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“With more than one billion international tourists now traveling the world each year, tourism has become a powerful and transformative force that is making a genuine difference in the lives of millions of people. The potential of tourism for sustainable development is considerable.  As one of the world’s leading employment sectors, tourism provides important livelihood opportunities, helping to alleviate poverty and drive inclusive development.”
 United Nations Secretary-General, Banki-moon
  World Tourism Day Message, 2015

The United Nations has designated 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, with the aim of encouraging changes “in policies, business practices and consumer behavior towards a more sustainable tourism sector than can contribute to the SDGs”. This includes the following 5 areas:

(1)        Inclusive and sustainable economic growth

(2)        Social inclusiveness, employment and poverty reduction

(3)        Resource efficiency, environmental protection and climate change

(4)        Cultural values, diversity and heritage

(5)        Mutual understanding, peace and security.

This is an exciting step in the direction towards global sustainability, as tourism dollars account for so much of global spending. By supporting local artisans and considering the impact our consumer behaviours have on the areas we visit, we can have a dramatic impact on the world around us.

Do a quick google search on sustainable tourism and you will find tons of good material to help you plan your next trip. As you travel, be sure to take in the local artisanal work and appreciate all that the unique cultures around the world have to offer!

Cheers to 2017 and to the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development!

To learn more, go to: http://www2.unwto.org/tourism4development2017