2017 – International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development

2017 – International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development

by Mariana Aldrigui, Turism teacher and researcher at USP

The United Nations has declared that 2017 will be the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. This means that all organs attached to the UN must in some way stimulate debate and propose concrete actions with regard to the topic.

Such is the case, naturally, with the World Tourism Organization and obviously it is expected that all those that occupy (or wish to occupy) a prominent role also do something in this sense.

The fact is that because of the indiscriminate use of words like ‘sustainable’ and ‘sustainability’ they no longer have the effect they should. It is as if everybody knows what sustainable means but in practice are unable to differentiate what in fact it is.

The time has gone when considering using recycled material or placing stickers in all rooms asking people to switch off the lights were enough. We can already see that this is no longer enough.

In the case of Brazil, we learned about the need to save water and electricity in a painful and traumatic way and, because of the crisis, getting round the successive increases [in costs] is almost a question of survival. The country is also one of the champions in waste recycling, but this has little to do with being conscientious: it is a picture of just how many of its people live in poverty and depend on waste for their survival.

When it is a question of tourism it is essential that companies look for every type of alternative and involve their customers in all the processes. This is necessary when thinking as a passenger or guest, because particularly in the case of holiday travel there is a feeling of release from our obligations and we have access to luxuries that are not necessarily available at home. As a result we consume more water in baths and showers, there is a greater use of air conditioning and we treat the production and correct disposal of waste in a more lenient manner.

But the biggest question will continue to be the growth in CO2 emissions. More affordable tourism means that more people travel and aircraft fuel is the biggest item on the polluting practices’ account of our sector. But at the same time it is thanks to the bigger distances covered and the “discovery” of new destinations that more communities have benefited from the tourism activity.

The response is always to look for creative, innovative and necessarily responsible alternatives, which consider economic, social and environmental sustainability, the premise of which is maintaining and improving the quality of life in the place visited. The involvement of talented people from the engineering, technology, health and, naturally, tourism areas can guarantee better results – without any utopic or jingoistic attitudes and thinking, but with a focus on short and long-term results.


Source: Garyarvel.com

The opinions expressed in this text are the author’s opinion and do not necessarily reflect the position of WTM Latin America.

Tagged .

WTM Latin America is the three day must-attend business-to-business (B2B) event which brings the world to Latin America and promotes Latin America to the world.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *