SUSTAINABLE TOURISM: TIME FOR A GLOBAL COMMITMENT

UNWTO launches a series of initiatives to celebrate the International year of sustainable tourism for development

With 2017 being officially named the “Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development” by the United Nations, the World Tourism Organization continues to announce new initiatives to move the sector towards a more sustainable future.

The UN’s70th General Assembly, in September 2015, designated 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development (IY2017), aiming to raise awareness on the contribution of sustainable tourism to development among decision-makers and the public, while mobilizing all stakeholders to work together in making tourism a catalyst for positive change.

IY 2017 aims to raise awareness on the contribution of sustainable tourism to development among decision- makers and the public, while mobilising all stakeholders to work together in making tourism a catalyst for positive change.

In the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the International Year aims foster a change in policies, business practices and consumer behaviour for a more sustainable tourism sector.

One example was the recent “Manilla Call for Action”, stemming from the 6th International Conference on Tourism Statistics.

The aim of the conference was to lay the groundwork for an expanded statistical framework to measure sustainable tourism in its economic, social and environmental dimensions.

The outcome, a “Call for Action on Measuring Sustainable Tourism”, represents a global commitment to sustainable tourism and the need to measure it through a consistent statistical approach recognising that effective sustainable tourism policies require an integrated, coherent and robust information base.

“The Manila Conference constitutes a milestone for tourism measurement, not only by extending the current statistical standards beyond their economic focus to cover the social and environmental dimensions, but because it represents a global commitment to sustainable tourism and a recognition of its contribution to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the universal 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” said UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai.

The Manila Call for Action reflects the collective vision and commitment to collaborate on the further development and implementation of a Measuring Sustainable Tourism (MTS) statistical framework. Sustainable tourism is understood as tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industries, the environment and host communities. As such it is a continuous process and requires constant monitoring of impacts.