With unsustainable consumption and climate change threatening global water resources, this year’s World Tourism Day highlights the responsibility of the tourism industry to safeguard and intelligently manage water. In this International Year of Water Cooperation, I urge tourism establishments to cut consumption and improve waste management and I call on individuals to play their part by making environmentally conscious choices when they travel. By making water saving a priority we can all help to build the future we want.
Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General, United Nations
Tourism and Water: Protecting our Common Future
Tourism today is a trillion dollar sector involving the movement of over one billion tourists a year around the world.
In line with the 2013 United Nations International Year of Water Cooperation, the 2013 theme for World Tourism Day is Tourism and Water: Protecting our Common Future. As the most widely celebrated global day for tourism, it represents a unique opportunity to raise awareness of tourism’s role in water access and shine a spotlight on the sector’s contribution to a more sustainable water future.
Tourism has proven to provide environmentally sound solutions, as well as political and financial support, for the conservation and sustainable use of water sources. But more must be done. With a record one billion international tourists travelling in a single year in 2012, now is the time to commit to a more sustainable tourism sector in order to protect our common future.
“Water is one of tourism’s main assets. Each year, millions of people travel around the world to enjoy water destinations both inland and in coastal areas. Water is also one of tourism’s most precious resources. Water powers all tourism industries, from hotels to restaurants, leisure activities and transport. As one of the largest economic sectors in the world, it is the responsibility of the tourism sector to take a leadership role and ensure companies and destinations invest in adequate water management throughout the value chain. If managed sustainably, tourism can bring benefits to the national and local communities and support water preservation.”
Taleb Rifai, Secretary-Genereal, World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO
To keep up-to-date with this year’s WTD activities, and to learn more about the theme Tourism & Water, bookmark the WTD website and follow UNWTO on Facebook and Twitter (hashtag #WTD2013).