United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development
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Sustainable tourism

Description

Tourism is one of the world's fastest growing industries and an important source of foreign exchange and employment, while being closely linked to the social, economic, and environmental well-being of many countries, especially developing countries. Maritime or ocean-related tourism, as well as coastal tourism, are for example vital sectors of the economy in small island developing States (SIDS) and coastal least developed countries (LDCs) (see also: The Potential of the Blue Economy report as well as the Community of Ocean Action on sustainable blue economy).

The World Tourism Organization defines sustainable tourism as “tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities".

Based on General assembly resolution 70/193, 2017 was declared as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.

In the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development SDG target 8.9, aims to “by 2030, devise and implement policies to promote sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products”. The importance of sustainable tourism is also highlighted in SDG target 12.b. which aims to “develop and implement tools to monitor sustainable development impacts for sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products”.

Tourism is also identified as one of the tools to “by 2030, increase the economic benefits to Small Island developing States and least developed countries” as comprised in SDG target 14.7.

In the Rio+20 outcome document The Future We want, sustainable tourism is defined by paragraph 130 as a significant contributor “to the three dimensions of sustainable development” thanks to its close linkages to other sectors and its ability to create decent jobs and generate trade opportunities. Therefore, Member States recognize “the need to support sustainable tourism activities and relevant capacity-building that promote environmental awareness, conserve and protect the environment, respect wildlife, flora, biodiversity, ecosystems and cultural diversity, and improve the welfare and livelihoods of local communities by supporting their local economies and the human and natural environment as a whole. ” In paragraph 130, Member States also “call for enhanced support for sustainable tourism activities and relevant capacity-building in developing countries in order to contribute to the achievement of sustainable development”.

In paragraph 131, Member States “encourage the promotion of investment in sustainable tourism, including eco-tourism and cultural tourism, which may include creating small- and medium-sized enterprises and facilitating access to finance, including through microcredit initiatives for the poor, indigenous peoples and local communities in areas with high eco-tourism potential”. In this regard, Member States also “underline the importance of establishing, where necessary, appropriate guidelines and regulations in accordance with national priorities and legislation for promoting and supporting sustainable tourism”.

In 2002, the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg called for the promotion of sustainable tourism development, including non-consumptive and eco-tourism, in Chapter IV, paragraph 43 of the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation.

At the Johannesburg Summit, the launch of the “Sustainable Tourism – Eliminating Poverty (ST-EP) initiative was announced. The initiative was inaugurated by the World Tourism Organization, in collaboration with UNCTAD, in order to develop sustainable tourism as a force for poverty alleviation.

The UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) last reviewed the issue of sustainable tourism in 2001, when it was acting as the Preparatory Committee for the Johannesburg Summit.

The importance of sustainable tourism was also mentioned in Agenda 21.

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Displaying 1 - 25 of 25
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Meeting reports 24-Nov-2014
Meeting reports 29-Jan-2014
Other documents 11-Mar-2014
Other documents 26-Jan-1999
Other documents 26-Sep-2014
Other documents 14-Aug-2013
Other documents 26-Sep-2013
Other documents 4-Mar-2014
Other documents 4-Dec-2015
Resolutions and decisions 16-Feb-2016
Resolutions and decisions 16-Dec-2015
Resolutions and decisions 16-Feb-2016
Resolutions and decisions 19-Dec-2014
Resolutions and decisions 9-Feb-2017
Secretary-General Reports 19-Jul-2016
Secretary-General Reports 19-Jul-2017
Secretary-General Reports 15-Jan-1999
Secretary-General Reports 6-Aug-2013
Secretary-General Reports 31-Jul-2018
Secretary-General Reports 15-Jan-1999
Secretary-General Reports 31-Jul-2015
Secretary-General Reports 30-Jul-2018
Secretary-General Reports 21-Jan-1999
Secretary-General Reports 30-Jul-2015
Secretary-General Reports 15-Jan-1999
Displaying 1 - 56 of 56
Title Category Sort descending Date
What TUI Travel PLC is doing to become a more sustainable business Additional Information 12-Oct-2013
Challenges and opportunities for sustainable (eco)tourism development in small island… Introduction 15-Oct-2013
The European Commission's actions to enhance sustainable tourism Introduction 15-Oct-2013
Mr. Reza Salamat, Senior Sustainable Development Officer, UN DESA, New York, and Mr.… Introduction 14-Oct-2014
Authentic Ecolodges as a driver for poverty alleviation Introduction 15-Oct-2013
Ecotourism and Sustainable Development: Trends and Issues Introduction 15-Oct-2013
Vision 2020 for tourism in Morocco: Focus on Sustainability and Ecotourism Introduction 15-Oct-2013
Mr. Gary Lewis, Resident Representative, UNDP, Tehran, Iran Opening Session 14-Oct-2014
Mr. Nikhil Seth Opening Session 15-Oct-2013
Mr. Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Secretary-… Opening Session 14-Oct-2014
Ms. Zoritsa Urosevic Opening Session 15-Oct-2013
Mr. Warner Andrada, Office of Tourism Development Planning, Department of Tourism,… Session 1 14-Oct-2014
Mr. Zahed Ghaderi (ICHTO) Session 1 14-Oct-2014
Ms. Tri Mumpuni and Mr. Iskandar Kuntoadji, Co-founders and Managing Directors, People-… Session 1 14-Oct-2014
Mr. Xu Jing, Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific, United Nations World Tourism… Session 1 14-Oct-2014
Mr. Hamid Zagham (ICHTO) Session 1 14-Oct-2014
Mr. Alex A Kerr, Jr, Chiiori Trust, Kameoka-shi City, Japan Session 1 15-Oct-2014
Mr. Sandeep Kulshreshtha, Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management, Ministry… Session 1 14-Oct-2014
Certified Sustainability Session 1: Financing sustainable (eco)resort/hotel investments and developing the markets for (eco)tourism services 3-Dec-2013
The Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF): An Overview Session 1: Financing sustainable (eco)resort/hotel investments and developing the markets for (eco)tourism services 15-Oct-2013
Certification of Sustainable Tourism In Costa Rica Session 1: Financing sustainable (eco)resort/hotel investments and developing the markets for (eco)tourism services 3-Dec-2013
Mr. Hitesh Metha, HM design, Kenya Session 2 15-Oct-2014
Ms. Fen Wei, Consultant, World Bank Session 2 15-Oct-2014
Mr. Duranga Silva, Sri Lanka Tourism Senior Lecturer and Coordinator of Tourism Studies,… Session 2 15-Oct-2014
Sustainable Tourism Policy in Korea Session 2: Tourism planning, marketing and destination management 3-Dec-2013
Ecotourism in Indonesia Session 2: Tourism planning, marketing and destination management 3-Dec-2013
Measures to promote sustainable (eco)tourism in Islamic Republic of Iran Session 2: Tourism planning, marketing and destination management 3-Dec-2013
Planning, Developing and Managing Sustainable (Eco)Tourism Destinations Facing New or… Session 2: Tourism planning, marketing and destination management 3-Dec-2013
TERANGA DURABLE - Sustainable Tourism Certification - Senegal Session 2: Tourism planning, marketing and destination management 3-Dec-2013
Planning for sustainable tourism development in South-Eastern Europe Session 2: Tourism planning, marketing and destination management 3-Dec-2013
Sustainable Tourism : The Future that Madagascar wants through its Challenge 2020 Session 2: Tourism planning, marketing and destination management 3-Dec-2013
The Peaks of the Balkans Hiking Trail Session 2: Tourism planning, marketing and destination management 3-Dec-2013
Tourism in Africa Session 2: Tourism planning, marketing and destination management 3-Dec-2013
Trans-border tourism in the central and lower Danube region Session 2: Tourism planning, marketing and destination management 3-Dec-2013
Sustainable Ecotourism Initiative Session 2: Tourism planning, marketing and destination management 3-Dec-2013
Promoting Sustainable Tourism in China Session 2: Tourism planning, marketing and destination management 3-Dec-2013
Mr. Mohammad Zahedi (ICHTO) Session 3.1 15-Nov-2014
Mr. Abolfazl Ardeshri Tajzadeh Session 3.1 15-Oct-2014
Mr. Ashkan Borouj Session 3.1 15-Oct-2014
Mr. Zahed Shafiei Session 3.1 15-Oct-2014
Mr. Hasan Almasi Session 3.1 15-Oct-2014
Mr. Ralph Wahnschafft, Senior Advisor, Sustainable Development Policies, Berlin, Germany… Session 3.1 15-Oct-2014
Mr. In Thoeun, Deputy Director, Ministry of Tourism, Phnom, Penh, Cambodia Session 3.2 15-Oct-2014
Mr. Ruslan Shadikov, Tajikistan Session 3.3 15-Oct-2014
Regulation to Enhance Sustainability Ecotourism in Cambodia Session 3: Assessing socio-economic benefits, employment generation and poverty reduction from sustainable (eco)tourism 3-Dec-2013
Policy recommendations for enhancing poverty reduction in developing countries… Session 3: Assessing socio-economic benefits, employment generation and poverty reduction from sustainable (eco)tourism 3-Dec-2013
Mr. Venkata Rao, Pondicherry University Puducherry, India Session 4 15-Oct-2014
Ms. Susanna Aghajanyan, Armenian Institute of Tourism Session 4 15-Oct-2014
Mr. Morteza Sharifi, Ministry of Agriculture of I.R. of Iran Session 4.3 15-Oct-2014
Mr Sang-In Kang, Senior Expert, Global Strategy Center, Korea Environment Institute,… Session 4.3 15-Oct-2014
World Heritage and Sustainable Tourism Session 4: Enhancing environmental protection through sustainable (eco)tourism 6-Dec-2013
Environmental Impact Assessment of Tourism Development: Case studies and experiences… Session 4: Enhancing environmental protection through sustainable (eco)tourism 6-Dec-2013
Klaus Lengefeld, Senior Advisor, Sustainable Tourism Development Programmes, German… Session 5 15-Oct-2014
The 10YFP Sustainable Tourism Programme: Policies to Implementation, Partnerships and… Session 5: Partnerships for international cooperation 15-Oct-2013
Trans-boundary cooperation in sustainable tourism and destination management Session 5: Partnerships for international cooperation 6-Dec-2013
Compendium on Good/Best Practices in Sustainable (Eco)Tourism : Selected case profiles Session 5: Partnerships for international cooperation 6-Dec-2013

Milestones

  • 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 behavior towards a more sustainable tourism sector that can contribute to the SDGs.
  • January 2015 Targets 8.9, 12 b,14.7
    The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development commits Member States, through Sustainable Development Goal Target 8.9 to “devise and implement policies to promote sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products”. The importance of sustainable tourism, as a driver for jobs creation and the promotion of local culture and products, is also highlighted in Sustainable Development Goal target 12.b. Tourism is also identified as one of the tools to “increase [by 2030] the economic benefits to Small Island developing States and least developed countries”, through Sustainable Development Goals Target 14.7.
  • Sustainable tourism is defined as a significant contributor “to the three dimensions of sustainable development” thanks to its close linkages to other sectors and its ability to create decent jobs and generate trade opportunities. Therefore, Member States recognize “the need to support sustainable tourism activities and relevant capacity-building that promote environmental awareness, conserve and protect the environment, respect wildlife, flora, biodiversity, ecosystems and cultural diversity, and improve the welfare and livelihoods of local communities” as well as to “encourage the promotion of investment in sustainable tourism, including eco-tourism and cultural tourism, which may include creating small and medium sized enterprises and facilitating access to finance, including through microcredit initiatives for the poor, indigenous peoples and local communities in areas with high eco-tourism potential”.
  • January 2009 Roadmap for Recovery
    UNWTO announced in March 2009 the elaboration of a Roadmap for Recovery to be finalized by UNWTO’s General Assembly, based on seven action points. The Roadmap includes a set of 15 recommendations based on three interlocking action areas: resilience, stimulus, green economy aimed at supporting the tourism sector and the global economy.
  • The Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria represent the minimum requirements any tourism business should observe in order to ensure preservation and respect of the natural and cultural resources and make sure at the same time that tourism potential as tool for poverty alleviation is enforced. The Criteria are 41 and distributed into four different categories: 1) sustainability management, 2) social and economic 3) cultural 4) environmental.
  • By Resolution 453 (XV), the Assembly agreed on the transformation of the WTO into a United Nations specialized body. Such transformation was later ratified by the United Nations General Assembly with the adoption of Resolution A/RES/58/232.
  • The conference was organized in order to gather tourism authorities, organizations, businesses and scientists to discuss on the impact that climate change can have on the tourist sector. The event took place from 9 till 11 April 2003 in Djerba, Tunisia.
  • Held in May 2002, in Quebec City, Canada, the Summit represented the most important event in the framework of the International Year of Ecosystem. The Summit identified as main themes: ecotourism policy and planning, regulation of ecotourism, product development, marketing and promotion of ecotourism and monitoring costs and benefits of ecotourism.
  • At the World Tourism Organization Sixth Assembly held in Sofia in 1985, the Tourism Bill of Rights and Tourist Code were adopted, setting out the rights and duties of tourists and host populations and formulating policies and action for implementation by states and the tourist industry.
  • January 1982 Acapulco Document
    Adopted in 1982, the Acapulco Document acknowledges the new dimension and role of tourism as a positive instrument towards the improvement of the quality of life for all peoples, as well as a significant force for peace and international understanding. The Acapulco Document also urges Member States to elaborate their policies, plans and programmes on tourism, in accordance with their national priorities and within the framework of the programme of work of the World Tourism Organization.