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 4 of the SDGs which aims to ENSURE INCLUSIVE AND EQUITABLE QUALITY EDUCATION AND PROMOTE LIEFLONG LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES FOR ALL
Tourism provides an opportunity to empower Pacific people through improved access to quality education and vocational training. The future of tourism in the Pacific hinges on the ability of our Pacific island countries to deliver quality services that exceed visitors’ expectations. Tourism therefore requires a skilled, well-trained and motivated workforce to bridge the gap between industry demand for qualified and skilled staff and what is available locally.
The tourism sector can provide incentives to invest in education and vocational training and assist labour-mobility through cross border agreements on qualification standards and certifications. In particular youth, women, senior citizens, indigenous peoples and those with special needs should benefit through educational means, where tourism has the potential to promote inclusiveness, the values of a culture of tolerance, peace and non-violence and all aspects of global exchange and citizenship. (UNWTO)
Commitment from Government, policy makers, development partners, donors and the private sector is needed to achieve positive change and grow tourism in the region.
With targeted trainings and stakeholder education and outreach, benefits from the sector can reach many women, youth, communities, people with disabilities and help improve their livelihoods.
Whilst labour-mobility opportunities are benefiting Pacific communities, there is also a need to balance this approach with quality on-the-job trainings that can benefit more people and add value to the industry.