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Action on sustainability in tourism needs extra push, says new UNWTO report

In line with its vision of advancing sustainability through tourism, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) released its flagship publication ‘Tourism for Development’ in Brussels on Wednesday during the European Development Days (EDD), and called for greater awareness of sustainability in tourism policies and business practices as well as in tourist behavior.

‘Tourism for Development’ provides concrete recommendations on how to use tourism as an effective means for achieving sustainable development. It shows that tourism has a global reach and has positive effects on many other sectors. Not only does the sector spearhead growth, it also improves the quality of people’s lives, supports environmental protection, champions diverse cultural heritage and strengthens peace in the world.

Moreover, if well planned and managed, tourism can effectively and directly contribute to the shift towards more sustainable lifestyles and consumption and production patterns. But to get there the tourism sector must, as an agent of positive change, make evidence-based decisions that ensure a consistent contribution to sustainable development.

This two-volume report showcases 23 case studies from around the world of tourism contributing to sustainable development in all its dimensions. “This report offers tangible, wide-ranging evidence of the fact that tourism can make a meaningful and substantial contribution to achieving sustainable development and the 2030 Agenda”, said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili.

The report portrays tourism as a driver of sustainable development and can lay the groundwork for stakeholders to build on tourism’s opportunities by changing policies, business practices and consumer behavior.

According to the report, this requires measuring tourism’s impact accurately and regularly, and putting the results at the service of the right policies, business practices and consumer behavior.

‘Tourism for Development’ calls for governments to establish and enforce inclusive and integrated policy frameworks for sustainable tourism development. Businesses, on the other hand, need to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability in core business models and value chains, while individuals and civil society should also adopt sustainable practices and behavior.

UNWTO presented ‘Tourism for Development’ at EDD, Europe’s leading forum on development organized by the European Commission. More than 180 people contributed to the publication in a global consultation with governments, organizations and civil society. UNWTO gives special thanks to the George Washington University for its contribution.

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