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 15 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 2 of the SDGs which aims to END HUNGER, ACHIEVE FOOD SECURITY AND IMPROVED NUTRITION AND PROMOTE SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE
The promotion of sustainable agriculture in the Pacific is possible by promoting the production, use and sale of local produce in tourist destinations and its full integration into the tourism value chain. In addition, the growing tourism segment of in agro-tourism can complement traditional agricultural activities. The result of these activities is a rise of income in local communities which contributes to a more resilient agricultural sector while enhancing the value of the tourism experience.
In the Pacific economic benefits from tourism are able to reach the remotest communities through the tourism value chain. To strengthen this link there is a need to fully appreciate the demand and seasons of the tourism industry and find innovative ways to increase the demand for local produce by the hotel industry. There also is a need to ensure that the local produce supply meets food safety and quality standards and is consistent.
To enable better access to supply, there has been discussions about the role of technology. Many Pacific people have access to mobile phones making the possibility of an online market for hotels to source local agricultural produce at the press of a button.
Tourism can drive agricultural productivity by promoting the production, use and sale of local produce in tourist destinations and ensuring that this becomes a major feature of tourism in the region.