany did. As Australia and Germany are both important destinations and sources of tourists, this pattern suggests that it was the global financial crisis of 2008–2009 and the European financial crisis of 2010–2012 plus the particular importance of the tourism industry for emerging and developing countries that spurred the creation and cadence of the forum.

The focus of the first meeting, in South Africa, confirms this view. The first sentence in its communiqué stated that the ministers had gathered "to discuss the role of tourism in stimulating the global economy, at a time when the world starts to emerge from an unprecedented global economic recession, which impacted on all economic sectors, including tourism" (G20 Tourism Ministers 2010). Communiqué-recognized shock-activated vulnerability thus importantly created this new G20 forum.

Yet from this start the meeting had a broader vision. The second paragraph of the communiqué spoke of "sustainable tourism" (G20 Tourism Ministers 2010). The communiqué explicitly referenced the natural environment four more times. It endorsed "the transformation towards a greener and more sustainable economy," "an economically, environmentally, as well as socially sustainable travel and tourism sector," the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and a "greener, more sustainable economy." Following in the footsteps of African leaders who added the environment and climate change to the G20 summit's action at the London Summit on April 1-2, 2009, it was the African-hosted G20 tourism ministers' meeting that introduced ecological sustainability to G20 governance in a comprehensive, economically embedded way (Kirton and Kokotsis 2015; Warren 2019).

The communiqué also included gender equality from the start. It noted that the tourism sector provided "75 million direct jobs worldwide, has the capacity to accelerate job creation, and offers fast entry into the workforce, particularly for youth and women in urban and rural communities" (G20 Tourism Ministers 2010). The meeting thus contributed importantly to introducing gender equality into G20 governance as a whole (Kulik 2019).

During their 10 meetings, including the most recent on April 24, 2020, G20 tourism ministers produced public communiqués for each one, and added two appendices in 2019. They generated 11,132 words in all. Yet only in 2012 briefly and in 2019 substantially did G20 leaders respond to the bottom-up recommendations and influence of their tourism ministers, by referring to tourism in their own G20 summit communiqués (see Appendix B).

Overall G20 tourism ministers made 101 precise, future-oriented, politically binding, collective public commitments. They started with 10 at their second meeting in October 2010 in Buyeo, Korea, followed by one in May 2012 in Merida, Mexico, and two in November 2013 in London. The number of commitments soared in the second phase of meetings, starting with 16 in 2015, 13 in 2016, 12 in 2018, a new peak of 31 in 2019 in a tourist-dependent Japan anticipating hosting the summer Olympics in 2020, and 16 in April 2020 with Saudi Arabia in the chair.

These 101 commitments covered a wide range of subjects (see Appendix A). They were led by labour and employment with 30 commitments, followed in turn by digitalization with 15, development with 14, and international and G20 cooperation with 13. Then came the natural environment with seven; health with five (all produced in 2020); microeconomic policy with four; trade, gender and infrastructure with three each; macroeconomic policy with two; and security and education with one each. The initial emphasis on labour/employment disappeared by 2020, replaced by international and G20 cooperation and health in first and second place. In this decisional domain of performance, the natural environment and gender equality retained a solid place.

In their institutional development of global governance, through expressions of support, guidance or endorsement to specific international institutions in the communiqués from their 10 meetings, G20 tourism ministers made a total of 214 references to 29 different bodies (see Appendix C). Of these, 129 (60%) were made to 19 (66%) different bodies outside the G20, and 85 references (40%) were made to 10 different bodies (34%) inside the G20. The balance heavily favoured outside bodies from 2010 to 2011, but shifted increasingly to inside ones from 2012 to 2019. By 2019, 21 of the 54 references (39%) were to bodies inside the G20. In the 2020 virtual meeting, a majority of six of the 11 references (55%) were to five different bodies inside the G20, including G20 finance ministers and central bank governors for the first time.

Since 2010 the 10 tourism meetings' references to outside bodies were led by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) with 29, followed in turn by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) with 20, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals with 19 and the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with another five, the OECD with 15, the International Labour Organization with 13, the International Trade Centre with 4, and UNEP, the International Civil Aviation Organization, the United Nations, UN Women and the World Bank with three each. This suggests, in this dimension of performance, a substantial concern with environment sustainability and with labour and women's rights.

The Performance of the 2020 Virtual Meeting

At the virtual meeting in April 2020, the seven-paragraph statement contained 13 commitments: five on the economy; two each on health, development and international cooperation; and one each on digitalization and the environment. Despite the reference to COVID-19 in title of the statement, and the recurrent references to keeping tourism "safe," surprisingly few commitments focused directly on health. In contrast to their leaders' statement on March 26, the tourism ministers put the economy first. In a similar fashion, their statement referred directly to the economically oriented WTTC, the OECD, and the UNWTO but left the World Health Organization out.

Their one commitment on the environment showed that the tourism ministers were returning to the ecologically focused priorities set by the Saudi Arabia at the start of its year as G20 host on December 1, 2019. They also directly highlighted the plight of Africa and small island states in one commitment. Yet other tourism-dependent economies, such as Italy, France, Spain and Greece, were left out, even though the COVID-19 pandemic had devastated them proportionally the most.

Apart from general references to provide support to the sector and capacity building, they mobilized no new money, collectively or individually for a sector in acute need of financial support. Nor did they refer to gender, following the neglect of gender equality in all preceding statements by the G20 leaders and other ministerial meetings in 2020. Both the G20 tourism ministers and the rest of the G20 could have noted that women make up a significant portion of the world's tourism workforce, and might be particularly vulnerable now both in terms of health and in terms of their financial situation. Also missing was any direction about how the ministers wished to build back better, beyond a general promise to "accelerat[e] the transition of the travel and tourism sector onto a more sustainable path — economically, socially and environmentally" (G20 Tourism Ministers 2020). As G20 governments face intense demands to bail out their airlines, cruise ships, casinos, hotels and resorts, they need more specific guidance to shape the choices that they make in order to make tourism a leader in the "healthy people, healthy planet" cause. Perhaps they have delegated this responsibility to their subordinates in their Tourism Working Group, and will not address it themselves until they meet again on October 7 — almost half a year after their virtual meeting. They did not pledge to meet again before then.

Sustaining the Contribution of the Tourism Industry in the Age of COVID-19

As the focus of all governments so far has been on containing the health impact as much as possible, G20 tourism ministers have rightly focused their attention on the economic impact and recovery.

The tourism sector is an important economic driver in many economies, covering a wide range of industries, serviced predominately by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and micro-businesses. Due to its fragmented, multi-level and cross-cutting nature, this sector faces particular challenges during an economic crisis. COVID-19 has affected the whole tourism value chain simultaneously.

In April 2020, the OECD (2020) compiled the various tourism policy responses, initially identifying effective measures taken to:

  1. Protect visitors (e.g., information, repatriation assistance, consumer protection)
  2. Protect tourism workers (e.g., the provision of income support)
  3. Support business survival, in particular SMEs, including through cash flow supports
  4. Promote sector recovery (e.g., private sector dialogue, timely provision of data, and coordinated policy responses for the short, medium and long term).

By late April the tourism economy was at a standstill after more than 105 governments had closed their international border to inbound tourists. Many more had imposed travel restrictions at both international and domestic levels.

As the world learns more about the virus and assesses the likelihood of future outbreaks and potential future waves, containment measures will continue over the coming months as recovery will likely be a gradual and non-linear process. Countries will seek to manage a gradual return to daily life while containing the virus, but it is not yet clear when and where regular tourism activities will be possible. With the growing expectations that international recovery to pre-crisis levels may take two years or more, tourism and transport will be among the hardest hit of all sectors. For example, Singapore announced that its international terminal will be closed for 18 months. Dubai Expo 2020 was delayed and will now be held between October 2021 and March 2022. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimated that only 30 airlines (from over 700) had the financial capacity of survive a prolonged crisis and stay in operation.

The impacts will vary across branches of the tourism sector, firms and destinations depending upon several factors. They include the nature of the tourism offer, the impact of travel restrictions on visitor flows, the speed with which the economy picks up in main source markets, the scale and complexity of business operations, the size of the domestic tourism market and its exposure to international source markets, and the place of tourism in the economy. The impacts on developing countries will be severe, considering the importance of small tourism businesses at the micro level for local employment and at the macro level as a major source of foreign exchange and export revenue.

As the OECD (2020) says, "more needs to be done at sectoral level, and in a more co-ordinated way, to support tourism businesses and workers, restore traveller confidence and be ready to restart business operations and stimulate demand once containment measures are lifted."

The industry is therefore setting up dedicated task forces at various level to ensure a coordinated response to the crisis. The UNWTO (2020) is leading the Global Tourism Crisis Committee. This is a public-private initiative tasked with publishing recommendations for government on three key areas: mitigating the impact on employment and liquidity, protecting the most vulnerable, and preparing for recovery.

The WTTC is establishing a taskforce with private sector representatives and international organizations to find common solutions to ease the pressure on tourism businesses. There are also various industry-led initiatives, including the website resilientdestinations.com showcasing news, stories and resources relating to businesses response to COVID-19.

Governmental destination management organizations around the world are also coming together with local stakeholders as they concentrate on their domestic markets. Most are now repurposing their websites, marketing campaigns and channels to promote local businesses to their immediate local communities rather than their usual wider domestic and international audiences in an effort to ignite short-term demand.

But even when tourism businesses will be allowed to function again, consumers, even local ones, might be reluctant to travel, given the interlinked consequences of the health and economic crises. Consumer behaviour is expected to be permanently affected by this crisis from fear of potential future outbreaks, and from the uncertainty of consumers' and operators' financial security with unemployment on the rise. Research commissioned by Tourism Australia shows that 60% of Australians are not thinking about their next holidays. While caution exists around future domestic travel for many, 60% of respondents were positive about travel and 27% were keen to travel straight away; the most likely timing of next trip for 37% was within 6 to 12 months, and 20% intended to travel in three to six months (Luddington 2020).

Robust safety measures throughout the sector, including within SMEs' operations, need to be put in place to mitigate the risk of future outbreaks and restore confidence at all levels, from host community to travellers. The sector will need to improve health screening and hygiene measures and develop procedures that can be applied appropriately along the whole value chain. Government will need to determine a priority approach to reopening the sector, giving the industry hope for the future, and ensuring operators are advised and prepared for the various stages of rebuilding the market.

Yet models for the new resilient, responsible, safe, sustainable tourism industry are already starting to arise. New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern joined Australia's national cabinet on May 5 to discuss how a "trans-Tasman travel bubble" could be created between both countries, as both countries now have a clear roadmap to ease restrictions (Brown 2020). Australia released its three-step pathway towards a "COVIDSafe" economy on May 8 (Prime Minister of Australia 2020). It will support many tourism and hospitality-related businesses to get back on their feet. It provides a framework other countries can learn from when they will be ready. For example, New Zealand learned from Korea to delay the reopening of bars based on Korea's experience. It could be useful to invite New Zealand to participate in the next G20 tourism ministerial meeting to share the trans-Tasmanian — prospectively trans-Pacific — model at first hand (Financial Times 2020).

Digital innovation will play a key role in building confidence and keeping potential consumers interest, from cashless and contactless payment methods to virtual experiences. To give a sense of scale of digital opportunities arising, the number of visitors to the Louvre Museum's website has risen from 14,000 views per day to reach 400,000 visits per day as it, along with many museums around the world, are developing new digital and virtual experiences to be enjoyed from home (Farago 2020). There may be useful to consider the value of a joint meeting between G20 ministers of tourism and those responsible for digitalization (Williams 2019).

The sector's responses will need to be quick, consistent and united in order to build a stronger, more sustainable and resilient tourism economy for the world's shared future. This situation presents the opportunity to consider an alternative and improved future, more aligned with the broader sustainable development and climate change agenda as many countries have committed to a green recovery (Green Recovery Alliance 2020). Designing this safe, sustainable new tourism industry is the next compelling cause that awaits G20 tourism ministers, their colleagues and the leaders.

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References and Bibliography

ANSA English Media Service (2020), "No Country Should Be Abandoned to Tourism Crisis – Franceschini," April 24

Brown, Vanessa (2020), "Australia, New Zealand 'travel bubble': What new model may look like," news.com.au, May 5.

Farago, James (2020), "Now Virtual and in Video, Museum Websites Shake Off the Dust," New York Times, April 23.

Financial Times (2020), "Travel 'Bubbles' Offer a Potential Way Forward," Editorial board, May 11.

Frank, Marc and Kate Chappell (2020), "Empty Resorts Spell Long Crises for Caribbean as Coronavirus Hits," Reuters, April 25.

G20 Tourism Ministers (2010), "T20 Ministers Convened to Discuss the Role of Tourism in Stimulating the Global Economy," Johannesburg, South Africa, February 24.

G20 Tourism Ministers (2020), "G20 Tourism Ministers' Statement on COVID-19," Virtual Meeting, April 24.

Goldin, Ian (2010), "Tourism and the G20: T.20 Strategic Paper," document prepared for the 2nd T.20 Ministers Meeting, Korea, 11-13 October.

Green Recovery Alliance (2020), "GreenRecovery: Reboot and Reboost Our Economies for a Sustainable Future," April 15.

Huddleston, Nigel (2020), "Tourism Minister's Speech at the Extraordinary G20 Tourism Ministers' Meeting on Covid-19," Gov.uk, April 25.

Jiji Press (2020), "G-20 Ministers Agree to Work for Revival of Crisis-Hit Tourism," April 25.

Kirton, John (2013), G20 Governance for a Globalized World (Farnham: Ashgate).

Kirton, John and Ella Kokotsis (2015), The Global Governance of Climate Change: G7, G20 and UN Leadership(Farnham: Ashgate).

Kulik, Julia (2019), "G20 Performance on Gender Equality," in John Kirton and Madeline Koch, eds., G20 Japan: The Osaka Summit (London: GT Media), pp. 94-95.

Kuwait News Agency (2020), "G20 Assert Importance of Coordination to Minimize Restrictions on Essential Travel," April 25.

Luddington, James (2020), "Domestic Market Overview," Tourism Australia, BDA Market Planning, May 2020.

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (2020), Tourism Policy Responses, OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities, April 15.

Pololikashvili, Zurab (2018), in John Kirton and Madeline Koch, eds., G20 Argentina: The 2018 Buenos Aires Summit(London: GT Media), pp. 126-127.

Prime Minister of Australia (2020), "Roadmap to a COVIDSafe Australia: A Three-Step Pathway for Easing Restrictions," May 8.

Reuters News (2020), "G20 Tourism Ministers Agree to Find Ways to Boost Tourism Industry," April 24.

Siret, Mal (2020), "Coronavirus: What Global Travel May Look Like Ahead of a Vaccine," BBC News, May 3.

Talavera, Catherine (2020), "Travel, Tourism Job Loses Seen to Soar by 30%," Philippine Star, April 26.

United Nations World Tourism Organization (2020), "UNWTO Launches a Call for Action for Tourism's COVID-19 Mitigation and Recovery," April 1.

Warren, Brittaney (2019), "G20 Performance on the Climate Change," in John Kirton and Madeline Koch, eds., G20 Japan: The 2019 Osaka Summit (London: GT Media), pp. 114-115.

Williams, Meredith (2019), "G20 Performance on the Digital Economy," in John Kirton and Madeline Koch, eds., G20 Japan: The 2019 Osaka Summit (London: GT Media), pp. 150-151.

Yonhap English News (2020), "S. Korea Vows to Expand Ties with G-20 States to Revitalize Tourism," April 24.

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Appendix A: G20 Tourism Ministers Commitments

Subject Total words Total
commitments
Labour/
Employment
Development Trade Gender Macroeconomic policy Digitalization Environment/ Climate change Microeconomic policya Securityb Education Infrastructure International/ G20 cooperation Health
2010 Feb Johannesburg 813 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2010 Oct
Buyeo
563 10 2 2 1 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 1 2  
2011 October
Paris
589 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2012 May
Merida
949 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2013 Nov
London
835 2 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0
2015 Sept
Antalya
1,519 16 12 2 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2016 May
Beijing
1,507 13 3 4 0 0 1 1 1 2 1 0 0 0 0
2018 April
Buenos Aires
1,122 12 7 0 0 0 0 4 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
2019 October
Kutchan
2,565 31 5 4 0 2 1 10 4 1 0 0 1 3 0
2020 April
Virtual
670 16 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 8 5
Total 11,132 101 30 14 3 3 2 15 7 4 1 1 3 13 5

Notes: a sector specific; b including border management.

1st Meeting: Johannesburg, South Africa, 22-24 February 2010 (0 Commitments)

2nd Meeting: Buyeo, Korea, 11-13 October 2010 910 Commitments)

Participants

G20 members, Malaysia, Thailand, International Labor Organization, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, United Nations World Tourism Organization

Commitments

2010-01 The 2nd T.20 Ministers' Meeting held in Buyeo, Republic of Korea, agreed to ask its Chair, the Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism of the Republic of Korea, to transmit the following message to the President of the Republic of Korea in his capacity of Chair of the forthcoming Seoul Summit. "Tourism can make an important contribution to the initiatives that the G20 is undertaking to achieve shared growth beyond crisis, particularly in terms of global job creation and the development agenda. The tourism sector stands ready to work towards the common objectives of strong, sustainable and balanced growth. (G20 cooperation)

2010-02 In order to harness the full potential of the travel and tourism sector in contributing to sustained and balanced economic growth and development, the 2nd T.20 Ministers' Meeting is committed to a) Encourage Economic Prosperity through Travel and Tourism by: facilitating movement of tourists and addressing restrictive travel barriers. (Trade)

2010-03 [In order to harness the full potential of the travel and tourism sector in contributing to sustained and balanced economic growth and development, the 2nd T.20 Ministers' Meeting is committed to a) Encourage Economic Prosperity through Travel and Tourism by] promoting investment in tourism and related infrastructure (Infrastructure)

2010-04 [In order to harness the full potential of the travel and tourism sector in contributing to sustained and balanced economic growth and development, the 2nd T.20 Ministers' Meeting is committed to] Boost Tourism's Employment Contribution by promoting human resources development through training and capacity building (Labour)

2010-05 [In order to harness the full potential of the travel and tourism sector in contributing to sustained and balanced economic growth and development, the 2nd T.20 Ministers' Meeting is committed to Boost Tourism's Employment Contribution by] encouraging decent work in the travel and tourism sector (Labour)

2010-06 [In order to harness the full potential of the travel and tourism sector in contributing to sustained and balanced economic growth and development, the 2nd T.20 Ministers' Meeting is committed to] c) Reaffirm tourism's contribution to the global development agenda by: narrowing the development gap and reducing poverty through fair tourism, enhanced financing and technology transfer. (Development)

2010-07 [In order to harness the full potential of the travel and tourism sector in contributing to sustained and balanced economic growth and development, the 2nd T.20 Ministers' Meeting is committed to c) Reaffirm tourism's contribution to the global development agenda by:] working for greater inclusion of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in global travel and tourism (Development)

2010-08 [In order to harness the full potential of the travel and tourism sector in contributing to sustained and balanced economic growth and development, the 2nd T.20 Ministers' Meeting is committed to Advance sustainable development by: promoting green economy best practices, incentives and training and capacity building in the sector (Environment)

2010-09 [In order to harness the full potential of the travel and tourism sector in contributing to sustained and balanced economic growth and development, the 2nd T.20 Ministers' Meeting is committed to to Advance sustainable development by:] Supporting integration of travel and tourism within broader green growth strategies for sustainable development and cultural enrichment. (Environment)

2010-10 In advancing its objectives, the T.20 will continue to work together to share information and best practices as well as to strengthen the analytical base that underpins the economic and development case for tourism. (G20 co-operation)

3rd Meeting: Paris, France, 24-25 October 2011

Participants

Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom, European Union, International Labour Organization, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, United Nations World Tourism Organization, World Travel and Tourism Council

4th Meeting: Merida, Mexico, 15-16 May 2012 (1 commitment)

Participants

G20 members, Spain, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Jamaica, El Salvador, Denmark, International Air Transport Association, International Civil Aviation Organization, International Labour Organization, International Trade Centre, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, United Nations World Tourism Organization, World Travel and Tourism Council

Commitment

Member States will further work to ensure fast, transparent and effective travel facilitation and visa programs based upon existing international commitments, for the purpose of increasing travel and tourism and job creation. (labour and employment)

5th Meeting: London, England, 2013 (2 commitments)

Participants

Argentina, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, the European Commission, International Civil Aviation Organization, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, STEP Foundation, the World Travel and Tourism Council

Commitments

2013-01 VI Decide 15. To support efficient, safe and secure travel by continuing to cooperate on travel facilitation at national and international levels and develop common programs of work to support cooperative actions wherever possible. (Trade)

2013-02 CI Decide 16. To seek enabling policy frameworks that support needed investment in infrastructure and human resources that allow the sustainable growth of tourism (Infrastructure)

6th Meeting: Antalya, Turkey, 2 October 2015 (16 commitments)

Participants

G20 members and invited countries, Cooperation Council of the Turkic Speaking States, International Labour Organization, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, United Nations World Tourism Organization and World Travel and Tourism Council

Commitments

2015-1: [agree to] accelerate efforts in the measurement of tourism labour markets in the framework of the UN adopted Tourism Satellite Accounts and the International Recommendations on Tourism Statistics; (Labour and Employment)

2015-2: [agree to] foster stronger links between the private sector, the public sector and education and training institutions in the area of research in order to identify and address the gaps between training needs and market requirements (Labour and Employment)

2015-3: [agree to] support policies that promote decent work in tourism (Labour and Employment)

2015-4: [agree to support policies that promote decent work in] entrepreneurship (Labour and Employment)

2015-5: [agree to] support policies that promote decent work in] gender equality (Labour and Employment)

2015-6: [agree to] support policies that promote decent work in] youth employment (Labour and Employment)

2015-7: [agree to] encourage increased investment in education, training and capacity building in tourism; (Labour and Employment)

2015-8: [agree to] promote policies appropriate to national circumstances that advance decent work in tourism including improving wage-setting mechanisms, institutions for social dialogue, social protection systems, employment services and active labour market policies; (Labour and Employment)

2015-9: [agree to] enable cooperation between developing countries and G20 countries in tourism in order to promote inclusive economic opportunities and job creation, with a particular focus on women's education and empowerment; (Development)

2015-10: [agree to] strengthening the links between tourism and trade policies to enhance the access of MSMEs [micro, small and medium-sized enterprises] to international markets and global value chains so as to foster the integration of MSMEs into the global economy; (Trade)

2015-11: [agree to] define goals and indicators to promote gender equality in working conditions in tourism employment according to the framework defined by UNWTO and UN Women in their 2010 Joint Report (Gender)

2015-12: [agree to] promote sustainable development in tourism, by developing more and better job opportunities and including tourism in the Employment Generation Agenda; (Development)

2015-13: [agree to] promote the value of employment in tourism to reflect more accurately the opportunities and benefits of tourism jobs and to attract and retain talent in the sector; (Labour and Employment)

2015-14: [agree to] strengthen efforts to promote the highest inclusion of tourism businesses in the formal economy; (Labour and Employment)

2015-15: [agree to] support the objectives set in the G20 Labour and Employment Ministerial Declaration (Ankara, 3-4 September 2015); (Labour and Employment)

2015-16: [agree to] encourage G20 Leaders to consider tourism as a priority sector for its capacity to deliver on the objectives of "creating quality jobs for all, investing in skills and reducing inequalities to promote inclusive and robust growth." (Labour and Employment).

7th G20 Meeting, Beijing, China, 20 May 2016 (13 commitments)

Commitments

2016-1: [in line with the priorities of G20, agree to further] advance the contribution of tourism to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the achievement of the SDGs; (Development)

2016-2: [in line with the priorities of G20, agree to further] develop tourism policies that contribute to a more open world economy (Macroeconomic Policy)

2016-3: [in line with the priorities of G20, agree to further… develop tourism policies that contribute to] promote innovation, (Digital)

2016-4: [in line with the priorities of G20, agree to further… develop tourism policies that contribute to] resource efficiency (Environment)

2016-5: [in line with the priorities of G20, agree to further… develop tourism policies that contribute to] quality jobs (Labour and Employment)

2016-6: [in line with the priorities of G20, agree to further… develop tourism policies that contribute to] a higher level of cooperation, integration and inclusive development; (Development)

2016-7: [in line with the priorities of G20, agree to further] enhance broader cooperation to address the common challenges of promoting safety and security while facilitating travel; (Security)

2016-8: [in line with the priorities of G20, agree to further] in domestic policies: foster public‐private sector partnerships and promote governance structures that fully integrate the private sector and local residents in tourism development and promotion; (Microeconomics)

2016-9: [in line with the priorities of G20, agree to further] in domestic policies foster inclusive labour markets that promote quality jobs, skills and human resources development. (Labour and Employment)

2016-10: [in line with the priorities of G20, agree to further] in domestic policies … and socially responsible tourism enterprise. (Labour and Employment)

2016-11: 2016-[in line with the priorities of G20, agree to further] in domestic policies: encourage the holistic development of tourism destinations with a long‐term view through integrated and action‐oriented cross‐cutting policies; (Microeconomics)

2016-12: [in line with the priorities of G20, agree to further] promote a higher level of investment and financing for development in tourism through concrete actions that foster inclusive growth and advance sustainable development, [and also welcome the contribution that Official Development Assistance (ODA) and Aid for Trade (AfT) make towards the development of tourism] (Development)

2016-13: [in line with the priorities of G20, agree to further] encourage the G20 to consider travel and tourism as an important sector for its capacity to deliver on the objectives set by the G20 of building new sources of growth and development; (Development)

8th Meeting: Buenos Aires, Argentina, 17 April 2018 (12 commitments)

Participants

G20 members, Chile, Georgia, Jamaica, Netherlands, Senegal, Singapore, Spain, International Labour Organization, United Nations World Tourism Organization, World Travel and Tourism Council

Commitments

2018-1: [agree to] Consider encouraging sustainable and socially responsible policies that promote full and productive employment (Labour and Employment)

2018-2: [agree to… Consider encouraging sustainable and socially responsible policies that] facilitate the progress of innovation in tourism (Digitalization)

2018-3: [agree to… Consider encouraging sustainable and socially responsible policies that] foster the creation of decent jobs, sustainable enterprises and entrepreneurship, in particular among women and the youth; (Labour and Employment)

2018-4: [agree to] [Underline the importance and] consider establishing favourable tourism framework conditions to stimulate innovation (Digitalization)

2018-5: [agree to] [Underline the importance and] consider establishing favourable tourism framework conditions to stimulate .. entrepreneurship (Labour and Employment)

2018-6: [agree to] [Underline the importance and] consider establishing favourable tourism framework conditions to .. connect ecosystems linking start-ups, main companies, investors and governments along the tourism value chain; (Labour and Employment)

2018-7: [agree to] Consider creating cooperation mechanisms, where necessary, between educational institutions at all levels, the private sector, governments and technology partners to inform and underpin the review of educational programmes and accompanying skills development policies that help create the adequate skill sets for future work opportunities, including soft and transferable skills; (Education)

2018-8: [agree to] Consider the importance of SMEs [small and medium-sized enterprises] in the tourism, heritage and cultural sectors due to their contribution to job creation as well as their role in preserving and promoting cultural resources; (Labour and Employment)

2018-9: [agree to] Consider promoting the use of digital technology to facilitate travel between countries (Digitalization)

2018-10: [agree to] involving technology stakeholders in national tourism policy coordination structures and mechanisms in order to ensure holistic national tourism policies that foster innovation and create new decent jobs; (Digitalization)

2018-11: [agree to] Request the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) to prepare a report on the Future of Work and Skills Development in Tourism to be presented at the next Meeting of the Tourism Ministers of the G20 economies; (Labour and Employment)

2018-12: [agree to] Encourage G20 Leaders to consider including tourism in the G20 Agenda for its capacity to deliver on the objectives of creating more and better jobs; (Labour and Employment)

9th Meeting: Kutchan, Japan 25-26 October 2019 (31 commitments)

Participants

G20 members, Netherlands, Philippines, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand and Vietnam, International Labour Organization, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, United Nations World Tourism Organization, World Travel and Tourism Council

Commitments

Tourism Ministers of G20 member countries agree to work towards:

2019-1: [agree to work towards] maximizing the contribution of tourism to the SDGs [Sustainable Development Goals] (Development)

2019-2: [agree to work towards] managing tourism for the benefit of visitors and local communities (Development)

2019-3: [agree to work towards] enhancing the role of innovation and making good use of the digital transformation to advance sustainable tourism, (Digitalization)

2019-4: [agree to] promoting efforts, in each country, regarding tourism's paragraph in the G20 Osaka Leaders' Declaration; (Macroeconomics)

2019-5: [agree to] promoting that tourism can contribute to the 17 SDGs by integrating and engaging tourism in the national agendas and processes related to the implementation of the SDGs; (Development)

2019-6: [agree to] encouraging the joint work of the UNWTO and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) on the development of a toolkit to evaluate the contribution of tourism to the SDGs, and expecting that this will be completed and widely used from next year; (Development)

2019-7: [agree to] based on the Osaka Blue Ocean Vision, making efforts in the field of tourism to protect tourism destinations and local communities through the G20 Implementation Framework for Actions on Marine Plastic Litter; (Environment)

2019-8: [agree to] welcoming reports on women's empowerment through tourism by international organizations such as the UNWTO, UN Women, the World Bank and WTTC (Gender)

2019-9: [agree to] encouraging actions in each country's initiative based on the agreement on women's empowerment in the G20 Osaka Leaders' Declaration, referring to the actions (Annex 1); (Gender)

2019-10: [agree to] encouraging high quality infrastructure investment in the field of tourism and related fields based on the G20 Principles for Quality Infrastructure Investment; (Infrastructure)

2019-11: [agree to] strengthening the resiliency of tourism in G20 member countries through international cooperation (International Cooperation)

2019-12: [agree to] taking voluntary measures including sharing of best practices in crisis management and crisis communication during and in the aftermath of natural and man-made disasters and external shocks (Annex 2); (Information and Communications Technologies) (Environment)

2019-13: [agree to] fostering public-private sector partnerships and promoting governance models that integrate the public and private sectors, entrepreneurs, local communities as well as academics in sustainable tourism development; (Labour and Employment)

2019-14: [agree to] encouraging responsible tourism in which people experience unique nature and culture in local areas (Environment)

2019-15: [agree to] promoting benefit sharing with local communities for the protection of nature and culture (Environment)

2019-16: [agree to] encouraging travelers to visit diverse destinations to revitalize local economies and improve sustainability of the tourism destination; (Microeconomics)

2019-17: [agree to] encouraging policies that promote human capital development and inclusive labour markets that facilitate innovation. (Digitalization)

2019-18: [agree to] encouraging policies that …foster the creation of sustainable enterprises and decent jobs, including among women and youth (Labour and Employment)

2019-19: [agree to] promoting cooperation in tourism vocational training and a human-centred approach to the future of work; (Digitalization)

2019-20: [agree to] making full use of the digital transformation to improve the visitor experience (Digitalization)

2019-21: [agree to making full use of the digital transformation to improve] market intelligence and access (Digitalization)

2019-22: [agree to making full use of the digital transformation to improve] collection and sharing of data (Digitalization)

2019-23: [agree to making full use of the digital transformation to improve] to promote safety and security and travel facilitation (Digitalization)

2019-24: [agree to making full use of the digital transformation to improve] to foster effective visitor management (Digitalization)

2019-25: [agree to making full use of the digital transformation to improve] to support the development of SMEs, including their uptake of new technologies, digital skills and access to finance; (Digitalization)

2019-26: [agree to] encouraging efforts for the introduction of the initiative Towards a Statistical Framework for Measuring the Sustainability of Tourism (MST) led by UNWTO, and advancing the measurement of sustainable tourism through international standards and the use of new technologies to monitor and measure tourism's impacts and ensure evidence-based policy and decision making, planning and management of destinations; (Digitalization)

2019-27: [agree to] establishing favourable framework conditions for a conducive business environment, stimulating innovation … by linking start-ups, major companies, investors and governments along the tourism value chain; (Labour and Employment)

2019-28: [agree to] establishing favourable framework conditions for a conducive business environment, stimulating entrepreneurship … by linking start-ups, major companies, investors and governments along the tourism value chain; (Labour and Employment)

2019-29: [agree to] establishing favourable framework conditions for a conducive business environment, … creating networks by linking start-ups, major companies, investors and governments along the tourism value chain; (Labour and Employment)

2019-30: [agree to] encouraging G20 Leaders to consider institutionalizing the Tourism Ministers Meeting as an official G20 Ministers Meeting to maximize the potential of tourism to support economic growth, job creation, resiliency, inclusion and sustainability; (G20 Governance)

2019-31: [agree to] advancing these overarching initiatives through collective G20 member state engagement with the UNWTO, OECD, the ILO and other organizations toward achievement of these objectives. (International Cooperation)

2020: Virtual Meeting, 24 April 2020 (16 commitments)

Commitments

2020-1: We commit to working together to provide support to the sector [and welcome the national efforts to mitigate the social and economic impacts of the pandemic by G20 countries.] (International Cooperation)

2020-2: To address the immediate consequences of the crisis, we will continue our coordination with health, immigration, security, and other relevant authorities to minimize undue restrictions for essential travel such as for medical workers and stranded individuals. (Health)

2020-3: We will work with these authorities [health, immigration, security, and other relevant authorities] to ensure that the introduction and removal of travel restrictions are coordinated and proportionate to the national and international situation, and ensure the safety of travelers. (International Cooperation)

2020-4: We commit to working with international organizations, industry partners, and across governments to include travel and tourism in response and recovery programs. (International Cooperation)

2020-5: We [recognize the importance of ensuring the safety and well-being of workers in travel and tourism and] commit to working together to support an inclusive and sustainable recovery in the sector. (Health)

2020-6: To support economic recovery, we commit to ensuring a safe travel environment that helps rebuild consumer confidence in the sector, by strengthening regional and international coordination. (Health)

2020-7: We commit to helping tourism sector businesses, especially micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), entrepreneurs, and workers to adapt and thrive in a new post-crisis era, for example by fostering innovation and digital technologies that enable sustainable practices and seamless travel. (Microeconomics)

2020-8: We commit to accelerating the transition of the travel and tourism sector onto a more sustainable path – economically, socially and environmentally. (Development)

2020-9: To encourage inclusive recovery in the sector, we will work to support developing economies that rely on travel and tourism, especially in Africa and small island states. (Development)

2020-10: We will explore opportunities such as capacity building programs in travel and tourism to help the world economy recover, and help the sector become more inclusive, robust, and resilient. (Macroeconomic Policy)

2020-11: We commit to exchanging experiences and good practices (G20 Cooperation)

2020-12: [We commit to] strengthening coordination across governments to deliver integrated policy responses, including making continuous efforts in strengthening the resiliency of tourism. (International Cooperation)

2020-13: We will continue collaboration with industry stakeholders to improve the sector's resilience (G20 Co-operation)

2020-14: [We will continue collaboration with industry stakeholders to] … share relevant knowledge and information to improve crisis management (G20 Cooperation)

2020-15: [We will continue collaboration with industry stakeholders to] … strengthen coordination mechanisms, (G20 Cooperation)

2020-16: [We will continue collaboration with industry stakeholders to] … better prepare the sector to respond to future risks or shocks (Health)

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Appendix B: G20 Summit Conclusions on Tourism 2008–2019

  Words Paragraphs Documents Dedicated Documents
# % # % # %
2008 Washington 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2009 London 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2009 Pittsburgh 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2010 Toronto 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2010 Seoul 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2011 Cannes 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2012 Los Cabos 53 0.4 1 0.5 1 25 0
2013 St. Petersburg 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2014 Brisbane 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2015 Antalya 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2016 Hangzhou 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2017 Hamburg 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2018 Buenos Aires 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2019 Osaka 73 1.1 1 1.0 1 50 0
Total 126 1.5 2 1.5 2 75 0
Average 9.0 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 5.4 0

Compiled by: Duja Muhanna, G20 Research Group, March 17, 2019.

Notes:
Data are drawn from all official English-language documents released by the G20 leaders as a group. Charts are excluded.
"Words" refers to the number of words in a paragraph containing a reference to tourism policies excluding document titles and references. Total refers to all documents for that summit
"Paragraphs" refers to the number of paragraphs containing a reference to tourism. Each bullet point is recorded as a paragraph. Total refers to all documents for that summit.
"Documents" refers to the number of documents containing a reference to tourism policies and excludes dedicated documents. Total refers to all documents for that summit.
"Dedicated Documents" is the number of documents that refer to social policy in the title.

Introduction

As one of the fastest growing sectors, tourism plays a major role in international trade and is one of the driving forces of global economic growth, creating jobs, and reaching the Sustainable Development Goals. By giving access to decent work opportunities in the tourism sector, society – particularly youth and women – can benefit from increased skills and professional development. The sector's contribution to job creation is recognized within the Sustainable Development Goals, namely in Goal 8, Target 8.9 – "by 2030, devise and implement policies to promote sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products." Tourism is also included as targets in SDG 12 and 14 on sustainable consumption and production and the sustainable use of oceans and marine resources, respectively.

The importance of economic integration to drive growth and job creation in G20 economies makes the role of tourism significant in this regard. G20 Ministers of Tourism have encouraged G20 leaders to recognize the role of travel and tourism as a vehicle for job creation, economic growth and development, and commit to travel facilitation as a conduit for job creation, decent work, poverty alleviation, and global growth.

At the 2012 Los Cabos Summit in Mexico, G20 Leaders recognized the role of tourism as "a vehicle for job creation, economic growth and development." The topic of tourism in G20 conclusions next appeared in the G20 Osaka Leaders' Declaration as part of the article on creating a virtuous cycle of growth by addressing inequalities. In the Declaration, leaders stated that tourism is an important driver of economic growth and contributes to the creation of jobs - especially for women and youth - and the achievement of inclusive and sustainable development.

At the G20 Riyadh Summit in Saudi Arabia, to be held in November 2020, tourism will be a key topic of discussion for the summit. The Saudi Presidency will focus on ways to sustain world growth in the tourism sector with discussions centered around the themes of tourism contributions to the SDGs, managing tourism to benefit visitors and local communities, and the role of innovation and digital transformation in the advancement of sustainable tourism.

Definition of the Issue Area

Tourism is defined by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) as a social, cultural and economic phenomenon which entails the movement of people to countries or places outside their usual environment for personal or business/professional purposes. These people are called visitors (which may be either tourists or excursionists; residents or non-residents) and tourism has to do with their activities, some of which involve tourism expenditure.

Search Terms

The following keywords were used in this search:

Tourism, sustainable tourism, accessible tourism, coastal and maritime tourism, eco-tourism, digital tourism, heritage sites, UNESCO World Heritage, Sustainable Tourism Programme (STP), World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)

Coding Rules

The unit of analysis is the paragraph/sentence.
A direct reference to tourism or a cognate term is required.
Cognate or extended terms can be used without a direct reference to tourism if they have previously been directly associated together in summit communiqué history.

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Appendix C: G20 Tourism Ministers' Development of Global Governance

  Total 2010a 2010b 2011 2012 2013 2015 2016 2018 2019 2020
Total 214 13 5 8 18 23 23 40 19 54 11
World Tourism Organization 29 2   2 2 5 2 4 2 9 1
International Labour Organization 13 2 1 1 1   1 3 1 3  
World Travel and Tourism Council 20 2 1 1 2 2 1 4 1 4 2
United Nations Environment Programme 3 2         1        
United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific 1 1                  
International Trade Centre 4 2 1   1            
Group of 20 65 1 1 2 9 6 7 9 13 15 2
European Commission 3 1       1 1        
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development 2   1 1              
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development 15     1 1 3 2 3   3 2
International Civil Aviation Organization 3       1 2          
International Air Transport Association 2       1 1          
United Nations Green Economy Initiative 2         1 1        
G20 Leaders 9         1 2 1 1 4  
UNWTO Sustainable Tourism Eliminating Poverty 1         1          
Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States 1           1        
G20 Labour/Employment Ministers 2           2        
United Nations 3           1 2      
UN Women 3           1 1   1  
World Bank 2             1   1  
2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development 5             4   1  
Sustainable Development Goals 19             7 1 11  
World Trade Organization 1             1      
G20 Implementation Framework for Actions on Marine Plastic Litter 1                 1  
G20 Principles for Quality Infrastructure Investment 1                 1  
G20 Action Plan 1                   1
G20 Finance Ministers 1                   1
G20 Central Bank Governors 1                   1
Tourism Working Group 1                   1

Note: a Johannesburg; b Buyeo.

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