Looking back: World Tourism Day 2008

On World Tourism Day 2008, the official celebrations focussed on "Tourism Responding to the Challenge of Climate Change". The main event was organised by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) on 27th September, 2008 in Lima, Peru. At a pre-event in Lima, a group of civil society organisations, including EED-Tourism Watch, had formulated their inputs to the discussion ("Another tourism is possible! A civil society's perspective on tourism and climate change").As Sabine Minninger reports in the German edition of Tourism Watch 53 (December 2008), they were surprised at the degree to which tourism officials talked about social responsibility, social and environmental indicators and awareness raising to promote climate friendly behaviour. Though the rhetoric at the official event had shifted towards climate protection and poverty alleviation, NGOs raised criticism regarding the lack of civil society participation in UNWTO events. They also questioned the method recommended by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to calculate aircraft emissions. UNWTO presented two new initiatives: "TOURpact.gc", in cooperation with the UN Global Compact, aimed at encouraging the tourism industry to adopt social and ecological standards, and the website, set up in cooperation with Microsoft to serve as a portal on solutions to combat climate change.

(206 words, 18 lines, December 2008)