Tourism must go green says UN World Tourism Organisation

The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) hopes to contribute to creating a greener and more sustainable global economy, and discussed the how to do this at the T20 Ministers’ Meeting in Johannesburg this week.

International ministers and tourism officials, including South African Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism Martinus van Schalkwyk, discussed ways of contributing to economic recovery.

A roadmap to recovery for the global tourism economy was drawn up, and included specific focus on job retention and sector support. It was decided that it is vital to create green tourism jobs and promote skills development, as well as to continually promote green tourism investment infrastructure.

Taleb Rifai, UNWTO secretary general , praised South Africa for its role in “many areas relating to the rapidly evolving global agenda and representing an important view from the South, along with other nations like Brazil, China and India, which are committed to balanced multilateral solutions and global positions”.

He added: “We are also fortunate to have our own leader in Minister Van Schalkwyk, who has worked tirelessly with his dedicated staff to organise this meeting and the important Summit on Tourism, Sports and Mega Events that will follow. I want to formally thank you on behalf of all of us here.”

Cape Town Tourism is also very aware of the need for more responsible tourism.

According to the UNWTO website, the Johannesburg meeting concluded with the following recommendations:

  • To strengthen the analytical base that underpins the economic and development case for travel and tourism.
  • To intensify collaboration to position tourism as a key driver of sustainable economic and social development.
  • To enhance the role of tourism to contribute towards creating new, decent employment opportunities, boosting trade, renewing infrastructure, and above all, accelerating ethical and sustainable development, thereby expanding the reach of the economic benefits of tourism to a larger segment of the world population.
  • To continue to examine broad international economic frameworks that have a significant impact on global tourism development.
  • To increase co-operation between countries, working closely with stakeholders, with a view to facilitating international movement of tourists, addressing restrictive travel barriers, and fostering mutual understanding and collaboration.
  • To engage and partner with the international community, including the UNWTO,  the G20 and international and intergovernmental bodies such as the UN Environment Programme.
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