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Published on Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Travel and tourism could change the world - and you can help

There has never been a more ambitious programme for our world's sustainable development - for once tourism is included. Why not play a part in it?

At the end of this month, at the UN in New York, the world's leaders will agree a mammoth programme of sustainable development -agreeing how and what to do to make the world a better place o live in for everybody. Later this year at COP21 in Paris emissions goals will be agreed and next year at ICAO the world's airlines will agree their targets.

This month 17 Sustainable Development goals will be agreed to be achieved by 2030 and, as part of these goals there are 169 specific targets.

Four of these relate directly to tourism, but many of them can be achieved with the help of tourism as a powerful method for community development.

This year it is said that the international travel and tourism industry will carry and host over a billion clients. Domestic tourism industries will host over four billion visitors. That's a lot of potential power to make these good things happen.

The fact is that, working in travel and tourism, we all have the power to help change and sustain our world through our work.

Sustainability acts at four levels - socially, culturally, economically and environmentally - and, as we all know it's at these levels that tourism is most powerful.

Understanding what is happening, getting involved with a travel related organization such as the Travel Foundation, and carrying the message to our clients is the least that we can do to keep our world safe for successive generations.

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals. How many of these can tourism help fulfil?..

  • Goal 1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere
  • Goal 2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
  • Goal 3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
  • Goal 4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
  • Goal 5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
  • Goal 6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
  • Goal 7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
  • Goal 8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
  • Goal 9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
  • Goal 10. Reduce inequality within and among countries
  • Goal 11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
  • Goal 12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
  • Goal 13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts*
  • Goal 14. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
  • Goal 15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
  • Goal 16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
  • Goal 17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

Tourism-related targets:

According to the UN: "We recognise that social and economic development depends on the sustainable management of our planet's natural resources. We are therefore determined to conserve and sustainably use oceans and seas, freshwater resources, as well as forests, mountains and drylands and to protect biodiversity, ecosystems and wildlife. We are also determined to promote sustainable tourism, tackle water scarcity and water pollution, to strengthen cooperation on desertification, dust storms, land degradation and drought and to promote resilience and disaster risk reduction. In this regard, we look forward to COP13 of the Convention on Biological Diversity to be held in Mexico in 2016."

Goal 8.9 By 2030, devise and implement policies to promote sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products

Goal 12 12.b Develop and implement tools to monitor sustainable development impacts for sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products

Goal 14.7 By 2030, increase the economic benefits to Small Island developing States and least developed countries from the sustainable use of marine resources, including through sustainable management of fisheries, aquaculture and tourism

Further information:

The Travel Foundation:

The Guardians Comprehensive Guide to UN sustainable development:

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And a folio and update will be out on 2 November - special reduced price for pre-release reservations.

Valere Tjolle

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