BERLIN, 8 March 2018: The tourism industry’s responsibility to contribute to sustainable development on a global scale was the core message from UNWTO secretary at the opening of ITB Berlin.
Global tourism expanded in 2017 by 7% reaching 1.3 billion tourist arrivals, but it was also a year when the term “overtourism” began to command attention in tourism circles for the first time.
The World Tourism Organization secretary-general, Zurab Pololikashvili, speaking at the opening session of the world’s largest trade show stressed how tourism, not only needs to consolidate current growth rates, but also “ grow better”.
“Leaving no one behind” is the benchmark for true sustainability, which must also decouple growth from resource use and place climate change response at the heart of the tourism sector’s agenda.
“Tourism’s sustained growth brings immense opportunities for economic welfare and development”, UNWTO Secretary-General noted, while warning at the same time that it also brings in many challenges.
“Adapting to the challenges of safety and security, constant market changes, digitalization and the limits of our natural resources should be priorities in our common action”, he added.
Also, speaking at the opening, Germany’s Federal Chancellor, Angela Merkel, said “tourism is an example of the opportunities of globalisation. Tourism brings people closer together and creates the foundation for growth.”
We are committed to the Agenda 2030. We are committed to sustainable tourism,” she added stressing the role of tourism in the sustainability agenda.
The UNWTO Secretary-General stressed education and job creation, innovation and technology, safety and security; and sustainability and climate change as the priorities to achieve the goals of sustainable development identified in the 2030 Agenda.