UNWTO is a key partner of the recently established Global Partnership for Sustainable Tourism, an initiative to connect all stakeholders working or interested in working to develop sustainable tourism (Costa Rica, 21 January 2011).
As the United Nations specialized agency for tourism, UNWTO works closely with public and private tourism stakeholders worldwide to firmly position tourism along a more sustainable path. The recently launched Global Partnership for Sustainable Tourism (GPST), made up of five UN organizations, governments, multilateral bodies, the private sector and non-governmental organizations, offers an important tool for enhancing sustainability within the tourism sector.
“The tourism sector has been increasingly recognized as a key engine for economic growth, especially in developing and least developed countries. It is not only responsible for a significant share of world GDP (5%) and employment (6-7%), but is also an important source of foreign investment reaching as much as 30% of the world service’s exports. The number of international tourist arrivals is expected to reach 1.6 billion by 2020,” said Luigi Cabrini, Director for Sustainable Development of Tourism at UNWTO.
The GPST aims to ‘transform tourism worldwide’, through uniting the existing sustainable tourism initiatives around the world so that they can transfer experience and best practices and put them into action. The Partnership will share knowledge, collect successful initiatives and replicate them to meet global needs.
The new Partnership was established at its first annual General Meeting in Costa Rica, hosted by the Costa Rican Ministry of Tourism and supported by the French and Norwegian Governments, together with UNWTO and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The French Government has been elected to chair the Steering Committee and Costa Rica has been elected as vice-chair. The Secretariat of the Global Partnership will be housed with UNEP’s Division of Technology, Industry and Economics (DTIE) in Paris, France and the emphasis will be to shift tourism onto a sustainable pathway worldwide.