Since the designation in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly of 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development (IYSTD), a lot has happened. Governments have supported measures to advance sustainability policies, the private sector has progressively engaged in the cause, and travelers have been called upon to be more aware of their contribution to sustainability through the UNWTO ‘Travel.Enjoy.Respect’ Campaign.
More than 1000 participants attended the launch of the IYSTD early in 2017. FITUR, the International Tourism Fair held annually in Madrid, Spain, hosted the presentation of this major celebration. Months later, more than 650 initiatives celebrating the IYSTD have been shared in the online tourism4development.org platform alongside solutions for sustainable tourism. In the last months, UNWTO has designed 10 Special Ambassadors for the IYSTD who have joined the celebrations promoting the Year around the world, scheduled 14 global events and gathered the support of 61 partners.
“We have come upon a unique opportunity to advance sustainable tourism worldwide; the commitment of all parties – governments, civil society and private sector – is essential to capitalizing on this historic moment and building a more responsible sector in the years to come. The International Year will not end in December 2017,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai.
One of the points addressed in the event held at the UNWTO General Assembly has been the legacy of the International Year. The awareness reached, the commitment achieved and the engagement attained in the last months were underlined as key assets to capitalize on the IYSTD in future years.