Understanding the threats that tourism poses to the environment and even cultures, the United Nations is launching a global initiative to make tourism worldwide more environmentally, socially and economically sustainable. The Global Partnership for Sustainable Tourism will be led initially by the French government and hosted by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).
This global approach is a huge endeavor, but by highlighting the importance of sustainable tourism, the UN is encouraging countries around the world to think about how tourism works and how it can work better, and in a more sustainable fashion. The partnership is aiming high. The goal is to transform the way tourism operates around the world by seeking out and replicating successful, sustainable policies, projects, and investments,” said Achim Steiner, Under-Secretary General for the UN and Executive Director of UNEP.
Because tourism is such an all encompassing industry, and one that is responsible for about five percent of global GDP, the initiative will cover a variety of sectors:
- policy frameworks
- climate change
- environment and biodiversity
- poverty alleviation
- cultural and natural heritage
- private sector sustainable practices
- finance and investment
How will this affect how we travel? That remains to be seen, but with such a grandiose, international initiative we can most likely expect a larger discussion on what constitutes sustainable tourism and how we can all do our part to travel in a more conscious manner.
Image: Lee Coursey