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2017 is the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development
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.