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Advancing Sustainable Tourism in Africa

As an international influence for travel in the content of Africa, TourismTattler.com has joined global media in promoting the aims and aspirations of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017.

Through a series of editorial features published throughout this year, Tourism Tattler is profiling African destinations and Africa based tourism products and services who meet and in many cases exceed, sustainable tourism practices in their business operations.

Officially launched at the FITUR International Tourism Fair in Madrid, Spain, on 18 January 2017, the UNWTO International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017 aims to establish twelve months of global action aimed at advancing sustainable tourism contribution towards the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Speaking at the launch, United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, said: “The world can and must harness the power of tourism as we strive to carry out the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Three of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) include targets that relate to tourism: Goal 8 on promoting growth and decent work, Goal 12 on ensuring sustainable consumption and production, and Goal 14 on conserving marine resources. But tourism also cuts across so many different areas of life and involves so many different economic sectors and socio-cultural currents, that it is connected to the entire Agenda. Beyond the measurable advances that tourism can make possible, it is also a bridge to better mutual understanding among people from all walks of life.”

Sustainable Tourism Consumption

The UNWTO has been appointed to lead the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns (10YFP) Sustainable Tourism Programme (STP) – a collaborative platform to bring together existing initiatives and partnerships and facilitate new projects and activities to accelerate the shift to sustainable consumption and production (SCP) in tourism.

As an implementation mechanism, the vision of the 10YFP STP is for a tourism sector that has globally adopted SCP resulting in enhanced environmental and social outcomes and improved economic performance. Read more at www.sdt.unwto.org.

Sustainable Tourism and Climate Change

According to Wikipedia, sustainable tourism is the concept of visiting a place as a tourist and trying to make only a positive impact on the environment, society and economy. Given that without travel there is no tourism, the article cites aviation as being the greatest contributor to tourism’s effect on climate change, claiming that 72% of tourism’s CO2 emissions come from transportation, 24% from accommodations, and 4% from local activities.

Sustainable Tourism Guidelines

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council has developed criteria and suggested indicators for Hotels, which aim to provide a common understanding of sustainable tourism and provide a benchmark for the minimum standards that a hotel should aspire to reach. Download the GSTC Hotel Criteria at www.gstcouncil.org.

Some of the uses of the criteria include:

  • A basis for sustainability certification.
  • Guidelines for businesses to become more sustainable, and for businesses to choose sustainable tourism programmes that fulfil these global criteria.
  • Provide market access.
  • For consumers to identify sound sustainable tourism businesses.
  • For media to recognise sustainable tourism providers.
  • Help certification bodies to ensure that their standards meet a broadly-accepted baseline.
  • Offer governmental, non-governmental, and private sector programmes a starting point for developing sustainable tourism requirements.
  • Provide guidelines to education and training bodies.
  • Demonstrate leadership that inspires others to act.

The Criteria indicate what should be done, not how to do it or whether the goal has been achieved. This role is fulfilled by performance indicators, associated educational materials, and access to tools for implementation, all of which are an indispensable complement to the GSTC Criteria.

Read more about Sustainable Tourism in Africa.