The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) are to work together in order to promote sustainable tourism and protect heritage sites.
Under a memorandum of understanding (MoU), the two agencies will consolidate efforts on national, regional and global initiatives in the area of sustainable tourism. The MoU will also address the safeguarding of natural and cultural heritage.
UNWTO secretary-general Taleb Rifai said, “UNWTO has already been working closely with UNESCO for many years to ensure a sustainable approach to heritage management and tourism.
“Tourism can play a significant role in the preservation, conservation and promotion of cultural and natural assets and this agreement further strengthens our capacity to integrate sustainable tourism principles with the protection of the world’s heritage.”
UNWTO previously spoke to Blue & Green Tomorrow about the organisation’s work in sustainable tourism, its wider impact and the role investors can play in encouraging more responsible travel.
The aims of the MoU between the two will be achieved through the implementation of the UNESCO World Heritage and Sustainable Tourism Programme and promoting sustainable tourism through UN partnerships and initiatives.
At the beginning of this year, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution that recognised sustainable tourism as hugely influential in addressing poverty and environmental issues. The organisation said that responsible tourism could have a positive impact on income generation, job creation and education.
Meanwhile, speaking on World Tourism day in 2012, Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, said that tourism was well placed to promote “environmental sustainability, green growth and our struggle against climate change”.
A report from the UN Economic Commission for Africa described sustainable tourism as an essential link in the world’s “value chain”, while sustainable tourism was also labelled as a “key trend” by luxury travel networks during Travel Week last year, indicating that the market is becoming more popular with travellers.