The United Nations (UN) has declared 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. The UN General Assembly has asked the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) to “facilitate the organization and implementation of the Year, in collaboration with Governments, relevant organizations of the United Nations System, other international and regional organizations and other relevant stakeholders”.
The Organization of World Heritage Cities (OWHC) was invited to the Official Opening Ceremony in Madrid, Spain, host country of the UNWTO, which took place on 18 January 2017, coinciding with the Spanish International Tourism Fair (FITUR). The OWHC was represented by the Deputy Secretary General, Lee Minaidis. The ceremony began with the launching of the International Year campaign “Travel.Enjoy.Respect” (#TRAVELENJOYRESPECT) with “Tips for a Responsible Traveler” developed by the World Committee on Tourism Ethics based on the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism.
The International Year will explore and highlight tourism’s role in five key areas:
- Inclusive and sustainable economic growth
- Social inclusiveness, employment and poverty reduction
- Resource efficiency, environmental protection and climate change
- Cultural values, diversity and heritage
- Mutual understanding, peace and security
The following Lines of Action have been defined:
- Advocacy and awareness-raising
- Knowledge creation and dissemination
- Capacity-building and education
Recommended activities in accordance with these Lines of Action for Governments, IOs, Private Sector, Academia and NGOs are listed in the UNWTO publication, “A roadmap for celebrating together”. There will be an International Year website for all activities to be documented and registered. These will be included in the UNWTO’s final report to be submitted to the UN in 2018.
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