New Year message from UNTWO: “Increase tourism to fight poverty”

According to UNTWO, 2007 should be a critical year to consolidate tourism as a key agent in the fight against poverty and a primary tool for sustainable development. Against a projection of continuing worldwide growth in international tourism of more than 4% for international arrivals and revenues, Secretary-General Francesco Frangialli called for renewed effort to include sustainable tourism in the international development agenda, as a key tool to advance the Millennium Development Goals.The Secretary-General said that the organization would intensify its actions to support the sector, advance the MDGs and promote the Global Code of Ethics in the years ahead. In this context and in order to help respond to the immediate challenges and opportunities he announced that in 2007, UNWTO as the UN Agency for Tourism would :Convene a World Summit on “Tourism and Religion”, hosted by the Government of Spain, which will explore ways to strengthen the interrelationship between tourism and the world’s great religions so as to further encourage peaceful development and intercultural dialogue.Organize a second Summit on “Tourism and Climate Change” hosted by the Government of the United Kingdom and in collaboration with World Travel Market. The Summit, which will consider new international developments like the UK Stern Report and President Chirac’s call for a post-2012 international climate change policy, would be preceded by a technical conference and would build on the foundation of the 2003 UNWTO Djerba Declaration.Hold a Global Conference for Parliamentarians and Local Authorities , hosted by the Government of Tunisia, to explore how tourism can more effectively encourage understanding between nations and how its benefits can be more readily spread to the community level. It will also explore how to enhance decision making between different levels of government.Celebrate the role of women in tourism , linking its UN World Tourism Day theme of “Tourism opening doors to Women” with MDG 3 promoting gender equality. Host of the 2007 World Tourism Day on September 27 th will be the Government of Sri Lanka.Strengthen its ST-EP Program (Sustainable Tourism – Eliminating Poverty) by consolidating funding partnerships with government / private sector sources, by boosting the activity of the Foundation established in Seoul, Korea and by launching new projects – particularly in Africa.Intensify its eTourism initiatives, together with Microsoft, to introduce an Emergency Response System; operationalize the Windows on Africa Portal for Distribution and Destination Management; explore ways and means to use technology to increase Security and simultaneously reduce hassle for travellers: coordinate action on tourism across the UN system.Launch its Centre of Excellence for Destinations in Montreal , supported by the Federal Government of Canada and the Provincial Government of Quebec to promote and support sustainable quality tourism at the community level.Consolidate its organization to respond to changing times, through its new management leadership: restructured secretariat and by more active private sector involvement, with a strengthened Affiliate program and expanded PPP network.Read the full message here.

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