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.
Goal 1 of the SDG’s aims to END POVERTY AND ALL ITS FORMS EVERYWHERE
As one of the largest and fastest growing economic sectors in the world, tourism is well positioned to foster economic growth and development at all levels and provide income through job creation. Sustainable tourism development and its impact at community level can be linked with national poverty reduction goals, those related to promoting entrepreneurship and small businesses and empowering less favoured groups, particularly youth and women.
Regardless of scale, tourism in the Pacific contributes to Ending Poverty through the economic benefits it provides to support livelihoods at the grassroots level. Tourism in the Pacific is employing local people including youth and women, sourcing from local farmers, fishermen, crafters and promoting creative industries to name a few.
Tourism is also contributing to ending poverty through capacity development opportunities for employees in the sector through training and professional development on the job.
The challenge for the Pacific island, for all stakeholders in Government, the private sector, communities, development partners to continue to work together to achieve better outcomes by 2030 and beyond.