In his message on the occasion of the World Tourism Day 2015, the United Nations Secretary General Banki-moon said: “With more than one billion international tourists now traveling 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.”
In December 2015, the United Nations 70th General Assembly has designated 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development (A/RES/70/193). It considers 2017 “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. 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 that can contribute to the SDGs”.
According to the United Nations, the #IY2017 will promote tourism’s role in the following five key areas:
1.) Inclusive and sustainable economic growth
2.) Social inclusiveness, employment and poverty reduction
3.) Resource efficiency, environmental protection and climate change
4.) Cultural values, diversity and heritage
5.) Mutual understanding, peace and security.
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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.
As UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai says: Tourism is so much more than you imagine and every action counts. We invite you all to not only dream but get active with us this year. How? We will let you know, so stay tuned & Happy #IY2017!!!