UNWTO announce resolution on sustainable tourism

The Travel Foundation's Mexico honey project

The Travel Foundation's Mexico honey project

The United Nations General Assembly has adopted by consensus a milestone resolution recognising the contribution of sustainable tourism to poverty eradication, community development and the protection of biodiversity.

The resolution emphasises the need to optimise the economic, social, cultural and environmental benefits stemming from sustainable tourism, particularly in developing countries. Entitled “Promotion of sustainable tourism, including ecotourism, for poverty eradication and environment protection”, it calls upon the UN System to promote sustainable tourism as an instrument that can contribute to achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

The resolution is significantly broader in scope than previous versions, and builds on a 2012 UN resolution on ecotourism drawing on a report prepared by UNWTO. In line with UNWTO recommendations, it underlines the importance of appropriate national policies, guidelines and regulations for promoting sustainable tourism, including ecotourism, and encourages UN Member States and regional and international financial institutions to support sustainable tourism projects, enabling the creation of small and medium-sized enterprises, promoting cooperatives and facilitating access to inclusive financial services, including microcredit initiatives for the poor, local and indigenous communities.

The resolution was adopted by consensus and sponsored by 107 Member States including Morocco, which remained the lead sponsor, steering the negotiating process to a successful conclusion.

UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai said, “UNWTO welcomes this remarkable acknowledgement of tourism’s ability to advance sustainable development across the world. The wide-ranging support to this resolution mirrors the increasing awareness of the vital role tourism plays in a sustainable future for all, and opens the doors for supportive national policies and international financing for sustainable tourism.”

The resolution places sustainable tourism firmly on the UN post-2015 agenda as it requests UNWTO and other United Nations agencies to develop “… recommendations on ways and means to promote sustainable tourism, including ecotourism, as a tool for fighting poverty and promoting sustainable development …" to be submitted to the seventy-first session of the UN General Assembly in 2016.

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