The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (RIO+20) officially opened today, June 20 in Rio de Janeiro (Brasil). On the occasion of the Summit, tourism related events took place such as the conference “Green Innovation in Tourism”. The event, organised by the UNWTO, gathered 300 international tourism experts. As highlighted, shifts in tourism practices can produce major benefits, stimulating change towards greater sustainability within the tourism supply chain and other sectors. Presentations demonstrated that an increased focus on sustainability, in particular, green innovation, can lead to more jobs and reduce environmental impacts, cutting costs and increasing competitive advantages for companies and destinations while enhancing the visitor experience.
The event “Greening the Games: How Brazil’s World Cup is Driving Economic Changes”, organised by the Green Building Council of Brasil was also an occasion to discuss about tourism. Main highlights have been the statements of Mariana Aldrigu, member of the organizing committee, claiming “there is still a gap in tourism professional training” and “opportunities may be lost by the lack of urban mobility in our cities”, despite the potential in “entertainment and imaging capabilities”.
On the occasion of the Summit, the UNWTO launched a report, called “Challenges and Opportunities for Tourism in Small Island Developing States (SIDS)”. The document finds that while SIDS often struggle to compete in the global economy, their natural and cultural resources give them a strong competitive advantage in the tourism marketplace, showing the need to address key issues such as leakages, conservation, air connectivity and climate change.
Scheduled events for today are: “Tourism for a Sustainable Future”, organised by UNWTO, Ministry of Tourism of Brasil and the State Secretary of Sport, Culture and Tourism of Brasil, to discuss on the state of tourism, main challenges and direction it should be heading for sustainable growth, and “Responsible Tourism in Destinations” organised by Leeds Met University and the University of Sao Paolo, debating progress since 1992 to assess tourism’s contribution to development.