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We all recognize tourism when we see it. Countries around the world are trying to keep their homelands as economically clean and safe for the fact of tourism. But did you know that tourism actually helps a country grow? The money from tourists helps countries maintain their landmarks and popular attractions. However, did you also know there’s a year named for this? That year is called the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.

History of The International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development

The United Nations (UN) General Assembly has approved the adoption of 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. The resolution, adopted on December 4th, recognizes “the importance of international tourism” to help foster “better understanding among peoples everywhere” and bring greater awareness to the “rich heritage of various civilizations” in order to “contributing to the strengthening of peace in the world”.

According to Taleb Rifai, secretary general of the UNWTO, “The declaration by the UN of 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development is a unique opportunity to advance the contribution of the tourism sector to the three pillars of sustainability – economic, social and environmental, while raising awareness of the true dimensions of a sector which is often undervalued.”

He also said, “UNWTO is very much looking forward to proceeding with the organization and implementation of the International Year, in collaboration with Governments, relevant organizations of the UN system, other international and regional organizations and all other relevant stakeholders”

This decision follows the recognition by global leaders at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) that “well-designed and well-managed tourism” can contribute to the three dimensions of sustainable development to help job creation and trade. The decision to adopt 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development comes at a particularly important moment as the international community embraces the new Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), approved by the UN General Assembly last September.

Tourism is included as targets under 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.

How to celebrate the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development

In order to celebrate, you can pitch in around our societies, clean up the roads, fields, and parking lots. You can also help repaint buildings and volunteer for people in need. All in all, to celebrate, we just need to be decent human beings and be aware of the state of our communities.

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