Tourism: Responding to the Challenge of Climate Change

Saturday, 27 September 2008 23:44

By
Francesco Frangialli
UNWTO Secretary-General

Climate change is one of the greatest global challenges in general, and to sustainable development and the UN Millennium Development Goals in particular.

Catalyzing grassroots action by the tourism sector to face this challenge is at the centre of this year’s World Tourism Day Theme, Tourism: Responding to the Challenge of Climate Change.
Tourism is one of the few sectors that cuts across a whole range of economic and social activities. It is furthermore a key economic and job driver in the developing world. We therefore can and must play an active role to tackle the double challenge of climate response and poverty alleviation.

As the leading UN agency for tourism, UNWTO’s input from Davos to Bali 2007 has shown our determination to carry out rigorous action to implement a carbon-neutral roadmap in tourism. We encourage urgent adaptation of a range of policies which promote sustainable tourism that reflects environmental, socio-economic and climate responsiveness.

Our call to action is hence to change habits and position renewable energy at the forefront of international response by promoting the action oriented Davos Declaration Process, encouraging tourism stakeholders to adapt, to mitigate and use new technology and secure financing for the poorest countries to face the challenge of climate change.

Our call to respond to the challenge of climate change consists of a year long campaign during 2008, with World Tourism Day on 27 September in Peru as one of its highlights. A global high-level meeting around this subject will gather public and private stakeholders and contribute to the evolving planning and action towards overall sustainability.

I am certain that we all share these worries, but also the belief that now is the time to effectively act to respond to the challenges.
I look forward to celebrating World Tourism Day with you!

Francesco Frangialli
UNWTO Secretary-General

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