Every year the United Nations (UN) chooses a theme of general interest to be the focal point of the year. For 2017, the UN has decided it will be the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development (# IY2017 on social media). This is in response to the need for companies and citizens to be aware of their influence on the environment whenever they travel. As UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on World Tourism Day in 2015:
“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 focus is not only on individual people and their impact on the immediate environment, but also on the whole community, because if only one person throws garbage in the sea it causes some minor damage, but if instead of one it is a billion tourists doing the same, the damage they can make can have terrible consequences. So, this year the efforts will be raising awareness about the damage that can be done, and also to make tourism a catalyst for positive change. In the same statement, Ban Ki-moon said that:
“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.”
The #IY2017 will promote tourism’s role in the following five key areas:
- Inclusive and sustainable economic growth
- Social inclusiveness, employment and poverty reduction
- Resource efficiency, environmental protection and climate change
- Cultural values, diversity and heritage
- Mutual understanding, peace and security.
At MedPlaya we are aware of the great potential for change the tourism industry it has, so we are glad that the UN has chosen this issue for 2017.
Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on December 22, 2015