FAO teams up with UNWTO to boost sustainable rural tourism to help strengthen rural economies and conserve ecosystems

Asha Bajaj
3 min readOct 3, 2020

Rome, Oct 3 : The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Tourism Organization of the United Nations (UNWTO) today joined forces to promote sustainable tourism in rural areas with the aim of supporting rural economies, FAO reports said.

(Left to right) Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General, World Tourism Organization, and FAO Director-General QU Dongyu signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), at FAO headquarters in Rome today.

Sustainable tourism in rural areas such as agritourism, ecotourism, and pescatourism is an important driver of socio-economic growth that can reduce inequalities, increase the resilience of rural communities, and boost rural incomes.

The new partnership will also contribute to the ecosystems conservation and the development of the FAO’s Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS), as well as support the Coalition of Fragile Ecosystems (COFE) — a global alliance of vulnerable communities living in fragile ecosystems that advocates for the protection of mountain and island ecosystems and the resilience of their populations.

FAO Director-General QU Dongyu and UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili signed today the first-ever Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two organizations at FAO headquarters in Rome.

“The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding coincides with World Tourism Day this year focusing on Sustainable Tourism for Rural Development, a topic of deep interest for FAO,” the FAO Director-General said.

“Tourism in rural areas can play a pivotal role in supporting rural economies through income diversification of farmers, job creation and raising public awareness of the significance of rural areas for food security, the environment, for the protection of culinary and cultural heritage, the conservation of local biodiversity and the maintenance of beautiful landscapes,” he noted.

For his part, UNWTO Secretary-General said: “This Memorandum of Understanding between UNWTO and FAO emphasizes the cross-cutting nature of tourism and the importance of cooperation at every level to ensure the sector works for everyone. Both tourism and agriculture are lifelines for communities around the world. The agreement is particularly timely as it comes as we recognize 2020 as the year of Tourism for Rural…

Asha Bajaj

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