TOURISM COOPERATIVES AND THE COVID-19 CRISIS



A glimpse from the webinar on “Cooperative Tourism and the Covid-19 Crisis

ICA-AP, as part of its ICA-EU partnership framework, in collaboration with International Social Tourism Organisation (ISTO) and Wayfairer.coop organized a webinar on “Cooperative Tourism and the Covid-19 crisis – Sustainable Recovery Measures to Support the Tourism Sector in the Asia-Pacific” in April 2021.

As the entire tourism ecosystem experienced the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, reopening and rebuilding destinations requires a collaborative approach. Ongoing support to the travel and tourism economy needs to be supplemented with more coordinated efforts, utilizing this crisis as an opportunity to rethink tourism for the future. This includes digitalization, supporting the transition to low carbon, and promoting structural transformation with responsible, sustainable, and regenerative tourism.

Mr. Mohamad Ali Bin Hasan from ANGKASA, Malaysia shared how ANGKASA is contributing to the development of cooperatives in business and entrepreneurship through the tourism sector and discussed their activities like the development of School Cooperative Tourism (PKS), branding CoopISTAC, and the creation of a network of services and businesses for cooperative spa, hotel, homestay etc. Ms. Isabel Novoa, Mr. Maurizio Davolio and Mr. Charles-E. Bélanger from ISTO shared the economic significance of cooperative tourism in terms of regional cooperation, trade, MSME support, job creation, skills enhancement, innovation, and the development of ICT. Mr. Rohan Clarke from the Wayfairer.coop, a regenerative tourism cooperative in Australia, presented how it builds community wealth when travelers book a holiday. It aims to help communities to realise the value of their tourism assets by returning capital earned from those assets to the community. Ms. Madushi Jayamali from the Cooperative Tourism Promotion Bureau, established by NCCSL discussed its plans to launch cooperative development promotional activities in Sri Lanka as well as programmes for foreign cooperators and tourists by providing them with innovative experiences linked to the local cooperative movement.

Community-based tourism organizations have a close affinity with their host communities in rural settings and work together to derive the common economic interest of their member. Such cooperatives have played an important role in national development by offering cooperative tourism as an effective tool for socio-economic development, creating employment and job opportunities for local people, promoting local culture, preserving the environment, and earning foreign currency.