2017 has been declared as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for development by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), reflecting the strong commitment of the tourism sector to achieving the 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s), adopted by governments in 2015.

In the region, The South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) is working hard to ensure that tourism partners understand this commitment to sustainable tourism and are able to articulate what it means for them as partners in tourism development.

In an effort to bring about a clearer understanding of the SDGs and what it means for the region, SPTO will start a series of blogs this week to discuss the relevance of each goal to Pacific tourism.

According to UNWTO, Tourism has the potential to contribute directly or indirectly to all the SDG’s and is included as targets in Goals 8, 12 and 14 on inclusive and sustainable economic growth, sustainable consumption and production and the sustainable use of ocean and marine resources, respectively.

In the Pacific we can continue to work together to ensure that our tourism businesses are thriving; our land and ocean resources are managed well; our people benefit and our cultural values and traditions remain intact.

This week we will look at Goal 7 of the SDGs which aims to ENSURE ACCESS TO AFFORDABLE, RELIABLE, SUSTAINABLE AND MODERN ENERGY FOR ALL.

As a sector that requires substantial energy input, tourism can accelerate the shift toward renewable energy and increase its share in the global energy mix.  Consequently, by promoting sound and long-term investments in sustainable energy sources, tourism can help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, mitigate climate change and contribute to innovative and new energy solutions in urban, regional and remote areas. (UNWTO)

The remoteness of Pacific island destinations from the rest of the world and its geographic spread across the vast Pacific Ocean means the sector will continue to depend on air and sea transportation services.  Stronger and concerted efforts in minimising the sector’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions by the accommodation and other sub-sectors is therefore critical.

Transitioning to solar energy is an opportunity that needs to be vigorously harnessed in the Pacific tourism sector through transformative public-private partnerships.  Hence, investment opportunities need to be incentivised and development programmes and support for the sector need to prioritise access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and clean energy.  The availability of and access to energy efficient technology coupled with supporting policy frameworks, training and monitoring tools need to be equally supported for the Pacific tourism sector to make a difference and contribute to global efforts.

sdg7

As a sector that requires substantial energy input, tourism can accelerate the shift toward renewable energy and increase its share in the global energy mix.  Consequently, by promoting sound and long-term investments in sustainable energy sources, tourism can help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, mitigate climate change and contribute to innovative and new energy solutions in urban, regional and remote areas. (UNWTO)

The remoteness of Pacific island destinations from the rest of the world and its geographic spread across the vast Pacific Ocean means the sector will continue to depend on air and sea transportation services.  Stronger and concerted efforts in minimising the sector’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions by the accommodation and other sub-sectors is therefore critical.

Transitioning to solar energy is an opportunity that needs to be vigorously harnessed in the Pacific tourism sector through transformative public-private partnerships.  Hence, investment opportunities need to be incentivised and development programmes and support for the sector need to prioritise access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and clean energy.  The availability of and access to energy efficient technology coupled with supporting policy frameworks, training and monitoring tools need to be equally supported for the Pacific tourism sector to make a difference and contribute to global efforts.

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