UNWTO News 66

Release Date: 
24 Aug 17

In the framework of the International Year on Sustainable Tourism for Development, 2017, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is launching a consumer-oriented campaign aimed at raising awareness of the value and contribution that sustainable tourism can make towards development. The ‘Travel.Enjoy.Respect’ campaign wants to engage tourists in making the sector a catalyst for positive change.

In recent months, reports from all around the world have spoken of ‘tourism-phobia’, showing us pictures of citizens protesting against the ‘invasion of tourists’ and the expulsion of locals by tourism businesses.

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Hilton and the WYSE Travel Confederation will join forces ahead of International Youth Day at the Youth General Assembly at the United Nations Headquarters to highlight tourism’s capacity to empower youth.

This year’s World Tourism Day, held on 27 September, will be focused on Sustainable Tourism – a Tool for Development. Celebrated in line with the 2017 International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, the Day will be dedicated to exploring the contribution of tourism to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC), representing thirty of the main donor countries, has included the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in the List of ODA- eligible International Organizations.

With the rapid growth of tourism in West and Central Africa, the sector has become an important pillar for local economies in many destinations in the region. Considering that wildlife is one of the key features of tourism in Africa, preserving the rich biodiversity of the region is fundamental. UNWTO, with the support of Chimelong, launched a capacity building programme in West and Central Africa involving five countries. The programme kick-off took placed Gabon, Benin and Niger. 

The training was supported by the Ministry of Private Investment Promotion, Trade, Tourism and Industry of Gabon, the Ministry of Tourism and Handicrafts of Niger and the Ministry of Tourism and Culture of Benin, highlighting the importance given to the contribution of tourism to socio economic development and biodiversity conservation in their countries.

The following training seminars will take place in the Republic of Guinea and in the Democratic Republic of Congo in October 2017.

UNWTO Tourism Highlights presents a concise overview of international tourism in the world based on the results for the year 2016. The booklet includes:

  • Key trends in international tourism in 2016
  • Results by (sub)region and country of destination
  • World’s top tourism destinations
  • Outbound tourism by region and top spenders
  • Long-term forecast: Tourism towards 2030

‘Enhancing the Understanding of European Tourism’ is a joint project by UNWTO and the Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs of the European Commission (DG GROW). The project aims to improve the socio-economic knowledge of the tourism sector, enhance the understanding of European tourism and contribute towards economic growth and job creation, thus improving tourism’s competiveness in Europe. As part of the project, UNWTO is currently implementing the UNWTO/EU Western Silk Road Tourism Development Initiative, an ambitious project aimed at revitalizing the Silk Road heritage within the European region.

With the support of UNWTO Member States, academic institutions and a group of private sector stakeholders, relevant progress has been made in placing the Silk Road on the European tourism map. The project has included the development of research on the tourism potential of the Western Silk Road (see Executive Summary), and two capacity building workshops - the first in Alexandroupoli, Greece (April 2017), and the second in Sofia, Bulgaria (June 2017). Further landmarks of the project included the creation of a Western Silk Road Working Group, a collaborative platform in charge of the project’s long-term viability, and the development of Western Silk Road promotional tools, including the interactive Western Silk Road Heritage Map, where Western Silk Road partners are able to upload information on events, sites and European heritage linked to the Silk Road. Moreover, during the second workshop, eight universities from seven countries (Greece, France, Iraq, Italy, Russia, Serbia and Spain) agreed to constitute a Western Silk Road Research Group. Under the coordination of the UNWTO Silk Road Programme, the Western Silk Road Academic Research Group will support the development of transnational tourism initiatives through joint research and the creation of tourism intelligence.

In parallel, in what also constitutes a further recognition of the value of the Western Silk Road Tourism Development Initiative, the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki has established the European Silk Road Interdisciplinary Tourism Centre. The centre, an initiative emerging from the Aristotle University has received strong support of the Ministry of Tourism of Greece and the UNWTO Silk Road Programme, and will support the work carried out by the Western Silk Road Research Group while  function as a hub for joint research projects focused on enhancing the Western Silk Road tourism potential.

Pictures of UNWTO Silk Road Programme