Marking World Tourism Day, UN highlights role of travel sector in protecting waterways
The important relationship between recreational travel and the world’s water resources is the focus of this year’s United Nations observance of World Tourism Day, which aims to raise awareness of tourism’s social, cultural, political and economic value.
“World Tourism Day offers a unique opportunity to shine a spotlight on water both as an asset and as a resource and on the actions needed to face up to the water challenge,” Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General of the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), said in a statement on the 2013 theme, “Tourism and Water: Protecting our Common Future.”
“I urge all those involved in the tourism sector to join our global World Tourism Day campaign and continue to devise innovate solutions to ensuring tourism contributes to sustainable access to water resources worldwide,” he added.
In his message on the occasion, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that unsustainable consumption and climate change were threatening global water and stressed the responsibility of the tourism industry to safeguard and intelligently manage the resource.
“In this International Year of Water Cooperation, I urge tourism establishments to cut consumption and improve waste management, and I call on individuals to play their part by making environmentally conscious choices when they travel,” Mr. Ban said.
As part of the worldwide observance of the Day, in the Maldives, a conference on tourism and water will bring together public and private sector tourism stakeholders, experts on water preservation and media experts today, according to the UNWTO.