The UNWTO World Tourism Conference, held in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia called for a greener global tourism industry.
There was a major focus on ecotourism and environmental protection in all the opening speeches and throughout the course of the two-day event many of the tourism ministers present emphasized their country’s green credentials.
Said Malaysia’s deputy prime minister, Hon. Tan Sri Dato’ Haji Muhyiddin bin Mohd Yassin, in the conference opening speech– “While we want to put tourism at the forefront in terms of generating income for the country, we want to ensure, there is no harm to the environment. That’s why there is a need to establish specific guidelines on how green tourism is to be managed by the government and the various stakeholders,”
The event was attended by nearly 500 tourism ministers, and tourism officials and academics from over 30 countries, who deliberated about the best ways to manage their national tourism industries.
The tourism industry is again on a growth path after a bad 2009, due to the global economic crisis. However, attendees heard it is still too soon to count on a return to sustainable, regular increases in tourism arrivals. High unemployment continues to be a major cause of concern and the austerity measures and the rise in taxation implemented in several advanced economies to fight public deficits represent a clear challenge to many leading outbound tourism markets.
Asia tourism has, however, bucked the negative trend and has been seeing regular consistent growth. Asia, currently the second most visited region in the world, has181 million annual international tourist arrivals (21% of world total) and saw international tourism receipts of US$ 204 billion (24% of world total) in 2009.
Said Taleb Rifai, UNWTO Secretary General: “ We are gratified by the take up of sustainable tourism throughout our membership, it has been a major focus for the UNWTO for some years and holds significant benefits for tourism destinations and tourists alike.”
On the opportunities for renewed tourism growth, he commented: “It is extremely troubling that certain governments appear to be looking at taxing outbound tourism as a source of revenue. In particular the United Kingdom and the Federal Republic of Germany have instituted such taxes.”
“For tourism to deliver its enormous advantages – economic, social, cultural and environmental development – to the full, it needs to benefit from enabling environments. Both tourism facilitation policies and enabling legislative environments have been major factors in tourism’s success.”
The conference, the second World Tourism Conference, was held at the Magellan Sutera, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah Malaysia.
Further information and presentation download: www.worldtourismconference2010.com
Writer Valere Tjolle
This article is uploaded by Majbritt Thomsen, administrator on ‘Views On Tourism’