The United Nations General Assembly declared 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development recalling the potential of tourism to advance the universal 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 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 than can contribute effectively to the SDGs.
“This is a unique opportunity to build a more responsible and committed tourism sector that can capitalize its immense potential in terms of economic prosperity, social inclusion, peace and understanding, cultural and environmental preservation” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.
Accounting for 7% of worldwide exports, one in eleven jobs and 10% of the world’s GDP, the tourism sector if well managed can foster inclusive economic growth, social inclusiveness and the protection of cultural and natural assets.
The International Year 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; and
(5) Mutual understanding, peace and security.
The presentation of the International Year will take place in Madrid on 18 January 2017 on the occasion of the Spanish Tourism Fair, FITUR.