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Tourism and Water: Greater Efforts On Water Preservation Needed

swimming-pool_1Tourism stakeholders called for greater global efforts in water preservation on World Tourism Day 2013 (27 September), which was dedicated to “Tourism and Water – Protecting Our Common Future” in line with the International Year of Water Cooperation.

The official celebrations of this year’s World Tourism Day were hosted this year by the Maldives.

The call by the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon on the responsibility of the tourism sector to safeguard and intelligently manage water was echoed by UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai: “As one of the world’s leading socio-economic activities, the tourism sector must take a leadership role and ensure companies and destinations invest in adequate water management throughout the value chain.”

Tourism to lead in water preservation

water-bottle2As the highlight of WTD 2013, a high-level Think Tank on Tourism and Water gathered leading experts on water preservation, public and private sector tourism stakeholders and media experts to discuss key issues contributing to a more sustainable water future.

The following are the key insights of the Think Tank conclusions:

  • The Maldives is a paradigm of well-managed and sustainable water use in developing island States, where the availability of fresh water and the level of water consumption for tourism have become a particular concern.
  • With over one billion people traveling the world every year, the tourism sector can play an educational role as a water-conscious sector.
  • Though tourism only uses 1 percent of global water consumption, challenges remain for water use at destinations, since the sector often competes with other sectors for water.
  • There is significant room for increasing efficiency and reducing cost of water consumption in hotels (water accounts for 10 percent of utility bills in many hotels, most of which pay for the water they consume twice, first in buying fresh water and by disposing of it as wastewater).
  • Investing in green technology is economically beneficial, with profits from water sanitation and wastewater treatment having a return on investment (ROI) of one to three years.
  • Given tourism’s size and reach, the sector is well-positioned to make areal contribution to preserving the world´s precious water resources.

 

World Tourism Day 2014, 2015

Mexico was selected to be the official host country for World Tourism Day (WTD) 2014 and Burkina Faso for WTD 2015. The respective themes will be “Tourism and Community Development” for 2014, and “One billion tourists, one billion opportunities” for 2015.

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