International Year of Sustainable Tourism kicks off

The UN has designated 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. It kicked off at the International Tourism Fair in Spain last week, which was opened by […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

The UN has designated 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.

It kicked off at the International Tourism Fair in Spain last week, which was opened by the nation’s King and Queen, Don Felipe VI and Doña Letizia.

The UN states this year is an opportunity to look at how tourism is affected by climate change and how emissions from the sector can be curbed, along with finding ways for the industry to better adapt to the impacts of rising global temperatures.

It adds tourism is already being impacted by increased incidents of storms and heat waves, desertification, fresh water loss, rising sea levels and diminished snowfall in alpine skiing areas.

The UN’s World Tourism Organisation estimates tourism is responsible for around 5% of global CO2 emissions.

Accommodation accounts for around 20% of emissions from tourism, including heating, air conditioning and the maintenance of bars, restaurants and swimming pools, it adds.

The transport sector, including air, car and rail, generates the largest proportion, with 75% of all emissions.

Antonio Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General said: “Every day, more than three million tourists cross international borders. Every year, almost 1.2 billion people travel abroad. Tourism has become a pillar of economies, a passport to prosperity and a transformative force for improving millions of lives.

“The world can and must harness the power of tourism as we strive to carry out the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”