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Raising awareness among tourism stakeholders regarding the MDGs

UNWTO calls on tourism sector to join UN initiative against poverty

UNWTO joins the United Nations’ initiative “Stand Up, Take Action against Poverty and for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)” and hopes for the support of its public and private stakeholders to spread the message of tourism’s role in support of the MDGs. UNWTO proposes a series of activities and measures to raise awareness among tourism stakeholders regarding the MDGs, aimed at reducing poverty and fostering sustainable development…

UNWTO joins the United Nations’ initiative “Stand Up, Take Action against Poverty and for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)” and hopes for the support of its public and private stakeholders to spread the message of tourism’s role in support of the MDGs. UNWTO proposes a series of activities and measures to raise awareness among tourism stakeholders regarding the MDGs, aimed at reducing poverty and fostering sustainable development.

The MDGs are a set of objectives to be reached by 2015 and conceived with a view towards responding to the main development challenges around the globe, highlighted are those most relevant to tourism:

Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education
Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women
Goal 4: Reduce child mortality
Goal 5: Improve maternal health
Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability
Goal 8: Develop a Global Partnership for Development

“Tourism can be an important contributor to several of these goals, especially the first one on poverty alleviation, the third one on gender equality and the seventh one on environmental sustainability”, says UNWTO Secretary-General a.i., Taleb Rifai; in a message to the organization’s member states. He adds, “through various activities, many tourism stakeholders from the public and private sectors have already demonstrated the sector’s capacity to create jobs and provide many other social and economic benefits to the poorest layers of the population, especially women, while helping to protect delicate ecosystems.”

Tourism and the Stand Up initiative

Tourism can be a key driver of economic recovery. Raising awareness about the sector’s potential is one of the ways to support this message. UNWTO suggests the following proposals to its Members, with a view towards disseminating information amongst their national tourism stakeholders:

– Messages by the Minister in charge of tourism, disseminated through the mass media, on the UN Campaign in general and on the role of tourism within it.
– Incentives by NTAs in order to actively encourage their staff and external partners (public and private) to raise the general awareness on the campaign and to further promote their engagement.
– Conferences, seminars, academic presentations on sustainable development of tourism, highlighting its contribution to MDGs, in schools and universities, especially at those with tourism and hotel education programmes.
– Establishment of campaigns for voluntary cash contributions by tourists to help specific poverty reduction initiatives or projects in poverty-stricken areas close to tourism destinations.
– Distribution of ad-hoc material prepared by NTAs on this occasion (stickers, flags, banners) at major tourism sites, airports, tourism information offices and destinations.
– Special welcome reception for tourists during the 3 days of the Campaign, with the cooperation of airports’ staff, hoteliers, restaurateurs and tourist guides, aiming at raising awareness among visitors.
– Poster and crafts exhibitions in public buildings (information desks, city halls, bus & train stations, airports, etc.) to publicize the contribution of tourism to the MDGs.
– Publication of special issues or reports related to tourism and poverty alleviation, or other MDGs
– Any other actions you may think appropriate

Every year, the United Nations invites all its agencies and civil society organizations to take action in a campaign, offering a platform for engagement in support of the MDGs. Last year, 116 million people took part in this initiative. This year, the Stand Up mobilization will take place over three days, from 16 to 18 October 2009.

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