At World Ecotourism Summit, UN agency highlights sustainability issues
As the World Ecotourism Summit got under way in Québec City, Canada, over the weekend, the top United Nations environment official hailed the forum's thrust to examine vital issues related to the tourism industry in the context of sustainable development.
"The Summit will help towards the development of well-managed tourism - tourism which takes account of its environmental, economic and social impact," said Klaus Toepfer, the Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), addressing participants on Sunday. Its conclusions, he stressed, will be "a valuable contribution" to the World Summit on Sustainable Development set to convene in Johannesburg at the end of August.
"We welcome the opportunity offered by the Summit to highlight and promote sustainable tourism - of which ecotourism is a part - as an important component of sustainable development," Mr. Toepfer said in his address to the forum, which has attracted over 1,000 participants from some 130 countries.
The four-day Summit, an initiative of UNEP and the World Tourism Organization, was convened in partnership with Tourisme Québec and the Canadian Tourism Commission. Key topics under discussion include the regulation, marketing and promotion of ecotourism. Participants will also discuss how to ensure that ecotourism's benefits are equitably distributed among all stakeholders.