The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) recently declared that the year 2017 will be the “International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.”
The declaration was announced on December 4, 2015 by the General Assembly of the United Nations.
The UN statement said: “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.”
UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai said the decision was a chance to “advance the contribution of the tourism sector to the three pillars of sustainability: economic, social, and environmental.”
Rifai also said that it would also “raise the awareness of a part of the tourism industry which is often undervalued.”
Rifai said “UNWTO would collaborate with governments and relevant organizations to ensure it was a success.”
In the recent 2012 Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), the UN recognized that “well-designed and well-managed tourism could play an important role in sustainable development by promoting job creation and trade and also greater understanding between peoples.”