The 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda (SDGs) are universal, innovative, integrated and people-centered.
They set a global framework to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and fix climate change by 2030. A challenging agenda with ambitious goals where tourism, in general, has been included in Goals 8, 12, and 14 as targets on inclusive and sustainable economic growth, sustainable consumption and production and the sustainable use of oceans and marine resources, respectively.
However, the World tourism Organization (UNWTO) initiatives and Post Covid-19 studies, stress that tourism has the potential to contribute, directly or indirectly, to all of the 17 goals, if managed sustainably and responsibly.
ECOLUXURY, with the “Retreats of the World” Collection, wants to highlight the accommodation facilities that make great efforts in this direction through an innovative classification system (ECOLUXURY Rating) that rewards the Retreat Partners supporting projects in line with the 17 Sdgs.
Find out how sustainable tourism can help!
As one of the largest and fastest growing economic sectors in the world, tourism is well-positioned to foster economic growth and development at all levels and provide income through job creation. Sustainable tourism development, and its impact at community level, can be linked with national poverty reduction goals, those related to promoting entrepreneurship and small businesses, and empowering less favored groups, particularly youth and women.
Tourism can spur sustainable agriculture by promoting the production and supplies to hotels, and sales of local products to tourists. Agro-tourism can generate additional income while enhancing the value of the tourism experience.
Tourism’s contribution to economic growth and development can also have a knock-on effect on health and well-being. Tax income generated from tourism can be reinvested in health care and services, improving maternal health, reduce child mortality and preventing diseases. Visitors fees collected in protected areas can as well contribute to health services.
Tourism has the potential to promote inclusiveness. A skilful workforce is crucial for tourism to
prosper. The tourism sector provides opportunities for direct and indirect jobs for youth, women, and those with special needs, who should benefit through educational means.
Tourism can empower women, particularly through the provision of direct jobs and income-
generation from SMEs in tourism and hospitality related enterprises. Tourism can be a tool for
women to become fully engaged and lead in every aspect of society.
Tourism investment requirement for providing utilities can play a critical role in achieving water
access and security, as well as hygiene and sanitation for all. The efficient use of water in tourism, pollution control and technology efficiency can be key to safeguarding our most precious resource.
As a sector, which is energy intensive, tourism can accelerate the shift towards increased renewable energy shares in the global energy mix. By promoting investments in clean energy sources, tourism can help to reduce greenhouse gases, mitigate climate change and contribute to access of energy for all.
Tourism, as services trade, is one of the top four export earners globally, currently providing one in ten jobs worldwide. Decent work opportunities in tourism, particularly for youth and women,and policies that favour better diversification through tourism value chains can enhance tourism positive socio-economic impacts.
Tourism development relies on good public and private infrastructure. The sector can influence public policy for infrastructure upgrade and retrofit, making them more sustainable, innovative and resource-efficient and moving towards low carbon growth, thus attracting tourists and other sources of foreign investment.
Tourism can be a powerful tool for reducing inequalities if it engages local populations and all key stakeholders in its development. Tourism can contribute to urban renewal and rural development by giving people the opportunity to prosper in their place of origin. Tourism serves as an effective mean for economic integration and diversification.
Tourism can advance urban infrastructure and accessibility, promote regeneration and preserve cultural and natural heritage, assets on which tourism depends. Investment in green infrastructure (more efficient transport, reduced air pollution) should result in smarter and greener cities for, not only residents but also tourists.
The tourism sector needs to adopt sustainable consumption and production (SCP) modes, accelerating the shift towards sustainability. Tools to monitor sustainable development impacts for tourism including for energy, water, waste, biodiversity and job creation will result in enhanced economic, social and environmental outcomes.
Tourism contributes to and is affected by climate change. Tourism stakeholders should play a
leading role in the global response to climate change. By reducing its carbon footprint, in the
transport and accommodation sector, tourism can benefit from low carbon growth and help tackle one of the most pressing challenges of our time.
Coastal and maritime tourism rely on healthy marine ecosystems. Tourism development must be a part of Integrated Coastal Zone Management in order to help conserve and preserve fragile marine ecosystems and serve as a vehicle to promote a blue economy, contributing to the sustainable use of marine resources.
Rich biodiversity and natural heritage are often the main reasons why tourists visit a destination. Tourism can play a major role if sustainably managed in fragile zones, not only in conserving and preserving biodiversity, but also in generating revenue as an alternative livelihood to local communities.
As tourism revolves around billions of encounters between people of diverse cultural backgrounds, the sector can foster multicultural and inter-faith tolerance and understanding, laying the foundation for more peaceful societies. Tourism, which benefits and engages local communities, can also consolidate peace in post-conflict societies.
Due to its cross-sectoral nature, tourism has the ability to strengthen private/public partnerships and engage multiple stakeholders – international, national, regional and local – to work together to achieve the SDGs and other common goals. Public policy and innovative financing are at the core for achieving the 2030 Agenda.