UNWTO: Tourism can help on climate, poverty

The Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization, Francesco Frangialli, addressing the UN Climate Change Conference committed the sector to the common cause of climate change response, linking it closely with the fight against poverty.“We are all part of the great global economic pattern of tourism” Mr. Frangialli said.

“Whether we come here to enjoy the beaches or the conference halls - or both, we are contributing to local commerce, to jobs, to investment and to export income. In so doing we are providing sustainable livelihoods through a long supply chain which we must increasingly help to make carbon clean.  And we must start now.”

Mr. Frangialli said that in the past year the tourism sector - private and public stakeholders - had begun to unite in its support of the UN Secretary-General’s roadmap for a more climate responsible world.

Francesco Frangialli gave three clear messages to the Summit

Tourism - business or leisure travel - and all of its accommodation, transport and service activity, is significantly affected by climate change as well as being a contributor to global warming. Destinations are under pressure around the world from ski resorts, to beach resorts: from city breaks to island retreats. Tourism would not shrink from its responsibilities to respond through adaptation and mitigation, as well as by technology and financing for poor countries. We are part of the problem and will be part of the solution.

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Tourism is a major factor in the war on poverty. For most Developing Countries, LDC’s and Small Island Developing States it is their largest single export and major driver of jobs, investment and economic transformation. It is growing in these countries at significantly higher rates than in OECD states.
Also in general these poor countries are most vulnerable to climate change and at the same time are the ones who create the least green house gas emissions. Tourism must be allowed to grow responsibly to these states and actions to curb emissions must take this into account.

UNWTO will act as a conduit for the tourism sector into the UN system response to climate change contained in Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s Bali roadmap.


UNWTO has undertaken two side events at the Summit in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism and Culture of the Republic of Indonesia to underscore the interrelated impacts of climate change and tourism. It presented.

The results of a scientific analysis that showed tourism is estimated to contribute some 5% of CO2 - approximating its global economic contribution, but far below its contribution to the economies of developing countries.


The Davos Declaration agreed by stakeholders in October 2007 and subsequently supported at a Tourism Ministerial Summit and UNWTO’s General Assembly .  These constitute a framework for a long range carbon-neutral sectoral strategy.
As part of UNWTO’s evolving efforts to implement the Davos Declaration, the General Assembly held in late November in Colombia agreed that the 2008 World Tourism Day (WTD) Theme will be “Tourism - Responding to the Challenge of Climate Change”. To this end, UNWTO will conceive an international campaign which will build up towards the global WTD celebrations on 27 September. Next year’s official WTD will be hosted by Peru.

For the past 5 years, three United Nations Agencies - UNWTO, UNEP (UN Environmental Program) and WMO (World Meteorological Organization) - have been cooperating to advance the thinking on the relationship between tourism and climate change. These continuing initiatives in the Tourism sector are part of the overall UN effort to develop a common framework in tackling the climate change challenge.
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