The Reemergence of the Travel and Tourism Sector – Why Youth Matter

According to the ILO, globally approximately 68 million youth are unemployed and it is estimated an additional 41 million youth will enter the workforce by 2030.  The travel and tourism industry, representing 1 in 10 jobs globally, employing 330 million people according to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), is a sector ripe for engagement and economic opportunity for youth. However, according to multiple studies, youth perceive the industry mostly as an entry point or short-term employment engagement as opposed to one that has opportunities for long-term professional development and careers. Education, sensitization, and awareness building regarding the opportunities for long-term growth and employment in the sector will support poverty alleviation and livelihoods development for youth around the globe.

In this session, FHI 360 and its co-sponsor the Adventure Travel and Trade Association (ATTA) will lead an exploration of youth economic opportunity in the sector from the perspective of professional development, growth, and key segments. Hear from industry experts in travel and tourism, international development, and resilient youth currently engaged in the travel and tourism industry. 

The session will also address the current state of global economic recovery. While it is undeniable that the travel and tourism sector have suffered significant retrenchment since the emergence of coronavirus and the global pandemic, it is also uniquely positioned to rapidly bounce back and as a major driver of youth employment and economic recovery. Research from UNWTO highlights that the sector was one of the fastest to recover from the 2008 global recession where employment across all economic sectors grew by 11% between 2010 and 2018, however, employment in accommodation and restaurants grew by 35%. The strong growth has continued to the period just prior to the pandemic with travel and tourism outperforming the 2.5% rate of global GDP growth for the ninth consecutive year in a row, with an annual GDP growth rate of 3.5%.  The consensus is that similar to the post-2008 crisis, tourism will bounce back and be a critical element of economic recovery, including employment generation, across the globe. 

Live Track Event

On September 24, the 2020 GYEO Summit welcomes a special presentation hosted by FHI 360 and Adventure Travel and Trade Association (ATTA). This two-hour interactive session will feature two sets of lightning talks with various industry experts focused on critical issues for youth engagement in the sector and explore the Covid-19 context for travel and tourism. The opening session will address the broad topics of skills development and youth economic opportunities in the industry, implementation of training models, professional growth, and job security. The following session will focus on emerging fields and issues and could address COVID-19 and tourism, adventure travel, and digital/virtual tourism. In addition, the session will include a special ‘Voices from the Field’ segment where youth currently engaged in the industry talk about their journey.  Participants will be encouraged to engage through online discussion boards running parallel to the event

Date & Time:

Thursday, September 24th, 9:00 am – 11:00 am EDT  


Two hours, online, advance registration required.

Schedule of Events:

Welcome and Introductions - 9:00 - 9:10 AM 
Session I Speakers - 9:10 - 9:50 AM 
Session I Q&A and Discussion - 9:50 - 10:00 AM 
Session II Presentation - 10:00 - 10:40 AM 
Session II Q&A and Discussion - 10:40 - 10:50 AM 
Recap and Takeaways - 10:50 - 11:00 AM

Session Sponsors

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Aziz Abu Sarah
Mejdi Tours, NatGeo Explorer
Gustavo Timo
ATTA (Adventure Travel and Trade Association)
Jessica Schultz
Hyatt Hotel Corp
Natasha Martin
Good Tourism
Nick Wedeman
FHI 360
Niki Zoli
Former Director of Social Impact, Marriott International
Sherry Youssef
FHI 360
Taleb Rifai
Former Secretary General, World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)