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Tourism can and should lead sustainable development-UNWTO Secretary-General


Zurab Pololikashvili, UNWTO<br />Secretary General<br />

The role of the tourism sector and its responsibility in contributing to sustainable development on a global scale cannot under emphasized, hence, it was the central message delivered by both the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, the Mayor of Berlin, Michael Müller; Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), and President of the Federal Association of the German Tourism Industry (BTW), Dr. Michael Frenzel among others at the opening of the 2018 edition of the ITB Berlin travel trade show.

Stressing the role of tourism in the sustainability agenda, German Chancellor, Angela Merkel said, “Tourism is an example of the opportunities of globalisation. Tourism brings people closer together and creates the foundation for growth. We are committed to the Agenda 2030. We are committed to sustainable tourism.”

The UNWTO Secretary-General, Pololikashvili, in his speech noted that tourism not only needs to consolidate current growth rates but to grow better. He noted that in 2017, international tourist numbers grew a record seven percent to reach 1.3 billion.

According to him, the UNWTO’s message underlines the need to turn these figures into benefits for all people and all communities.

“Leaving no one behind is the benchmark for true sustainability, which must also decouple growth from resource use and place climate change response at the heart of the tourism sector’s agenda,” he said.

“Tourism’s sustained growth brings immense opportunities for economic welfare and development. However, at the same time that it also brings in many challenges.

Adapting to the challenges of safety and security, constant market changes, digitalization and the limits of our natural resources should be priorities in our common action,” he added

The UNWTO scribe stressed education and job creation, innovation and technology, safety and security as well as sustainability and climate change as the priorities for the sector to consolidate its contribution to sustainable development and the 2030 Agenda, against the backdrop of its expansion in all world regions and the socio-economic impact this entails.

To address these issues, Pololikashvili said, “Public/private cooperation as well as public/public coordination must be strengthened, in order to translate tourism growth into more investment, more jobs and better livelihoods.”

Other dignitaries at the event were the Minister-President of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Manuela Schwesig, and Dr. Christian Goke, CEO of Messe Berlin.

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