The leaders of the major global travel and tourism associations on Monday welcomed the adoption of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The SDGs are a universal 17-goal plan of action for people, the planet and prosperity for all countries and require all stakeholders to act in collaborative partnerships. The SDGs were approved by the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Friday, September 25.
The SDGs cover a broad range of environmental, social and economic issues and are expected to shape and focus the global agenda for the next 15 years.
Tourism, in particular, has been included as a specific target in Goals #8, #12 and #14 on inclusive and sustainable economic growth, sustainable consumption and production and the sustainable use of oceans and marine resources.
In an announcement, the Global Travel Association Coalition (GTAC), which represents the leading public and private bodies in the Travel and Tourism sector, confirmed the global importance of the SDGs and the role of the travel and tourism sectors in their realisation.
“Travel & Tourism is a sector which collectively contributes nearly 10% of the world’s GDP and one in eleven of all jobs on the planet. Over one billion people cross international borders each year, a number expected to reach 1.8 billion by 2030, while at the same time, billions more travel domestically”, said David Scowsill, president of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), speaking on behalf of GTAC.
“This is a sector which will play a very significant role in making progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.”
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) welcomed the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and underlined its commitment to work towards the implementation of the Goals.
“Tourism is one of the most dynamic economic sectors, with significant global reach, and can make an important contribution to the achievement of the SDGs, particularly in the areas of job creation, sustainable consumption and production and the preservation of natural resources”, a UNWTO announcement said.
In the announcement, UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai said that issues such as climate change, effective resource management, poverty reduction and inclusive growth need to be at the center of tourism development.
“Now that the Goals have been approved, it is time to step up our action, time to advance policies and business strategies that monitor and minimize the negative effects of tourism development and maximize its positive impacts, namely through the distribution of its benefits among host communities”, he said.
Members of the Global Travel Association Coalition (GTAC) include: the Airports Council International (ACI), Cruise Lines Association International (CLIA), International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), International Air Transport Association (IATA), Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), World Economic Forum (WEF), UNWTO and WTTC.