The Global Travel Association Coalition (GTAC), which brings together the major global travel associations and organisations, on Wednesday welcomed the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017.
According to GTAC, the initiative is as an opportunity to underline the immense socio-economic opportunities brought by the tourism sector to all societies, as well as its power to advocate for mutual understanding, peace and sustainable development worldwide.
GTAC consists of the major associations in the global Travel & Tourism sector — ACI, CLIA, IATA, ICAO, PATA, UNWTO, WEF, and WTTC — and aims to promote a better understanding of Travel & Tourism’s role as a driver of economic growth and employment, and to ensure governments develop policies which contribute to the profitable, sustainable and long-term growth of the industry.
Speaking on behalf of GTAC, Taleb Rifai, Secretary General, UNWTO, said: “Every year, 1.2 billion people travel abroad. These, and the billions more who travel domestically, create a sector which contributes 10% of global GDP to the world’s economies and 1 in 11 jobs. Tourism has become a passport to prosperity, a driver of peace, and a transformative force for improving millions of lives.”
12 months of global actions
According to United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, the world “can and must” harness the power of tourism as the UN 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”, Guterres said, adding that 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.
“Through 12 months of global actions, it will provide the opportunity for us all to promote our role as an engine of economic development, as a vehicle for sharing cultures, building mutual understanding and driving a more peaceful world.”