The United Nations General Assembly approved the adoption of 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. How we make the most of #IY2017 depends on what we do and how well we collaborate.
The resolution, adopted on December 4, 2015, recognizes “the importance of international tourism, and particularly of the designation of an international year of sustainable tourism for development, in fostering better understanding among peoples everywhere, in leading to a greater awareness of the rich heritage of various civilizations and in bringing about a better appreciation of the inherent values of different cultures, thereby contributing to the strengthening of peace in the world.”
“The declaration by the UN of 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development is a unique opportunity to advance the contribution of the tourism sector to the three pillars of sustainability – economic, social and environmental, while raising awareness of the true dimensions of a sector which is often undervalued” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai. “As the lead UN agency for this initiative, UNWTO is very much looking forward to proceeding with the organization and implementation of the International Year, in collaboration with Governments, relevant organizations of the UN system, other international and regional organizations and all other relevant stakeholders”, he added.
This decision follows the recognition by global leaders at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) that “well-designed and well-managed tourism” can contribute to the three dimensions of sustainable development, to job creation and to trade.
How do we submit events to the official IY2017 calendar?
Will events and workshops related to IY2017 have livestreaming and archived video?
How will the International Year address climate change and the emissions created from long-haul travel?
What is the transition from unsustainable to sustainable? = ¿Cuál es la transición de insostenible a sostenible?
Updating wiki throughout the year, request for guest wiki editors
Using Google Doc(s) for collaborative editing
Hosting series of live video conversations
Generating a wishlist and evaluating the outcomes
IY2017 Wish List / Checklist
1) We’d like to learn about tourism and development
2) We’d like the IY2017 to be a window into UNWTO and partners
3) We’d like the IY2017 to be fully engaged via the social web
•Facebook, Flickr, Google, Periscope, Twitter, YouTube
•Livestreaming and archived video
•Resources for remote participants
4) We’d like the IY2017 events to engage locals and teach visitors about the host venues
5) We’d like the IY2017 to be a catalyst for satellite events and viewing parties
6) We’d like the IY2017 to be particularly friendly to Indigenous Peoples
7) We’d like the IY2017 to serve as an example of responsible travel embedded in tourism events
8) We’d like the IY2017 to address climate change
9) We’d like the IY2017 to address migration and the legal movement of people
Elsewhere on the Web
Tourism can be made more sustainable through several achievable measures. Some look to technological solutions so we can continue business as usual. Others highlight conscious consumerism and ideas like slow travel.
But in a world in which growing populations with endless consumer demands are pitted against a fragile environment, we require more concerted effort.
1) Governments must implement policies that foster sustainable development by overcoming the growth fetish. Tourism then should be developed only within sustainable development parameters. Governments must tackle the environmental limits to growth and climate change challenges we confront. Tourism development requires integrated planning. So, we need the government tourism authorities – such as Tourism Australia or state tourism commissions – focused equally on integrated planning as the marketing they currently emphasise.
2) Consumers should be educated for responsible travel choices. For example, few realise that all-inclusive resorts result in economic benefits from tourism leaking out of the host economy back to the home economies of the big multinationals and corporations that often own such resorts (think Club Med). Civics education in schools could educate for responsible travel.
3) Local communities, often treated as only as one stakeholder among the many, must have a right to participate in tourism decision-making and have a say on if and how their communities become tourism destinations.
4) Workers of tourism must have their rights respected and given decent conditions. Tourism should not be allowed to continue as a low-wage and precarious source of employment.
5) The tourism industry needs to assume greater responsibility, submitting to local tax regimes and regulations so its presence builds thriving communities, rather than undermining them. This is increasingly essential as a social license to operate. The industry should also educate its clients on responsible tourism.
6) Non-governmental organisations are essential for reporting on the abuses of tourism, including land grabs, human rights abuses, community opposition and corruption.
Harnessing these essential stakeholders in a rigorous agenda for sustainable development, rather than sustaining tourism, would make the UN’s “year” more meaningful.