A Year Of Sus­tain­able Tourism

International Year of Sus­tain­able Tourism for De­vel­op­ment 2017 kicks off

Golf Asia (Malaysia) - - SCENE -

The World Tourism Or­ga­ni­za­tion (UNWTO) is a spe­cialised United Na­tions agency re­spon­si­ble for the pro­mo­tion of re­spon­si­ble, sus­tain­able and uni­ver­sally ac­ces­si­ble tourism. This lead­ing international or­gan­i­sa­tion pro­motes tourism as a driver of eco­nomic growth, in­clu­sive de­vel­op­ment and en­vi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­ity while of­fer­ing lead­er­ship and sup­port to the sec­tor in ad­vanc­ing knowl­edge and tourism poli­cies world­wide.

“Ev­ery day, more than three mil­lion tourists cross international bor­ders. Ev­ery year, al­most 1.2 bil­lion peo­ple travel abroad. Tourism has be­come a pil­lar of economies, a pass­port to pros­per­ity, and a trans­for­ma­tive force for im­prov­ing mil­lions of lives. The world can and must har­ness the power of tourism as we strive to carry out the 2030 Agenda for Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment,“said United Na­tions Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral, An­to­nio Guter­res, in his message on the oc­ca­sion of the International Year.

Nearly 600 par­tic­i­pants at­tended the Of­fi­cial Launch of the International Year of Sus­tain­able Tourism for De­vel­op­ment 2017 on 18 Jan­uary 2017. The event was held at the International Tourism Fair of Spain (FITUR) in Madrid, and will be fol­lowed by 12 months of global ac­tions aimed at ad­vanc­ing sus­tain­able tourism con­tri­bu­tion to the 2030

Agenda for Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment. Max Forster of CNN and Raquel Martinez of

RTVE hosted the event while un­der­lin­ing the im­mense so­cio-eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties brought by the sec­tor to all so­ci­eties as well as its power to ad­vo­cate for mu­tual understanding, peace and sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment world­wide.

“2017 is a unique op­por­tu­nity for us to pro­mote the con­tri­bu­tion of tourism to achiev­ing the fu­ture we want – and also to de­ter­mine, to­gether, the ex­act role we will have tourism play in the sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment agenda, to and beyond 2030. A unique op­por­tu­nity to en­sure that tourism is a pil­lar in achiev­ing the 17 Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals (SDGs),” said UNWTO Sec­re­tary Gen­eral, Taleb Ri­fai, dur­ing the open­ing of the event.

The International year will pro­mote tourism’s role in the fol­low­ing five key ar­eas. The first be­ing an in­clu­sive and sus­tain­able eco­nomic growth, the sec­ond a so­cial in­clu­sive­ness, em­ploy­ment and poverty re­duc­tion, the third re­source ef­fi­ciency, en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion and cli­mate change. The fourth are cul­tural val­ues, di­ver­sity and her­itage, last but not least mu­tual understanding, peace and se­cu­rity are essen­tial to achieve the goals set out.

Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Prime Min­is­ter of Ge­or­gia men­tioned that the launch of the International Year of Sus­tain­able Tourism for De­vel­op­ment em­pha­sized the com­mon global chal­lenges all the na­tions are fac­ing. Though dif­fi­cult, it will be pos­si­ble to re­solve it through ad­vanc­ing re­la­tions and fur­ther part­ner­ships. Ini­tia­tives as such will high­light the Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals (SDGs) that are the fo­cal point of fu­ture de­vel­op­ment, and help guide coun­tries to­wards cre­at­ing long-term as­sets while pre­vent­ing rel­e­vant li­a­bil­i­ties.

“The International Year of Sus­tain­able Tourism for De­vel­op­ment 2017 is an in­cen­tive to fos­ter so­cial and po­lit­i­cal di­a­logue which can pro­mote ini­tia­tives, investments and gov­ern­ment ac­tions lead­ing to de­vel­op­ment and the fight against poverty,” shared the Vi­cePres­i­dent of Hon­duras, Ri­cardo Alvarez Arias.

Last but def­i­nitely not the least, Al­fonso María Dastis, Min­is­ter of For­eign Af­fairs and Co­op­er­a­tion of Spain men­tioned, ”The 2030 Agenda con­sid­ers sus­tain­able tourism as a vec­tor of de­vel­op­ment, job cre­ation and the pro­mo­tion of lo­cal cul­ture and prod­ucts. Tourism is part of the Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals and con­trib­utes de­ci­sively to al­most all 17 Goals through its im­pacts on fight­ing poverty, pro­mot­ing de­cent jobs, im­prov­ing gender equal­ity and the liveli­hoods of young peo­ple or the fight against cli­mate change.”

Other no­table guests who ad­dressed the cer­e­mony were Nas­sir Ab­du­laziz Al-Nasser, High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive for the United Na­tions Al­liance of Civil­i­sa­tions, Francesco Ban­darin, As­sis­tant Di­rec­tor-Gen­eral for Cul­ture at UNESCO, and Elz­bi­eta Bienkowska, Euro­pean Com­mis­sioner for In­ter­nal Mar­ket, In­dus­try, En­trepreneur­ship and SMEs.

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