57 per cent of international tourist arrivals in 2030 will be in emerging economies, according to UNWTO.
Photo: © UNWTO

2017 is the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development

Tourism is an important economic sector in many emerging and developing countries. Sustainable tourism can contribute to reducing poverty and protecting the environment. Moreover, it can fos-ter mutual understanding, leading to peace and security, the UN says.

The United Nations General Assembly declared 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tour-ism for Development, recalling the potential of tourism to advance the universal 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The International Year aims to support a change in policies, business practices and consumer be-haviour towards a more sustainable tourism sector that can contribute effectively to the SDGs.

Accounting for 7 per cent of worldwide exports, one in eleven jobs and 10 per cent of the world’s GDP, the tourism sector, if well managed, can foster inclusive economic growth, social inclusive-ness and the protection of cultural and natural assets.

The International Year is to promote tourism’s role in the following five key areas:

  • Inclusive and sustainable economic growth;
  • Social inclusiveness, employment and poverty reduction;
  • Resource efficiency, environmental protection and climate change;
  • Cultural values, diversity and heritage;
  • Mutual understanding, peace and security.

Sustainable tourism offers a real opportunity for emerging and developing countries. When it is designed to truly embrace sustainability a myriad of actors within a given region can reap benefit from the tourism sector, including farmers, for example, by offering primarily locally-grown food.

Sustainable tourism should also incite more understanding between different cultures, thereby contributing to greater tolerance and, in the final instance, to avoiding conflicts and encouraging peace-building efforts.

Moreover, sustainable tourism has to be designed to achieve maximum environmental and cli-mate protection. Optimally, sustainable tourism will be a vehicle for protecting and restoring bio-diversity.

More information:International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017

Rural 21 Editon  on Sustainable tourism

(UNWTO/ile)