The United Nations (UN) General Assembly has approved the adoption of 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. The resolution, adopted on 4 December, recognizes “the importance of international tourism, and particularly of the designation of an international year of sustainable tourism for development, in fostering better understanding among peoples everywhere, in leading to a greater awareness of the rich heritage of various civilizations and in bringing about a better appreciation of the inherent values of different cultures, thereby contributing to the strengthening of peace in the world”.
“The declaration by the UN of 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development is a unique opportunity to advance the contribution of the tourism sector to the three pillars of sustainability – economic, social and environmental, while raising awareness of the true dimensions of a sector which is often undervalued” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.
This declaration has put Tourism Development on the global map in regard to sustainability being an important Business Initiative. The ability to map tourism development against the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals is an important step for organisations to be able to illustrate that Development Projects are able to deliver against the global goals for sustainability as well as offering organisations the tools to identify that projects are able to support many more of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) than perhaps they had previous understood. Development Projects can be identified as important catalysts to deliver results against the SDG’s.