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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) led 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 also addressed the current state of global economic recovery. While it is undeniable that the travel and tourism sector 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. 

Event Information

On September 24, the 2020 GYEO Summit welcomed a special presentation hosted by FHI 360 and Adventure Travel and Trade Association (ATTA). This two-hour interactive session featured two sets of lightning talks with various industry experts focused on critical issues for youth engagement in the sector and explored the Covid-19 context for travel and tourism. The opening session addressed the topics of skills development and youth economic opportunities in the industry, implementation of training models, professional growth, and job security. The second session focused on emerging fields, current issues faced by the sector, including, adventure travel, and digital/virtual tourism. In addition, the session will included a special ‘Voices from the Field’ segment where youth currently engaged in the industry talk about their journey and how they are handling the impacts of COVID-19.  

Date & Time:

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


Two hours, online.

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