Planning for the “Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development” well under way

The UNWTO is hard at work in the planning phases of next year’s “big” theme – towards more sustainable tourism development.
The International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development was announced at the United Nations 70th General Assembly in September 2015. United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon underlined the importance of the announcement, stating, “With more than one billion international tourists now travelling the world each year, tourism has become a powerful and transformative force that is making a genuine difference in the lives of millions of people. The potential of tourism for sustainable development is considerable. As one of the world’s leading employment sectors, tourism provides important livelihood opportunities, helping to alleviate poverty and drive inclusive development.”

The International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development is a unique opportunity to raise awareness on the contribution of sustainable tourism to development among public and private sector decision-makers and the public, while mobilizing all stakeholders to work together in making tourism a catalyst for positive change.

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the United Nations Specialized Agency for Tourism,has been mandated to facilitate the organization and implementation of the International Year, in collaboration with Governments, relevant organizations of the United Nations system, international and regional organizations and other relevant stakeholders.

In the context of the universal 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the International Year aims to support a change in policies, business practices and consumer behaviour towards a more sustainable tourism sector than can contribute to the SDGs.

The #IYSTD2017 will 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.

According to UNWTO Secretary- General Taleb Rifai, “To advance on the Sustainable Development Goals is highly related to engagement and commitment. We believe that these type of events help to create awareness but also to advocate tourism for development as a policy strategy for countries.”