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UNWTO: Committed to Tourism, Travel and the Millennium Development Goals
Today’s world faces two great challenges:extreme poverty and climate change. Thesolution to these problems requires an ur-gent change of behaviour in the generalpopulation. Tourism can encourage such achange through the responsible use ofenergy and natural resources.The growth of tourism has increasedconsiderably. In the countries of thesouthern hemisphere, tourism hasproven to be a prominent element oftheir economies, as well as an activitythat uses a great deal of labour andopens up opportunities for small enter-prises that provide products and servicesto the sector:
In poor rural areas, it often constitutesthe only alternative to subsistencefarming.
In some regions of Peru, several com-munity-based tourism initiatives arebeginning to be developed with aview to incorporating them into moreconsolidated tourism circuits, thus be-coming an opportunity to improvethe quality of life and welfare ofPeru’s most excluded peoples.
In this way, tourism contributes topoverty reduction, an indispensablecondition for the conservation of theenvironment and sustainable devel-opment.Tourism flows travel from the developedcountries via long-haul flights that ac-count for 2.7% of total emissions--ex-tremely harmful--whose combustiontakes place at high altitude. In additionto this we must take into account thedomestic trips generated by tourism,which lead to increased emissions of pol-lutant gases, as well as excessive con-sumption of water and energy.Although tourism contributes to climatechange, restrictions on long-distancetourism would be counterproductive inthe fight against poverty, as it is the waythrough which expenditure by devel-oped countries is carried out in less-ad-vantaged countries:
Tourism in areas where communitiesexist ensures that such communitiesbecome guardians of their own habi-tat; in our case, the indigenous com-munities are the primary protectors ofthe Amazon rainforest, a tourism re-source par excellence.
Another factor to consider will be thechange in tourism destinations owingto the destruction of natural resourcesdue to climate change: the disappear-ance of glaciers, coastal alterations,prolonged periods of drought, andfloods, among others.The way to maintaining the benefits oftourism and moderating its contributionto climate change entails the responsibleuse of the natural resources and the en-ergy that is currently available, while atthe same time encouraging a shift to re-newable energy sources--and this with-out forgetting the necessary measures tomake tourism a factor for stimulating theeconomy at the local level.Therefore, it is necessary to draw up anEnvironmental Policy for Tourism; andsuch a policy, in its role as a promoter ofbest environmental practices, must pro-vide for handbooks and guides that canserve as tools to help tourism operatorsincorporate environmentally responsiblebusiness policies in their operations. InPeru we have initiated these actions be-cause we consider that the long-termgrowth of the economy and of tourismcan go hand-in-hand with proper envi-ronmental sustainability.
Message from Mercedes Araoz Fernández,Minister of Foreign Trade and Tourism of Peru
Tourism, ClimateChange and Sustainable Development
Mercedes Araoz Fernández
Minister of Foreign Trade andTourism of Peru