Holiday makers and travellers are increasingly becoming conscious of the effects of their travel and destination activities’ impacts. There is a massive opportunity to create a shift towards more sustainable tourism, given the vastness of the tourism industry globally and the large contribution that sustainable tourism can have on transitioning the world towards a sustainable and inclusive green economy.
The tourism sector is one of the largest growing economic sectors globally and contributes significantly to GDP, employment and global exports. The World Trade Organisation estimates that by 2030, 1.8 million travellers will arrive in destinations around the world. Tourism can impact on natural resources like water and biodiversity, and it can contribute towards climate change, pollution and land degredation – if it is not managed sustainably.
Therefore, United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the Governments of France, the Republic of Korea and the Kingdom of Morocco, with the support of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has launched the Sustainable Tourism Programme. The Programme strives to achieve major shifts in tourism policies and stimulate greater sustainability within the tourism supply chain. A collaborative initiative, the programme aims to improve resource efficiency, management effectiveness, and the use of new technologies to promote sustainable consumption and production patterns in this key sector.
In Africa, Morocco has committed itself (through its new Vision 2020) to becoming one of the world’s top 20 tourism destinations and a model of sustainable tourism development in the Mediterranean.
“This ambitious strategy aims to capitalize on and preserve our natural and cultural advantages so that their exploitation yields the most sustainable social and economic benefits for all stakeholders,” said Dr Lahcen Haddad, Minister of Tourism for the Kingdom of Morocco.
City governments in Africa are also championing the move towards more sustainable tourism. Since the signing of the Cape Town Declaration, the City of Cape Town has created the Responsible Tourism Policy and Action Plan, committed to the Cape Town Responsible Tourism Charter and is actively engaging organisations around responsible tourism in the “mother city”.