The seventh annual Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference (ESTC), organized by The International Ecotourism Society, will be held in Nairobi, Kenya, from 24-27 September 2013. With a strong focus on highlighting and promoting ecotourism‘s role in sustainable development, the ESTC13 aims to strengthen the industry’s commitment to the recent UN resolution, “Promotion of Ecotourism for Poverty Eradication and Environment Protection”, which recognizes ecotourism’s positive impact on sustainable community development efforts.
The conference program will feature ideas, opportunities and solutions for the tourism industry to support conserving natural areas, alleviating poverty, empowering women, enhancing education, and improving the health and well-being of local communities.
“In a significant acknowledgment of tourism as a tool for promoting sustainable development, this milestone resolution stressing ecotourism’s role in the fight against poverty and the protection of the environment was unanimously adopted by the UN General Assembly on 21 December 2012,” states Luigi Cabrini, UNWTO’s Director for Sustainable Development of Tourism.
“Sponsored by a record 105 delegations, the resolution draws on the recommendations contained in a substantive report prepared by UNWTO, with contributions from over 50 States and several other organizations, and calls on governments to promote investments in ecotourism, such as microcredit initiatives for the poor, a recommendation contained also in the outcome document of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (RIO+20). The development of ecotourism, within the framework of sustainable tourism, can have a positive impact on income generation, job creation and education, and thus on the fighting against poverty and hunger, protection of the environment and the promotion of sustainable development, contributing to achieve the Millennium Development Goals,” concludes Luigi Cabrini.
Building on discussions held during previous years’ conferences, as well as continued online dialogue among ESTC participants, the conference program will feature ideas, opportunities and solutions for the tourism industry to assist in conserving natural areas, alleviating poverty, empowering women, enhancing education, and improving the health and well-being of local communities. By minimizing negative footprint and maximizing positive impact, tourism can play an active role in contributing to these goals, which are outlined in the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the world’s time- bound commitment to fighting poverty and achieving a just, sustainable, and healthier future.
“TIES collaboration with UNWTO and our partners in Kenya and East Africa enhances the ability to provide a unique ESTC experience this September,” says Dr. Kelly Bricker, Chair, TIES Board of Directors. “The ESTC13 will be an opportunity to learn first-hand how businesses and destinations are utilizing tourism to support sustainable development at local to global levels. The tourism industry is increasingly being recognized as an important player in contributing to the world’s sustainable development goals which focus on conservation and communities. We hope to harness this momentum, and together with our partners and members from across the globe, work to effect positive change in our industry through the ESTC and other collaborative efforts.”
In honor of the UN International Year of Water Cooperation and of World Tourism Day to be celebrated on 27 September on the theme of “Tourism and Water – Protecting Our Common Future”, the ESTC13 program will also highlight the opportunities for tourism to promote sustainable water management, support education and cooperation around issues related to water, and improve access to safe drinking water in communities around the world. The conference is co-hosted by the Kenya Tourist Board and Ecotourism Kenya and in cooperation with the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).