From economics to the environment to ethics, tourism has greatly affected global development. The UNWTO is driven to ensure that tourism is a force for good across the world. Whether it be game tours in Southern Africa or adventure park development in North America, tourism can be a key influential player in how international development progresses in our increasingly interconnected society.
Topic 1 - Sustainable Tourism: Climate Change
The changing climate is continuously altering the globe’s many ecosystems, and tourism has not escaped its harsh effects. Many popular attractions have direct ties to nature and weather patterns, and the tourism industry must adjust accordingly. In the face of climate change, promotion of ecotourism has become ever more vital to help maintain biodiversity, and to protect forests and endangered species. The change in the environment has also already affected tourists’ traveling decisions, and therefore has the potential to radically alter local and national economies. The UNWTO must create solutions in order to promote sustainability in the tourism industry as climate change alters our environment.
Topic 2 - Ethical Tourism: Human Trafficking and Security
Tourism can be a force for good in combatting human trafficking. Human trafficking, and particularly child sex trafficking, is heavily tied to the tourism industry. Many traffickers, in fact, have exploited tourism infrastructure and businesses to expand their practices. The UNWTO can promote social responsibility and ensure the following of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism as a starting point to solve this issue. With over a billion tourists traveling internationally every year, the industry has the potential to become a serious hurdle to human traffickers if the right policies are put into action.