UNWTO talks sustainable travel, Green Hotelier
In June Astana, Kazakhstan hosted the UNWTO’s World Conference on Tourism and Future Energy: Unlocking Low-Carbon Growth Opportunities. We sent Holly Tuppen from Bouteco to learn more.
As part of the UN’s International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, the Future Energy conference brought together 700 leaders in the tourism industry from 150 different countries - proving how important the green agenda now is.
The conference coincided with Astana’s EXPO-2017 exploring Future Energy; demonstrating Kazakhstan’s impressive commitment to green energy, despite having an abundance of their own fossil fuels. During the conference, Kazakhstan’s Minister of Culture and Sports pointed out that, “the future of tourism depends on its ability to integrate energy technologies and promote sustainable development”. Kazakhstan is keen to develop tourism and with a vast territory and four seasons to contend with, eco-tourism is a constructive way to attract visitors to rural areas.
At the opening ceremony, Dr Taleb Rifai, General Secretary of the UNWTO, stated that the positive impact of global tourism needs to be felt both economically and socially around the world and the sector needs to continue to act as a force for good. The tourism sector spends US$3.2 billion every day and by 2030, UNWTO forecasts that 1.8 billion tourists will travel the world. With this growth comes responsibility. Tourism accounts for 5% of global CO2 emissions, of which 20% comes from hotels and other types of accommodation.
During the conference, Rifai emphasised the need to embrace “opportunities for inclusive growth” and identified five important actions:
- Move towards a green economy
- Increase engagement with local communities
- Ensure economic prosperity for local people
- Promote travel and make travel available to everyone
- Acknowledge that there are challenges and work to overcome them
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