TOURISM Conference aims at discussing the role of tourism with reference to the adoption of the Post-2015 Development Agenda, namely the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The World Tourism Organization (UNTWO) highlights/ emphasizes the role of tourism regarding the SDGs related to inclusive and sustainable economic growth (Goal 8), sustainable consumption and production (Goal 12), and the sustainable use of oceans and marine resources (Goal 14) (UNTWO, 2015).
However, as stated in the same document, as a global activity, tourism has a broader influence on sustainability goals and may contribute to the implementation of all SDGs by:
- Improving human and communities’ welfare, by reducing poverty and hunger;
- Improving countries development as well as citizens’ equality, health, education and inclusivity;
- Promoting the preservation of cultural identities and cultural and natural heritage;
- Contributing to gender equality;
- Ensuring access to resources (water, energy) and food in an affordable way, as well as sustainable production and consumption;
- Promoting partnerships, economic growth and fair work;
- Building low impact infrastructures;
- Reducing actions and procedures that contribute to climate change;
- Protecting terrestrial and oceanic ecosystems.
Thus, the commitment of tourism activities with sustainability goals endorses new ways of thinking, planning and managing tourism activities. Awareness on these questions embraces all the actors (politicians, investors, companies and citizens) that may decide, from their different standpoints, on how to take the road of sustainability. In the future, travelling, for instance, will be more demanding, regarding sustainability goals, and will certainly change the paradigm of tourism.
Tourism sustainability goals will certainly bring many changes, from the way tourists travel, to the way infrastructures are built, the way local people interact with visitors, or the way urban and rural landscapes and natural areas accommodate the flow of tourists.
Tourism is not a ‘gold mine’, but may be part of the solution for local and regional development, for natural and cultural preservation and for bringing closer different people, thus paving the way for a more equal and conscious global community.