|World Tourism Day 2012 in the sign of sustainable energy|
Vienna, 26 September 2012
The official celebrations will take place in Maspalomas, Gran Canaria / Spain, in parallel with a conference gathering high-ranking experts from the public and private tourism sectors with equally renowned decision-makers from the energy sector. 2012 was moreover proclaimed “International Year of Sustainable Energy for All” by the United Nations.
It was not by coincidence that Spain was chosen as partner country for this year’s World Tourism Day: Even at this point in time, more than 20 per cent of the energy consumed in Spain is derived from renewable sources. According to UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai, “the message at the heart of World Tourism Day 2012 is that these initiatives and commitments are not only helping to protect the environment, they are also creating economic opportunities and jobs for millions, whether in tourism, energy or other sectors”.
“In many sunny tourism regions, sustainable energies are so easy to exploit, that one wonders why they are not yet resorted to as a matter of course”, states Dr. Christian Baumgartner, Secretary General of Naturefriends International (NFI). This is something which has become the order of the day in a constantly growing number of Naturefriends Houses – also in less sunny locations – in both Germany and Austria. Naturefriends groups are even organising visits to small-scale hydropower stations, photovoltaic systems and wind parks in order to spread the word about these new technologies. “Solar systems on hotel roofs in the Mediterranean should become much more of an everyday sight.” Stepping up the use of sustainable energy, implies – on the one hand – that the tourism sector assumes greater responsibility for the environment and for climate protection and – on the other hand – the chance of saving a lot of money, since it is hardly a secret that the use of sustainable energy and the implied decrease in dependence on energy conglomerates will pay off within a short period of time. By way of conclusion Baumgartner underlines that “especially in Europe, the judicious use of sun, wind and water – not only in the tourism sector – holds the chance that the mistakes of the past – keywords nuclear power and Euratom – will not be repeated and the energy supply of the ‘Old Continent’ will be literally renewed”.
NFI is the international umbrella organisation of the Naturefriends movement, uniting over 50 member organisations with approximately 500’000 members. Its activities are focused on preparing and implementing the sustainable development of the environment and of society. NFI is a member of the “Green 10”, a coalition of the ten leading environmental NGOs active at EU level.
Naturefriends International, Press and Public Relations
Tel.: +43 (0)1 89 23 877-22
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