The United Nations has approved plans to make 2017 the ‘International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development’.
The resolution, adopted by the UN General Assembly on 4 December, recognises “the importance of international tourism… in fostering better understanding among peoples everywhere, in leading to a greater awareness of the rich heritage of various civilisations, and in bringing about a better appreciation of the inherent values of different cultures, thereby contributing to the strengthening of peace in the world”.
“The declaration by the UN of 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development is a unique opportunity to advance the contribution of the tourism sector to the three pillars of sustainability – economic, social and environmental, while raising awareness of the true dimensions of a sector which is often undervalued,” said UNWTO secretary-general, Taleb Rifai.
“As the lead UN agency for this initiative, UNWTO is very much looking forward to proceeding with the organization and implementation of the International Year, in collaboration with governments, relevant organisations of the UN system, other international and regional organisations and all other relevant stakeholders,” he added.
This decision follows the recognition by global leaders at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development that “well-designed and well-managed tourism” can contribute to sustainable development, job creation and to trade.
It also follows the recent establishment of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were approved by the UN General Assembly in September. Tourism forms a key part of several of the SDGs, including initiatives for sustainable economic growth, job creation and the conservation of the world’s seas and oceans.