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 will start a series of blogs this week 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 6 of the SDGs which aims to ENSURE AVAILABILITY AND SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT OF WATER AND SANITATION FOR ALL
Tourism can play a critical role in achieving water access and security, as well as hygiene and sanitation for all. The efficient use of water in the tourism sector coupled with appropriate safety measures, waste water management, pollution control and technology efficiency can be key to safe guarding our most precious resource. (UNWTO)
Tourism infrastructure in the Pacific particularly in rural and remote villages have benefitted many communities with access to water and sanitation. The key to a thriving tourism industry across the Pacific also relies heavily on access to safe drinking water and hygiene.
However, water is a precious resource across the Pacific. The future is uncertain. Rainfall patterns are predicted to change, potentially impacting water sources. It is therefore more important than ever, that the Pacific tourism sector engages in proactive water management.
2017 as the United Nations International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development is a good opportunity for the Pacific tourism sector to step up its efforts in adopting sustainable practices to manage water usage by investing in efficient technology, effectively managing waste water and taking preventative measures to control marine pollution. Strengthening relevant policies and toughening enforcement and monitoring is essential for sustainable economic growth from tourism, but also ensuring that it contributes to ensuring the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.