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Tourism: a major factor for sustainable regional development?
Photo: ATLED - Naturefriends Algeria

Vienna, 25 September 2014
"Tourism & Community Development" is the motto of this year's World Tourism Day on 27 September. With this motto, the UNWTO emphasises the importance of tourism in achieving the UN Millennium Goals, especially concerning poverty reduction and ecologically and socially sustainable development. However, the reality is different in many places.

The United Nations Millennium Development Goals are to be achieved until 2015 - amongst them, halving global poverty rates and establishing a global partnership for development. For the UNWTO, tourism plays an important role in achieving these goals. "On the occasion of World Tourism Day, I would like to invite all tourism stakeholders and host communities to come together and celebrate this day as a symbol of our common efforts in making tourism a true pillar of community development and community development the basis of a more sustainable tourism sector," said Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General of the UNWTO.

Tourism: the other side of the coin
Tourism has been the fastest-growing economic sector in the last years. In many countries, tourism plays a very important economic role. But in a great number of countries, it also has negative effects: flights contribute to global warming, the guests' demands aggravate conflicts about land and water, and increase the pressure on ecosystems. The local communities' interests are often disregarded in favour of tourism interests. Employees work under precarious conditions, women are disadvantaged and children are exposed to exploitation. 

Tourism has to benefit everybody
Naturefriends demand socially, ecologically and culturally sustainable tourism. "Tourism has to benefit everybody - it needs to be ecologically, socio-culturally and economically sustainable," emphasises Christian Baumgartner, Secretary General of Naturefriends International. "We need to develop tourism offers that are fair towards the environment and the hosts, provide economic opportunities for the local population, take into consideration cultural identities and don't harm the environment."

Initiatives for sustainable tourism
With its brand "respect", Naturefriends International has been actively championing the establishment of sustainable tourism for years. Besides networking and research, this also involves information and support of travellers in choosing sustainable holiday offers. For example, the brochure "A guide through the tourism label jungle" presents reliable labels and certifications in tourism.

NFI is the international umbrella organisation of the Naturefriends movement, uniting over 50 member organisations with about 500,000 members. The focus of NFI work is on sustainable development for the environment and society. NFI is a member of Green10, a group of ten leading NGOs active for the environment at the EU level. The brand "respect" is the organisation's environmental and developmental policy voice in tourism.


Cornelia Kühhas
Naturefriends International, public relations
Tel.: +43 (0)1 89 23 877-13

E-Mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it |

Anita Pinter
Naturefriends International, public relations
Tel.: +43 (0)1 89 23 877-24
E-Mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it |


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