2017 UNWTO’s International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development


2017 in review: United Nations World Travel Organization named 2017 “The International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development”.


It was poised to “advance the contribution of the tourism sector to the three pillars of sustainability – economic, social and environmental” as said by the then UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.

This was a unique opportunity to raise awareness of the contribution of sustainable tourism to development among public and private sector decision-makers and the general public, while mobilising all stakeholders to work together in making tourism a catalyst for positive change. Their campaign #TravelEnjoyRespect encouraged tourists to be “an agent of change” and shared helpful tips on how anyone can become a more responsible traveller.


In the context of the universal 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), tourism is included in the targets of three of the SDGs - SDG 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all; SDG 12: Sustainable Consumption and Production; and SDG 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. The International Year aimed to support a change in policy, business practices and consumer behavior aimed towards a more sustainable tourism sector than can contribute to the SDGs.


Over the course of the year, Sea Going Green has registered our commitment under #OceanAction19423 to contribute to the implementation of the UN SDG 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, sea and marine resources for sustainable development. Readers can read more about Sea Going Green’s commitment to SDG 14 here.

We believe in the transformative power of the tourism industry and want to use it as a catalyst for the sustainable use of the natural environment. Tourists choose their destinations for many different reasons, some travel for white sandy beaches, others for whale-watching tours or snorkelling experiences. Whether they are visiting to (consciously or unconsciously) interact with nature, their holidays are reliant on a clean, safe and well-functioning ecosystem.  For instance, colourful healthy coral reefs attract many divers, but also provide the sand of many tropical beaches as well as absorbing the incoming energy, which creates the beach on which they tan on and the calm waters that tourists enjoy swimming in.


After 12 months of events and meetings dedicated to Sustainable Tourism, we are hopeful that a solid framework was produced during the International Year of Sustainable Tourism and will continue to be used and developed throughout the entirety of the Tourism Sector. We look forward to further promoting #SustainableTourism and getting involved with the UNWTO to share our knowledge and expertise on how to #GoGreenForTheBigBlue.


All of us at Sea Going Green wish you safe, happy and nature-based travels in the New Year!


Read more about UNWTO's International Year for Sustainable Tourism for Development here : http://www.travelenjoyrespect.org.