UNWTO puts climate change at “heart” of Asian tourism agenda

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The travel the industry needs to take "greater responsibility" for its environmental impact
The travel the industry needs to take “greater responsibility” for its environmental impact

Climate change needs to be at the “heart of the tourism agenda” in Southeast Asia, the UNWTO has said.

The organisation recently hosted a major event in the Philippines that outlined measures tourism operators in the region should take to help to protect the environment.

Hosted by the Philippine government, the UNWTO-ASEAN International Conference on Tourism & Climate Change was held in Legazpi from 18-20 May 2014 and highlighted the steps the industry needs to take to ensure a sustainable future.

In his opening address at the event, Philippine president Benigno S. Aquino III revealed the Philippines’ approach to the issue, which includes environmental issues as part of its “local, sectoral and national plans”, which it says will “guide the development of tourism destinations and tourism activities per locality”.

“With the increasing risks of climate change, this is something we encourage other ASEAN-member countries, as well as countries around the world, to look into.” he added.

UNWTO secretary-general, Taleb Rifai, said climate change needs to be at “the heart of the tourism agenda”, and that the industry needs to take “greater responsibility” for its environmental impact.

“Energy-efficient and renewable energy technologies can reduce operational costs. Resource efficiency not only mitigates and reduces the tourism footprint, but fosters economic growth and creates much needed jobs in the process,” said Rifai.

The UNWTO-ASEAN conference brought together more than 200 senior tourism officials, policymakers and industry experts from 18 countries.

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