2017 has been declared as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for development by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), reflecting the strong commitment of the tourism sector to achieving the 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s), adopted by governments in 2015.
In the region, The South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) is working hard to ensure that tourism partners understand this commitment to sustainable tourism and are able to articulate what it means for them as partners in tourism development.
In an effort to bring about a clearer understanding of the SDGs and what it means for the region, SPTO has started a series of blogs to discuss the relevance of each goal to Pacific tourism.
According to UNWTO, Tourism has the potential to contribute directly or indirectly to all the SDG’s and is included as targets in Goals 8, 12 and 14 on inclusive and sustainable economic growth, sustainable consumption and production and the sustainable use of ocean and marine resources, respectively.
In the Pacific we can continue to work together to ensure that our tourism businesses are thriving; our land and ocean resources are managed well; our people benefit and our cultural values and traditions remain intact.
This week we will look at Goal 11 of the SDGs which aims to MAKE CITIES AND HUMAN SETTLEMENTS INCLUSIVE, SAFE, RESILIENT AND SUSTAINABLE
A city that is not good for its citizens is not good for tourists. Sustainable tourism has the potential to advance urban infrastructure and universal accessibility, promote regeneration of areas in decay and preserve cultural and natural heritage assets upon which tourism depends. Greater investment in green infrastructure (more efficient transport, facilities, reduced air pollution, conservation of heritage sites and open space etc.) should result in more smarter and greener cities from which not only residents, but also tourists, can benefit. (UNWTO)
Tourism has inspired the development of many Pacific island countries over the years. This is evident in the priority that Governments and leaders have placed on the sector in driving economic prosperity for the region. The sector has contributed to a large extent in reaffirming national pride and ownership in providing a clean and welcoming environment for locals and visitors. It has also stimulated support for investment in public goods such as roads, inter-island connectivity, water and electricity in urban and rural areas.
At provincial, district and village level, support from Government and partners including donors and private sector is needed to boost development. It is therefore vital that future investment ensures energy and water efficiency, appropriate management of waste and protection of the natural environment for the benefit of local people and visitors who want to share the uniqueness of the Pacific region and contribute to its social and economic growth.