World Tourism Day (WTD) 2012 will be celebrated under the theme “Tourism&Sustainable Energy: Powering Sustainable Development,” inviting everyone involved in tourism – from governments to businesses and tourists themselves – to learn more about the sustainable energy initiatives in place in the tourism sector, debate what more should be done, and advance the use of sustainable energy in tourism.
“Tourism is leading the way in some of the world’s most innovative sustainable energy initiatives,” said Mr. Rifai in his official WTD message, “Energy-efficient upgrades to aircraft, the shift to renewable fuel for aviation and cruise liners, energy technology solutions in hotels, as well as countless other initiatives are placing tourism at the forefront of the clean energy transformation.”
These initiatives are crucial for sustainable development, continued Mr. Rifai, helping to cut tourism’s carbon emissions, enabling businesses to grow and create jobs, and bringing modern and affordable energy services to some of the world’s most vulnerable communities – goals in line with the 2012 UN International Year of Sustainable Energy for All.
The Secretary-General’s message is part of the WTD 2012 campaign, which also includes the annual WTD photo competition, the upcoming Twitter competition, and access to resources on the relationship between tourism and energy. This year, the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is also inviting everyone to visit the “online energy school,” as part of Hotel Energy Solutions, a UNWTO-initiated project designed to help hoteliers cut their carbon emissions and costs. The launch of the WTD campaign comes one week after governments, the private sector, civil society, and other groups meeting at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) committed US$323 billion to achieving sustainable energy for all by 2030.
Official WTD celebrations will take place on September 27 in Maspalomas, Gran Canaria, Spain, and include a Think Tank on the 2012 theme, with the participation of top experts and policy makers in the field of tourism and energy. The Think Tank will be one of hundreds of events taking place around the world in celebration of WTD.