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2017: the year of sustainable tourism

17 April 2017

Travelling for a sustainable development

Sustainable tourism is a very topical issue and represents a sector booming which will guide the future of the younger generation. So it has been the main discussion topic during the last Green Week, a forum that takes place from six years and dedicates an entire week to the issues of sustainable development and green economy.

People have talked about tourism as strategy for the economic development and the promotion of the territory, but also about tourism for the wellness of people and the planet. Moreover since 2015 the general Assembly of United Nations had already declared 2017 as the international year of sustainable tourism for the development to help the environment and struggling economies.

The concept of sustainable tourism was introduced in 1988 by the World Tourism Organization (Unwto), about a year after the definition of sustainable development. It indicates a respectful way to travel the world, that does not shatter the natural, social and artistic environment and that does not hinder the development of other social and economic activities: a low environmental impact tourism.

This definition is against that one of mass tourism that does not consider the features of the territories and certainly it does not help the economic, social and environmental development of poorer countries. Eea, the European Agency for the Environment has confirmed that the impact of tourists is often very high. European tourists, for example, drink water every day from 3 to 4 times more than their daily normal consumption.

The declaration of United Nations of 2017 as international year of sustainable tourism for the development represents a unique opportunity to promote the contribution of the tourism sector to the three pillars of eco-sustainability: economic, social and environmental. Furthermore a well-designed and managed tourism can enhance the job opportunities and help the market.