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WTO suggests to establish tourism sustainability observatory for SIDS

The World Tourism Organization proposed the establishment of a worldwide Tourism Sustainability Observatory for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) at the recently concluded United Nations conference…

The World Tourism Organization proposed the establishment of a worldwide Tourism Sustainability Observatory for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) at the recently concluded United Nations conference on Small Islands. The aim of the Observatory would be to monitor the performance of this key economic sector in islands, and to serve as a benchmarking facility for tourism destinations and individual enterprises.

During the international meeting, which was held in Port Louis, Mauritius from 10 to 14 January, the World Tourism Organization organized a Side Event to discuss the role of Tourism in the sustainable development of island states. The event was attended by over one hundred people including several ministers and senior officials, amongst them the ministers of tourism of Mauritius, Dominican Republic and Niue, who took the floor representing the Indian Ocean, Caribbean and Pacific regions respectively.

In its opening speech, the Deputy Secretary General of WTO, Dr Dawid de Villiers stated that Tourism has become the leading economic activity in many small islands and a key element of their development strategies. He further pointed out that there are great opportunities for tourism in small islands that need to be taken, but there are also major challenges to be addressed, such as accessibility, adequate policies and strategies, and a constant concern for the local, usually fragile natural and cultural environments of islands. The need to determine and respect a maximum carrying capacity for tourism in islands was also stressed.

On the opportunity of this Side Event, the World Tourism Organization launched a special report under the title Making Tourism work for SIDS, examining the economic dimension of tourism in small island states, as well as its environmental and socio-cultural implications. The 86-page report further examines the special role of air and sea transport in islands` tourism, and provides detailed recommendations to ensure that tourism is developed and managed in a sustainable manner in small island states, so as to guarantee it contributes to the development of islands and the well being of islanders, underlined Mr. Eugenio Yunis, WTO Chief of Sustainable Tourism Development.

Declaring the Conference a resounding success, the Secretary-General of the United Nations International Meeting on Small Island Developing States, Anwarul K. Chowdhury, reiterated his call at the concluding session of the Conference, for a dynamic system of monitoring the implementation of the Mauritius Strategy, and said, Monitoring should not conclude with simple stocktaking, but should be a process by which implementation loopholes, failures or slackness can be identified and corrective measures taken.

With the outcome documents now in our hands, we have to look forward towards the road to implementation. How we will accomplish this process is in the hands of the stakeholders – the donor community, the multilateral financial institutions, civil society, private sector, regional organizations and the Small Island Developing States themselves, he added.

Co-Founder & Managing Editor - TravelDailyNews Media Network

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.

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