|The pause in tourism has given many tourism and conservation professionals an opportunity to reflect on whether they want to go back to the way things were (10), or alternatively to build back better and greener and recover in a more responsible, sustainable and regenerative way (11). The United Nations and international development agencies have been increasingly vocal in their support for sustainable recovery. In August 2020, UN Secretary-General António Guterres released a policy brief on COVID-19 and transforming tourism, stating that the tourism sector should be rebuilt in a way that is “safe, equitable and climate friendly [and as a] provider of decent jobs, stable incomes and the protection of our cultural and natural heritage.” For travel and tourism to be truly sustainable, broad standards and protocols are needed to address climate change, conservation and social justice. It is also important to conserve nature in protected areas to avoid future zoonoses (12). This is the time for the tourism sector to seize the moment and enact meaningful changes that will transform the world and make a lasting difference for future generations (13). COVID-19 has accelerated the sustainability agenda, and amid the pause, companies are concentrating efforts on their commercial survival. Many tourism operators see becoming sustainable as too hard to do, but in reality it is not so difficult. Resources like the new “Handbook for Sustainable Tourism Practitioners: The essential toolkit” (14) can help the sector to build back in a regenerative way, with communities at the centre.