Latest News

Back to Latest News back

 

Looking back on the UN Year of Sustainable Tourism

Looking back on the UN Year of Sustainable Tourism
October 21, 2021

Four years on from the United Nations’ 2017 Year of Sustainable Tourism, what were its results and implications.

It has been the mission of the UN, and specifically the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to bolster worldwide economic growth through tourism and increase intercultural dialogue.

So, after recognising the huge potential of the tourism industry, the UN declared, in its 70th General Assembly in 2015, that 2017 would be the official year for sustainable tourism development.

This was based on the conclusion that with tourism accounting for more than 10% of the world’s economic activity, the focus could contribute greatly in the fight to possibly end poverty and increase mutual understanding.

The UN further acknowledged that with tourism one of the world’s fastest growing industries in the world, the importance of sustainable tourism to the social, environmental and economic growth of many countries including and especially developing countries should be emphasised.

The UN summed up the importance of tourism as follows: “In fostering better understanding among peoples everywhere, leading to a greater awareness of the rich heritage of various civilizations and bringing about a better appreciation of the inherent values of different cultures, thereby contributing to the strengthening of peace in the world.”

What is Sustainable Tourism?
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), a specialised UN agency entrusted with the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism, has defined 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". 

Results and Implications
After proclaiming 2017 as the year for sustainable tourism, the UN tasked the UNWTO with raising awareness of the importance of sustainable tourism to the general public and private and public sector decision makers. 

The UN also set out three tourism goals, namely goals 8, 12 and 14, in their 2030 agenda for sustainable development and the sustainable development goals (SDGs). But because tourism overlaps with so many areas of life, including camping, it was connected to the entire agenda. 

As a result, the UNWTO sought to inspire all stakeholders in the tourism industry to work together to bring positive change in the world through tourism. 

The implementation of this year by the UNWTO resulted in a 7% increase of International Tourist arrivals which reached a total of 1,322 million. 

This was well beyond the projected 4-5% growth which had become a trend since 2010. The UNWTO also concluded that 1 in 11 jobs were provided by the global tourism industry. In addition, tourism contributes 10% of global GDP to the world's economies. 

Hence the UNWTO continued its work throughout the year and in subsequent years to make tourism a force for good.

The Future of Sustainable Tourism
The tourism industry as a whole has benefited greatly from the UN’s stamp of approval. 

As already mentioned, tourism is important to not just the global economy but also in bringing positive change in the world itself. 

In addition, tourism promotes the meeting and mingling of people from different cultures, race and economic status which further breeds mutual understanding and breaks down barriers between people. 

The UN has a goal to increase tourism and the number of international arrivals, but it won’t be possible without global cooperation. 

Therefore, all should play their part in implementing sustainable tourism development. 
Michael Palmer.

Images: Sustainable tourism in Thailand (top, credit: ARIVAL) and best practice in sustainable tourism (below).

About the author

Michael Palmer

Editor, TentHVAC

Michael Palmer is an outdoor enthusiast who likes to go on weekend backpacking trips with his dog Rory.

He likes writing and works as an editor at TentHVAC, a collective of enthusiasts who love travel, backpacking, and camping. . 

Read more from this author

Related Articles

7th October 2021 - WTTC research reveals global loss of 62 million tourism jobs

17th September 2021 - New WTTC report provides vital investment recommendations for tourism sector post-COVID pandemic

25th July 2021 - New WTTC report launches framework for achieving Destination Stewardship

1st July 2021 - Ecotourism Australia launches new version of Green Travel Guide

30th June 2021 - United Nations report says COVID-19 impact on tourism could deal $4 trillion blow to global economy

15th June 2021 - Tripadvisor research reveals COVID-19 vaccines driving global tourism demand

21st May 2021 - Thailand’s Pimalai Resort looks to establish itself as world leading ecotourism destination

25th April 2021 - WTTC’S summit to be world’s first face-to-face post-pandemic global tourism event  

8th April 2021 - Japan Sustainable Tourism Standard for Destinations gets GSTC recognition

31st March 2021 - Ecotourism Australia calls for return of JobKeeper to those who need it

15th March 2021 - New UNWTO report on global travel restrictions shows slowing of easing measures

18th February 2021 - Report from New Zealand’s Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment urges move to sustainable tourism

24th December 2020 - UNWTO points to tourism ‘looking forward with determination’

3rd November 2020 - Koh Lanta transforms into one of Thailand’s most sustainable tourism destinations

15th October 2020 - Santiburi Koh Samui commits to CSR projects and signs UNESCO Sustainable Tourism Pledge

26th August 2020 - United Nations Secretary-General highlights the scale of world tourism’s crisis

28th July 2020 - Virtual gathering at Asia’s largest sustainable tourism event pushes for environmental action

19th May 2020 - Cambodian Wildlife in danger as ecotourism sector collapses

13th May 2020 - UNWTO says international tourism faces worst crisis since records began

28th October 2019 - University of South Australia research focuses on sustainable tourism

24th September 2019 - 1,000 delegates attend Phuket sustainable tourism event

9th April 2019 - Cambodian sustainable tourism initiative congratulates WTTC award winners

21st November 2018 - New UNWTO Report helps cities manage impacts of ‘overtourism’

24th December 2019 - Caravan and camping visitor expenditure reaches $7.9 billion, exceeds 13 million trips

26th November 2018 - UNWTO report shows Thailand leads Asia in incoming international visitor spending

12th February 2017 - Global tourism bodies welcome International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017

3rd February 2017 - UNESCO and UNWTO combine to launch 2017 as International Year of Sustainable Tourism

10th September 2016 - United Nations declares 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development

3rd March 2016 - United Nations marks World Wildlife Day with a global call to save endangered species


Support our industry news service
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

As an independent publisher, we need reader support for our industry news gathering so ask that - if you don't already do so - you back us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine and/or our online news.

Click here to view our subscription options.

 

supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all

HRMWEB

At easyemployer we've come up with a software solution that manages one of your most important, and often most costly, business resources - your staff. We are helping 100s of clients to…

read more

Finance / Fitness / Technology

 
 

BH Fitness

BH Fitness, part of the long-standing and iconic bike manufacturer BH Group, is a global leader in fitness equipment for both Commercial and Home markets. The company, with the headquarters based in…

read more

Fitness / Recreation / Sport / Technology / Wellness

 
 

GEOFF NINNES FONG AND PARTNERS

Geoff Ninnes Fong & Partners (GNFP) is a structural, aquatic and civil engineering consultancy with broad experience in the design of new municipal and institutional swimming pools, hydrotherapy…

read more

Aquatics / Consultants / Design / Venues

 
 

Fun Wheels Pty Ltd

Fun Wheels Pty Ltd are the premium dealer in Australasia for the Dutch company BERG’s commercial and domestic products. Our flagship product is their revolutionary pedal go-kart – the…

read more

Attractions / Tourism / Venues

 
 

SENtag

Developed in Europe, this innovative system offers a safety management solution for swimming pools that checks individual swimmers via their wristband - monitoring their depth and time. Sensors…

read more

Aquatics / Hospitality / Safety / Technology / Waterparks

 
 

PlayRope

Playrope Aqua-Fun, are the Australian & New Zealand exclusive distributors for Vortex Aquatic Structures International, the world leader in aquatic playgrounds and urban water landscapes.…

read more

Aquatics / Attractions / Parks / Play / Recreation

 
 

TPEC Pool Enclosures

TPEC Pool Enclosures provide a large range of premium commercial and residential retractable swimming pool, spa and terrace enclosures throughout Australia, servicing residential, local government…

read more

Aquatics / Design / Recreation / Venues

 
 

APT Asia Pacific Pty Ltd

APT (Advanced Polymer Technology) is the leading global manufacturer of polyurethane-based materials, acrylic coatings and synthetic turf products for sporting and recreational applications. From…

read more

Environment / Sport / Surfaces / Technology

 
 
 
 

get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business