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OAS and UNWTO Launch Report "Tourism and the Sustainable Development Goals: Good Practices in the Americas"

  March 23, 2018

The first joint publication between the Organization of American States (OAS) and the World Tourism Organization (WTO), titled "Tourism and the Sustainable Development Goals: Good Practices in the Americas", highlights tourism as a key element for achieving the sustainable development agenda in the hemisphere, encourages strengthening public-private partnerships at the local, national and international levels to face the challenges of sustainable tourism and presents recommendations focused on paying attention to tourism management.

The publication, launched within the framework of the XXIV Inter-American Congress of Ministers and High Level Authorities of Tourism, held in Georgetown, Guyana, on March 21 and 22, under the theme "Connecting the Americas through Sustainable Tourism," calls for more responsible management of the sector on which 8.5% of GDP and 10% of employment in the Americas depends. Some of the report's conclusions include:

  • It is crucial to precisely define the role tourism should play in the sustainable development agenda of the region up to and beyond 2030.
  • Attention must be paid to the way in which tourism is managed, taking into account the mitigation of potential risks such as the overcrowding of tourist destinations and the consequences of climate change.
  • The emergence of a more responsible traveller means that destinations in the region should integrate resource efficiency and multi-stakeholder involvement in adopting policies, actions and initiatives.
  • It is necessary to better understand how the sector can overcome current challenges and capitalize on opportunities, and how to measure the role of tourism in sustainable development, including its economic, environmental and social dimensions.

Through the study of 14 cases in Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis and the United States, the authors present a vision that integrates a multi-stakeholder approach to development of tourism, where governments, private sector, civil organizations, and other stakeholders work in coalition to turn tourism into a catalyst for inclusive and sustainable growth, protecting the environment and cultural heritage.

Ranging from tourism projects to strengthen the peace process in Colombia to initiatives in the heart of the Peruvian Amazon, through the participatory method adopted by local communities in Panama to promote green tourism, the 14 case studies describe how tourism can become a central element to advance the Sustainable Development Goals in the Americas.

According to the OAS Executive Secretary for Integral Development, Kim Osborne, this joint effort “provides greater awareness on how tourism can help address poverty alleviation, protect biodiversity and cultural heritage, and support community development in the Americas.” The OAS is committed to supporting its member countries in achieving the SDGs and as the technical secretariat of the ministerial process of tourism of the Americas, it seeks to provide useful tools and resources so that countries can achieve these goals with growth, equity and access to rights. in the area of tourism.

With more than 200 million international tourists who traveled to the Americas in 2017, tourism can and must play a significant role in delivering solutions for sustainable development in the region”, said UNWTO Secretary General, Zurab Pololikashvili. “I am grateful for the partnership with the Organization of American States and am confident that together we will support tourism's role in the sustainable development agenda of the region up to and beyond 2030,” he added.

Across the Americas and particularly in the Caribbean, tourism is one of the main sources of employment, foreign direct investment and source of GDP. The sector also improves livelihoods, promotes poverty reduction, enhances the protection of biodiversity and cultural heritage development, and helps build peace.

Reference: E-018/18