2017 has been designated the “International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development” by the United Nations.
First unveiled by the UN General Assembly, the initiative aims to drive a change in tourism business practices and tourist behaviour, with the effort of creating a more inclusive and sustainable industry. This forms part of the UN’s long-term Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were unveiled last year.
“This is a unique opportunity to build a more responsible and committed tourism sector that can capitalise [on] its immense potential in terms of economic prosperity, social inclusion, peace and understanding, cultural and environmental preservation,” said UNWTO secretary-general, Taleb Rifai.
The International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development will focus on five key areas: promoting sustainable economic growth; social inclusiveness, employment and poverty reduction; resource efficiency and environmental protection; promoting cultural values, diversity and heritage; and improving mutual understanding, peace and security.
A presentation of the initiative will take place in Madrid on 18 January 2017 during the FITUR travel trade show, and a new website has been created for the year, at tourism4development2017.org.