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Tourism and UN Sustainable Development Goals

Tourism can play a significant role in helping to achieve the United Nations’ sustainable development goals. We often hear about examples of sustainable tourism initiatives, businesses, and ideas that are helping to achieve specific goals.

Below is a list of UNSDGs and their connection to the tourism industry.

Goal 1 – Eradicate Poverty

Often the rural poor rely on their natural surroundings to make a living, and environmental degradation can severely impact their livelihoods. Sustainable tourism organizations work to include locals in the tourism value chain and conservation to help these communities escape poverty.

Goal 5 – Empower Women

Women play a significant role in developing their communities, yet they are often not allowed to participate actively in this progress. Empowering tourism businesses and platforms can help women to engage in work and business opportunities, allowing them to become financially independent and contribute actively to their community’s growth.

Goal 8 – Equal and fair Economic Opportunities

Unemployment and poverty can often lead people to do whatever it takes to meet their basic needs. Sustainable tourism companies see this as an opportunity to help by providing productive employment and training. In addition, by employing locals, social enterprises can embrace people from impoverished communities and villagers and offer them economic opportunities, which helps to conserve habitat and biodiversity.

Goal 10 – Reduce Inequality

The economic disparity between different parts of society and between other countries is growing wider. A few large corporations control most of the tour and hotel booking business, leaving small and independent operators out of the game. Responsible companies in tourism and destination champions work to reduce these inequalities, fostering collaboration and ensuring a level playing field.

Goal 11 – Build Sustainable Human Settlements

Overtourism is problematic because it can overload destinations with too many people, leading to adverse environmental and social effects. Sustainable tourism practices help manage and monitor tourism in a way that benefits communities without harming the environment.

Goal 13 – Fight Climate Change

Climate change is a vast topic that is often discussed. 2019, the Oxford Word of the Year was “climate emergency.” Despite this, the world has still not taken any significant steps to reverse the trend of climate change. However, some people are working towards mitigating climate change’s impact on economies and tourism. They are finding innovative solutions to adapt to the changes that have already happened, negatively impacting communities and livelihoods.

Goal 14 – Protect the Ocean and Marine Life

The ocean is a vital part of our planet and is responsible for providing us with food and cooling the Earth. However, overfishing, oil spills, and plastic pollution are slowly degrading the quality and health of our oceans. To reverse this unabated degradation and exploitation of marine resources, sustainability Stewarts work towards safeguarding this finite resource. In addition, forward-looking tourism organizations and destinations are also doing their bit to protect the ocean, for example, by organizing beach cleanups, reducing plastic pollution, and conserving marine species.

Goal 15 – Conserve Forests and Protect Biodiversity

Forests play a vital role in Earth. They are the planet’s lungs, hosting various plant and animal species and providing livelihoods to people dependent on their resources. Unfortunately, the world’s growing population directly impacts the deforestation of millions of hectares every year, pushing many species to the brink of extinction through habitat loss and drying river beds. Tourism sustainability champions actively work to conserve forests and protect biodiversity through offering tours, financing conservation, or setting up eco-resorts in fragile areas.

To learn more about UN Sustainable Development Goals, click here.

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