Decisions by Topic: Sustainable tourism
The Future We Want - Rio+20
[Arabic] [Chinese] [English] [French] [Russian] [Spanish] United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20
A/RES/66/288 - Sustainable tourism

130. We emphasize that well-designed and managed tourism can make a significant contribution to the three dimensions of sustainable development, has close linkages to other sectors, and can create decent jobs and generate trade opportunities. We recognize the need to support sustainable tourism activities and relevant capacity-building that promote environmental awareness, conserve and protect the environment, respect wildlife, flora, biodiversity, ecosystems and cultural diversity, and improve the welfare and livelihoods of local communities by supporting their local economies and the human and natural environment as a whole. We call for enhanced support for sustainable tourism activities and relevant capacity-building in developing countries in order to contribute to the achievement of sustainable development.

131. We encourage the promotion of investment in sustainable tourism, including eco-tourism and cultural tourism, which may include creating small and medium-sized enterprises and facilitating access to finance, including through microcredit initiatives for the poor, indigenous peoples and local communities in areas with high eco-tourism potential. In this regard, we underline the importance of establishing, where necessary, appropriate guidelines and regulations in accordance with national priorities and legislation for promoting and supporting sustainable tourism.

Commission on Sustainable Development
[Arabic] [Chinese] [English] [French] [Russian] [Spanish] 7th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development
E/CN.17/1999/20 - Tourism

Decision 7/3. Tourism and sustainable development
1. The Commission on Sustainable Development:
(a) Recalls the outcome of the nineteenth special session of the General Assembly
for the overall review and appraisal of the implementation of Agenda 21,14 in particular
Assembly resolution S/19-2, annex, of 28 June 1997, in paragraph 69 of which the Assembly
requested the Commission on Sustainable Development to develop an action-oriented
international programme of work on sustainable tourism development, to be defined in
cooperation with theWorld Tourism Organization, the United Nations Conference on Trade
and Development, the United Nations Environment Programme, the Conference of the Parties
to the Convention on Biological Diversity15 and other relevant bodies, and stressed that policy
development and implementation should take place in cooperation with all interested parties,
especially the private sector and local and indigenous communities;
(b) Recalls also that the General Assembly, in its resolution 53/200 of 15 December
1998, proclaimed the year 2002 as the International Year of Ecotourism and in its resolution
53/24 of 10 November 1998 proclaimed 2002 also as the International Year ofMountains;
(c) Notes with appreciation the outcome of the multi-stakeholder dialogue at the
current session of the Commission and the progress made so far bymajor groups in promoting
sustainable tourism development.
2. The Commission decides to adopt an international work programme on sustainable
tourism development, containing the elements outlined below, and to begin its implementation
with appropriate means and resources, especially for developing countries, which will be
reviewed in 2002 when the 10-year review of progress achieved since the United Nations
Conference on Environment and Development will be carried out.
3. The Commission urges Governments:
(a) To advance sustainable tourism development, inter alia, through the development
and implementation of policies and national strategies or master plans for sustainable tourism
development based on Agenda 21, which will encourage their tourism industry, assist in
attracting foreign direct investment and appropriate environmentally sound technologies, and
also provide focus and direction for the active participation ofmajor groups, including national
tourism councils and, as appropriate, tourism agencies and organizations, and the private
sector as well as indigenous and local communities;
(b) To consult, as appropriate, with all major groups and local communities in the
tourism development process, including policy formulation, planning, management and
sharing of benefits, which could reflect the need to harmonize the relationship among the
people, the community and the environment;
(c) To work in partnership with major groups, especially at the local level, to ensure
active participation in tourism-related planning and development;
(d) To undertake capacity-building work with indigenous and local communities in
order to facilitate their active participation, at all levels of the tourism development process,
including transparent decision-making and sharing of benefits, and to create awareness of
the social, economic and environmental costs and benefits that they are bearing;
(e) To create the appropriate institutional, legal, economic, social and environmental
framework by developing and applying a mix of instruments, as appropriate, such as integrated
land-use planning and coastal zone management, economic instruments, social and
environmental impact assessment for tourist facilities, including gender aspects, and voluntary
initiatives and agreements;
(f) To maximize the potential of tourism for eradicating poverty by developing
appropriate strategies in cooperation with all major groups, and indigenous and local
(g) To welcome the major groups? agreement to promote sustainable tourism
development through music, art and drama and to participate in such educational activities;
(h) To facilitate destination-specific in-flight educational videos and other materials
on sustainable development in relation to tourism and to encourage airline carriers to routinely
screen such videos on all international and long-haul domestic routes;
(i) To promote a favourable framework for small and medium-sized enterprises, the
major engine for job creation in the tourism sector, by reducing administrative burdens,
facilitating access to capital and providing training in management and other skills, in
recognition of the employment potential of sustainable tourism development;
(j) To take strong and appropriate action, through the development and enforcement
of specific legislation/measures, against any kind of illegal, abusive or exploitative tourist
activity, including sexual exploitation/abuse, in recognition of the fact that such activities have
particularly adverse impacts and pose significant social, health and cultural threats, and that
all countries have a role to play in the efforts to stamp them out;
Report of the Global Conference on the Sustainable 16 Development of Small Island Developing
States, Bridgetown, Barbados, 25 April?6 May 1994 (United Nations publication, Sales No.
E.94.I.18 and corrigenda), chap I, resolution 1, annex II.
(k) To participate in international and regional processes that address issues relevant
to sustainable tourismdevelopment; to consider the ratification or adoption, and promote the
implementation and enforcement, as appropriate, of standards or guidelines relevant to the
travel and tourism industry, such as in the labour and health fields; and to support initiatives,
especially through organizations like the International Labour Organization and the World
Health Organization, that would make an early and positive contribution to sustainable tourism
(l) To support appropriate measures to better inform tourists about cultural,
ecological and other values and provide accurate information on the safety of tourist
destinations, so as to enable consumers to make informed choices.
4. The Commission calls upon the tourism industry:
(a) To develop environmentally, socially and culturally compatible forms of tourism
and to continue the development and implementation of voluntary initiatives in support of
sustainable tourismdevelopment, bearing in mind that such forms of tourism and initiatives
should meet, or preferably exceed, relevant local, national, regional or international standards;
(b) To further commit itself to the goal of sustainable tourism development by working
towards guiding principles and objectives for sustainable tourism development and
information for tourists on ecological and cultural values in destination regions;
(c) To further develop voluntary eco-efficiency and appropriate management systems
to save costs and to promote sustainable forms of tourism;
(d) To take effective steps to reduce the volume of waste associated with travel and
tourism activities;
(e) To ?design with nature? in collaboration with planning authorities, by using low
impact designs, materials and technologies, so as not to damage the environmental or cultural
assets that tourists seek to experience and that sustain the local community, and to undertake
measures to restore tourist destinations with degraded environments;
(f) To distance itself publicly from illegal, abusive or exploitive forms of tourism;
(g) To meet or preferably exceed relevant national or international labour standards.
5. The Commission invites, as appropriate, Governments and major groups, as well
as the United Nations system, in close collaboration with the World Tourism Organization,
while building on relevant work carried out by the United Nations Environment Programme,
the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the United Nations
Conference on Trade and Development, the International Labour Organization and the United
Nations Development Programme and under the Convention on Biological Diversity and other
relevant conventions and organizations, and taking note of the Programme of Action for the
Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States,16 adopted at Barbados in 1994,
to consider undertaking the following initiatives and to keep the Commission on Sustainable
Development informed on progress achieved:
(a) To promote sustainable tourism development in order to increase the benefits from
the tourism resources for the population in the host communities and maintain the cultural
and environmental integrity of the host community; to encourage cooperation of major groups
at all levels with a view to facilitating Local Agenda 21 initiatives and promoting linkages
within the local economy in order that benefits may be more widely shared; to this end, greater
efforts should be undertaken for the employment of the local workforce, and the use of local
products and skills;
(b) To support national efforts by countries, especially developing countries and
countries with economies in transition, and major groups towards sustainable tourism
development through relevant capacity-building activities and programmes as well as
multilateral and bilateral financial and technical assistance, and appropriate technologies in
all aspects of sustainable tourism development, including environmental impact assessment
and management and education in the field of tourism;
(c) To encouragemore responsible behaviour among tourists through ensuring respect
for national laws, cultural values, social norms and tradition as well as by increasing public
awareness, in addition to other measures;
(d) To promote the application of integrated planning approaches to tourism
development at the local level, including through encouraging the use of Local Agenda 21
as a process for planning, implementing and monitoring sustainable tourism development
and recognizing the potential for integration of Local Agenda 21 with Agenda 21 for the
Travel and Tourism Industry as well as other such initiatives;
(e) To provide relevant direction on research activities, and collect and disseminate
information on best practices and techniques, including an appropriate mix of instruments
to minimize negative and to promote positive environmental, social and cultural impacts from
tourism in developed and developing countries and in countries with economies in transition;
(f) To promote the exchange of information on transportation, accommodation and
other services, public awareness-raising programmes and education, and various voluntary
initiatives and ways to minimize the effects of natural disasters on tourism. Possible forms
of this information exchange should be explored in consultation with relevant partners,
utilizing, inter alia, such means as bilateral and multilateral arrangements;
(g) To undertake studies on appropriate measures for promoting sustainable tourism
development, such as community planning in fragile ecosystems, including in coastal areas,
and to develop tools to assist local authorities in determining appropriate management regimes
and their capacity for tourism development;
(h) To further develop or support integrated initiatives, preferably through pilot
projects, to enhance the diffusion of innovations and to avoid, wherever possible, duplication
and waste of resources;
(i) To undertake activities that would be supportive of the preparations for both the
International Year of Ecotourism and the International Year of Mountains, as well as activities
of the International Coral Reef Initiative;
(j) To clarify further the concepts of sustainable tourism and eco-tourism;
(k) To develop core indicators for sustainable tourism development, taking into
account the work of the World Tourism Organization and other relevant organizations, as
well as the ongoing testing phase of indicators for sustainable development;
(l) To undertake a comprehensive survey and assessment of the results of
implementing existing voluntary initiatives and guidelines relating to the economic,
sociocultural and environmental sustainability of tourism, to be reported to the Commission
on Sustainable Development in order to identify best practices with respect to raising
awareness of sustainable tourism development;
(m) To consider establishing a global network, taking into account the work of the
World TourismOrganization, regional mechanisms and all major groups, as appropriate, to
promote an exchange of information and views on sustainable tourism development, including
on ecotourism;
(n) To cooperate with the United Nations Environment Programme in further
developing guiding principles for sustainable tourism development;
(o) To encourage business and industry to take steps to implement eco-efficiency
approaches, in order to reduce environmental impacts associated with travel and tourism
activities, in particular the volume of packaging waste, especially in small island developing
6. The Commission invites the World Tourism Organization to consider informed
major groups? participation, as appropriate, in the development, implementation and
monitoring of its Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, including those provisions relating to
a code of conduct for tourists.
7. The Commission invites relevant agencies, particularly the International Maritime
Organization, to evaluate whether existing regulations on marine pollution and compliance
with them are sufficient to provide adequate protection to fragile coastal zones from adverse
impacts as a result of tourist vessel activities.
8. The Commission invites the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on
Biological Diversity to further consider, in the context of the process of the exchange of
experiences, existing knowledge and best practice on sustainable tourism development and
biological diversitywith a view to contributing to international guidelines for activities related
to sustainable tourismdevelopment in vulnerable terrestrial, marine and coastal ecosystems
and habitats ofmajor importance for biological diversity and protected areas, including fragile
mountain ecosystems.
9. The Commission welcomes the work of major groups, especially the business
community, trade and tourism industry associations, non-governmental organizations and
other groups involved in travel and tourism, to contribute to efforts to achieve sustainable
tourism development, including through educational initiatives and action plans based on
Agenda 21 and other related documents, and particularlywelcomes their commitment through
the continuation of their work with all major groups, to do more, and to report to the
Commission on Sustainable Development on their progress.
10. The Commission invites the United Nations Secretariat and the World Tourism
Organization, in consultation with major groups and other relevant international organizations,
to jointly facilitate the establishment of an ad hoc informal open-ended working group on
tourism to assess financial leakages and determine how to maximize benefits for indigenous
and local communities; and to prepare a joint initiative to improve information availability
and capacity-building for participation, and address other matters relevant to the
implementation of the international work programme on sustainable tourism development.

Co-Chairmen?s summary of the discussions on tourism held by the Inter-Sessional
Ad Hoc Working Group on Consumption and Production Patterns and on Tourism
at its meeting from 22 to 26 February 1999
1. As an outcome of the nineteenth special session of the General Assembly for the overall
review and appraisal of the implementation ofAgenda 21 in 1997, the Assembly, in paragraph
69 of the annex to its resolution S/19-2 of 28 June 1997 on the Programme for the Further
Implementation of Agenda 21, requested the Commission on Sustainable Development to
17 E/CN.17/1999/5 and Add.1?3.
develop an action-oriented international programme of work on sustainable tourism, to be
defined in cooperation with theWorld Tourism Organization, the United Nations Conference
on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the United Nations Environment Programme
(UNEP), the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity and other
relevant bodies.More recently, the Assembly, in its resolution 53/200 of 15 December 1998,
declared the year 2002 as the International Year of Ecotourism and, in its resolution 53/24
of 10 November 1998, declared 2002 as the International Year of Mountains. The Economic
and Social Council, in its resolution 1998/40 of 30 July 1998, requested the Commission,
in the framework of its discussion of tourism during its seventh session, to recommend to the
Assembly, through the Council, supportive measures and activities which would contribute
to a successful International Year of Ecotourism. Many delegations stressed that policy
development and implementation should take place in cooperation with all interested parties,
especially the private sector and local and indigenous communities, in the context of Agenda
2. The discussions on tourism and sustainable development were based on the
recommendations and proposals for action contained in the report of the Secretary-General
on tourism and sustainable development and its three addenda.17 In addition, many delegations
from developed and developing countries provided useful information on activities, policies
and strategies in their countries pertaining to sustainable tourism development.
General considerations
3. Many delegations noted that tourism is both currently and potentially a significant
contributor to sustained economic growth and sustainable development. In a number of
developing countries, tourism has emerged as a dominant economic contributor, providing
infrastructure development, jobs, foreign exchange earnings, government tax revenue and
other significant benefits to local communities. Developing countries experience trying times
with regard to not only environmental management, but also socio-economic welfare and
tourism market growth. Uplifting people is the biggest challenge facing the tourism sectors
of these countries, and the creation of sustainable job opportunities and the promotion of
emerging enterprises, as well as appropriate training, are of cardinal importance.
4. Many delegations also noted that the tourism industry is one of the fastest growing
economic sectors in the global economy and has important economic, social, cultural and
environmental impacts. Many delegations noted that the continued growth of the tourism
industry has important implications for the achievement of sustainable development,
particularly in small island developing States and tourist destinations with fragile ecological
5. Many countries emphasized that the tourism sector can be a major engine for economic
development in many developing countries because of its large potential contribution to
income- and employment-generation. Moreover, in some developing countries, particularly
those lacking adequate resource endowments such as the small island developing States,
tourism may be the only development alternative available in the short to medium term.
However, there was some concern that over-reliance on tourism, especially mass tourism,
carries significant risks to tourism-dependent economies since phenomena such as economic
recession and natural disasters can have devastating effects on the tourism sector.
6. Many delegations noted that international tourism can potentially introduce both positive
and negative social and cultural impacts in host destinations. Although tourism can create
positive impacts on social development through employment creation, income redistribution
and poverty alleviation, it also has the potential to introduce negative social and cultural
change such as through drug abuse, child labour, prostitution, overcrowding, pressure on
resources, and challenges to established culture.
7. Many delegations stated that an important consideration in sustainable tourism
development is the tourist carrying capacity of host destinations in both environmental and
social terms which should adequately reflect the ability of a local community to absorb tourists
without submerging or overwhelming the local culture and its natural resources.
8. Many countries also stated that the tourism industry can present serious challenges to
environmental management, particularly through its consumption of resources, the pollution
and waste generated by the development of tourism infrastructures and facilities,
transportation and tourist activities. In the absence of proper planning and management,
tourism development can encourage the intensive or inappropriate use of land which can lead
to deforestation, soil erosion and loss of biological diversity. Ironically, damage to the
environment threatens the very viability of the tourism industry because tourism depends
heavily on the natural environment.
9. Coastal area development for tourism was identified as an issue of particular concern
bymany countries. Improperly planned development of tourism can despoil the pristine beauty
of coastal areas, contribute to beach destruction and coastal degradation and negatively affect
the livelihood of peoples in coastal communities. The treatment and disposal of liquid and
solid wastes generated by the tourism industry were identified as a serious problem,
particularly for less developed economies that lack the appropriate physical infrastructure
or adequate waste treatment capacity. The disposal of untreated effluents into surrounding
areas of land and sea often leads to the pollution of scarce inland freshwater resources, loss
of valuable marine life, destruction of coral reefs and the silting and erosion of coastal
10. Some delegations, noting that the United Nations had declared 2002 as the International
Year of Mountains, pointed out that opportunities exist for obvious linkages with the
International Year of Ecotourism, also in 2002. Mountain regions represent a significant
portion of the tourism industry. These remote, fragile and highly biodiverse ecosystems are
homes to unique cultures and traditions which draw tourists from an increasingly urbanized
world. If it is not properlymanaged, and does not take into account local communities, local
control of resources, the integral role of women, equitable distribution of benefits and
appropriate infrastructure needs, tourism development in mountain regions threatens to
undermine ecosystems and cultures.
11. Many countries emphasized that fresh water remains a pressing concern. Since the
tourism industry is an extremely intensive user of fresh water, the problem of freshwater
supply could worsen as the industry expands globally unless steps are taken to minimize water
use in accommodation and other tourism activities. Some other delegations noted that,
although the tourism sector is only a minor contributor to global warming, air pollution could
worsen at the global level, for example, from increased carbon dioxide (CO ) emissions 2
related to energy use in tourism-related transportation, and air-conditioning and heating of
tourism facilities.
12. Many countries also emphasized that the tourism industry can help protect and
rehabilitate natural assets, such as parks, protected areas and cultural and natural sites, by
its financial contributions, provision of environmental infrastructure and improved
environmental management. It can also help to raise the awareness of the local population
regarding the financial and intrinsic value of natural and cultural sites, motivating communities
to reclaim their natural and cultural patrimony through environmental protection and
conservation. In general, the tourism industry has a vested interest in maintaining the
environmental, social and cultural resources of destination areas which represent their core
business assets.
13. There was an attempt bymany delegations to define sustainable tourism. One delegation
suggested that sustainable tourism is, inter alia, development which ?... meets the need of
present tourists and host regions while protecting and enhancing opportunity for the future?.
Other delegations suggested that ?sustainable tourism must seek a balance between (a)
economic benefit and investment; (b) social participation, including local communities, with
direct earnings, and seeking preservation and consolidation of its cultural values and
traditions; (c) conservation and protection of environment and biological diversity, taking
into account regulations that allow an appropriate management of habitats and the introduction
of education and dissemination of information to promote an environmental consciousness
among the local population and visitors?. One delegation noted that ecotourism is an economic
activity that minimizes environmental impacts, valuing and contributing to the conservation
of ecosystems, and at the same time generates incomes for local communities.
14. One delegation noted that ecotourism has potential to create new patterns of tourism
but, at the same time, there are impediments to promoting ecotourism which include local
communities? hesitation to replace conventional tourism, the reluctance to adopt codes of
conduct to ensure the quality of ecotourism and the difficulty of promoting ecotourism in areas
unlikely to attract visitors.
15. Delegations noted that there are a number of important challenges associated with
sustainable tourism development. These challenges include, inter alia, the following:
(a) A concentration of services and profits into very few big transnational
corporations, which often leads to the development of enclaves with no linkage to other socioeconomic
sectors of the local society;
(b) The lack of an adequate tourism infrastructure, which was seen as a serious
obstacle to tourism development in some countries, particularly developing countries;
(c) The need to improve the access of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
to government incentives and publicity;
(d) The need to involve local communities, at all levels, in all aspects of the tourism
development process, such as policy-making, planning, management, ownership and the
sharing of benefits;
(e) The need to ensure that tourism development planning preserves the natural and
cultural legacy, heritage and integrity of tourism destinations and respects the social and
cultural norms of society, particularly among the indigenous communities;
(f) The need to inform people of the benefits to be gained from sustainable tourism
development through community awareness campaigns;
(g) The need to raise public awareness about sustainable tourism and to encourage
more responsible behaviour among tourists;
(h) The need to enhance the linkages of the private tourism sector with the other
sectors of the economy, and to ensure that domestic entrepreneurs are not marginalized by
foreign investors in the tourism industry;
(i) To ensure sufficient coordination between the public and private sectors to achieve
sustainable tourism;
(j) To overcome the lack of regional cooperation for promoting the development of
sustainable tourism.
Action by Governments
16. Many delegations stressed that Governments should give appropriate attention and
priority to tourism in development planning so that it develops in harmony with overall
economic, social and environmental goals, within an integrated policy framework. In this
regard, Governments should develop national strategies or master plans for tourism, in the
context of Agenda 21, which will provide focus and direction to all stakeholders.
17. Some delegations stated that countries should consider the various options available
for financing tourism infrastructure projects, such as government outlays, financing by
multilateral and regional financial institutions, involvement of the private sector through buildoperate-
transfer schemes, and foreign direct investment (FDI). In addition, there are also
various options for private sector financing for, inter alia, training, education, management
and marketing.
18. Some countries noted that the use of economic instruments to promote sustainable
tourism, in particular the full-costing and pricing of energy and water, can promote ecoefficiency
in the tourism industry as well as provide additional revenue that can be used to
support improved management of these resources. In this regard, the polluter-pays principle
and user-pays systems are appropriate and should be more widely applied and supported.
19. Many delegations were of the view that government policies should be implemented
to encourage and support small and medium-sized enterprises in the tourism industry,
especially in developing countries and countries with economies in transition.
20. Many delegations stressed that Governments should promote partnerships between all
stakeholders and that they can play an important role by encouraging, supporting and
facilitating the involvement and commitment of all stakeholders, especially indigenous and
local communities, in the planning, development and management of tourism.
21. Many delegations emphasized that there needs to be an increase in the transfer of the
benefits from tourism to local communities through the creation of jobs, entrepreneurial
opportunities and social benefits if efforts to promote community participation are to be
22. Some countries emphasized that, in some cases, there is a need to control the rate of
growth of the tourism sector in order to preserve the natural and cultural legacy, heritage and
integrity of tourism destinations as well as the social and cultural norms of society, particularly
among the indigenous communities.
23. Many countries noted that it is necessary to promote capacity-building in sustainable
tourism, particularly among local governments. In many countries, local governments have
important responsibilities for tourism development and management, and capacity-building
programmes will enable them to better understand these responsibilities with respect to
sustainable tourism.
24. Some delegations pointed out that local and central governments should enhance their
capacity to monitor the performance of the tourism industry and to develop suitable indicators
of sustainable tourism that can be used in their decision-making.
25. Many delegations stressed that Governments should promote the role of the local
community in deciding what it is prepared to offer, how its cultural patrimony is to be
presented and which, if any, aspects of the culture are off-limits to visitors.
26. Some delegations suggested that tourism, in particular mass tourism, should be regulated
and, where necessary, prohibited in ecologically and culturally sensitive areas. In protected
areas and where nature is particularly diverse, vulnerable and attractive, tourism should be
permitted onlywhere it meets the requirements of nature protection and biological diversity
conservation. In coastal areas where tourism can impose serious environmental damage, the
principles of integrated coastal area management should be implemented. Environmental
impact studies are an important tool for sustainable development and should be undertaken.
27. Many delegations noted that sustainability issues should be fully integrated into courses
at all levels of education in order to develop environmental awareness and the skills required
to promote sustainable tourism. In this regard, it is also important to raise public awareness
about sustainable tourism and to encourage more responsible behaviour among tourists.
28. Many countries emphasized that there is a need for further efforts to prevent and control
tourism-related abuse and exploitation of people, particularly women and children and other
disadvantaged groups. Some delegations felt that both sending and receiving countries had
roles to play in combating this serious negative impact of international tourism.
Action by the private sector
29. Many delegations stated that the tourism industry should ensure that their investment,
employment, operational and other business decisions take full account of the wider
implications of such actions for the long-term development and economic sustainability of
the destinations in which they operate.
30. Some countries suggested that the tourism industry, by modifying the products it
develops and offers the public, can directly influence the nature of tourism itself, directing
it towards sustainable forms of tourism. Marketing can be used to enhance the industry?s
initiatives for promoting sustainable development by, inter alia, raising awareness among
their clients of the potential environmental and social impacts of their holidays, and of
responsible behaviour. In some countries, the tourism industry is also increasingly interested
in eco-labels as a means of promoting those countries? facilities and destinations. Some
delegations cautioned, however, that the concept of eco-labelling and related issues are still
under consideration by the Committee on Trade and Environment of the World Trade
31. Many delegations urged tourism enterprises to integrate environmental management
systems and procedures into all aspects of corporate activity. This would necessitate the
implementation of, inter alia, environmental and social audits, and training of staff in the
principles and practices of sustainable tourism management. Tourism enterprises were also
urged to take all appropriate measures to minimize all forms of waste, conserve energy and
freshwater resources, and control harmful emissions to all environmental media, as well as
minimize the potential environmental impacts from tourism development, for example, by
using local materials and technologies appropriate to local conditions. The tourism industry
was encouraged to promote wider implementation of environmental management, particularly
among small- and medium-sized enterprises.
32. Many delegations noted that the tourism industry had developed a number of
environmental codes of conduct and other voluntary initiatives in support of sustainable
tourism. It was suggested that an inventory and assessment should be made of such voluntary
initiatives on the part of industry, and improvements in the monitoring and reporting of
industry?s progress towards the objective of sustainable tourism. Some delegations requested
the preparation of an inventory of all existing codes of conduct, guidelines and voluntary
initiatives concerning sustainable tourism.
18 E/CN.17/1999/11.
Action by the international community
33. Many delegations stressed the need for the international community to promote the
recognition of the value of tourism as an economic tool for development, particularly for
developing countries, and the fragility of the resources on which it depends, as well as the
resulting need for international support to encourage its sustainable development.
34. Many delegations were of the view that international organizations and donor countries
should increase their efforts in training and capacity-building in the field of tourism in
developing countries, and that studies should be carried out on specific issues of interest to
developing countries. Technical and financial assistance to developing countries is critical
to enable them to develop competitive and sustainable tourism sectors.
35. Some delegations stated that the international, regional and multilateral agreements
and guidelines that address the issue of sustainable tourism need to be effectively translated
into practical programmes for implementation by the tourism industry, Governments and civil
society. There is also a need to consolidate as well as enhance the monitoring of these
36. Many delegations stressed that the international community has an important role to
assist developing countries, in particular the least developed countries, economies in transition
and small island developing States, through financial and technical assistance to Governments
at all levels.
37. Many delegations also stressed that the international community should strengthen
development cooperation to make tourism development more environmentally sustainable,
while emphasizing financial support and measures to accelerate the transfer of
environmentally sound technology to developing countries. Steps should be taken to facilitate
the international exchange of information, experiences and technical skills, especially between
the developed and developing countries. Some delegations said that international cooperation
should make tourism sustainable in respect of its economic and social aspects as well.
38. Some delegations emphasized that regional cooperation is an important policy approach
for promoting the development of sustainable tourism.
39. One delegation noted that, although it is important to allow for a variety of forms of
ecotourism that depend on the regional situation, there are benefits to be derived from global
standards to minimize negative ramifications of ecotourism and an international network to
promote an exchange of information and views.

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