HAWAII, BRUSSELS, ABU DHABI – The inaugural World Green Tourism Award was presented to Maurice Strong, former Secretary General of the Stockholm Environment Conference (1972) and of the Rio Earth Summit (1992). Strong is currently Senior Advisor to the UN for the Rio+20 Conference.
The award is given each year to a statesman for his leadership contribution to sustainable development and his vision of travel and tourism as a change agent. The award was a highlight of the World Green Tourism Conference in Abu Dhabi and was presented by Vijay Poonoosamy on behalf of Etihad Airways, who sponsored it this year, in the presence of HE Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Secretary General of the Environment Agency, Abu Dhabi (EAD).
The President of ICTP (International Council of Tourism Partners) Professor Geoffrey Lipman in launching the award, described Mr. Strong as a global pioneer of sustainable development who had included travel and tourism in his broad vision. “Forty years later, he is still playing a key role in Rio+20. He inspired WTTC (World Travel and Tourism Council) in Rio to develop an Agenda 21 for travel and tourism, to share it with UNWTO, and as such, establish a solid base for increasingly committed, environmental actions by the sector as a whole,” Mr. Lipman said.
In accepting the award, Mr. Strong reflected on his lifelong passions for the environment and travel, and his firm belief that their interconnection could make a major contribution to the green growth agenda. He urged the industry to place environmental considerations at the heart of strategic planning and to redouble efforts to reduce its carbon footprint. He believed that tourism could play a major role in lifting countries out of poverty, and he was particularly optimistic about China’s efforts to boost international travel and move to a green growth model.
Strong said: “The environment as nature’s capital is the greatest single resource for tourism, and this provides a powerful incentive for the industry to protect it. It makes green tourism a necessity for the industry, not merely a fringe issue too often receiving more lip service than real commitment. Yet there is within the industry a disturbing tendency towards what we call ‘green washing.’ This clearly undermines our efforts to protect the environment on which tourism, indeed all life, depends.
“The industry must integrate ‘green’ as an absolute necessity for its own future and the responsibilities it has for the entire human future – as your core strategic and operational DNA. Simultaneously, this new travelism vision and action commitment must be integrated into the mainstream movement for radical global change that will inevitably gather momentum as we approach Rio+20 and the realization that we are simply running out of time. Frankly, your industry needs an enlightened but radically reinvigorated agenda for green growth transformation for the kind of practical and systemic action required for a comprehensive and integrated response to the challenge of greening of the sector, with an eye on the 2050 climate imperatives and the 2015 development realities but with a real commitment to start now.
“You can build on what has been done before, but it needs real action, targets, measurement, and a new kind of mind-set that links economic, climate, social, and environmental response and that understands glo-cal inclusion is a fundament. I am convinced you can make much more of your unique positioning if you fully integrate the interests of local communities into strategic policy in a meaningful way. In a sustainable green growth world, destinations will have the ultimate responsibility for their destiny.”
The award was launched by ICTP and the organizers of the WTG, Streamline Marketing.
International Council of Tourism Partners (ICTP) er en ny græsrods-rejse- og turismekoalition af globale destinationer, der er forpligtet til kvalitetsservice og grøn vækst. ICTP-logoet repræsenterer styrken i samarbejde (blokken) for mange små samfund (linjerne), der er forpligtet til bæredygtige oceaner (blå) og jord (grøn).
ICTP engagerer samfund og deres interessenter til at dele kvalitet og grønne muligheder, herunder værktøjer og ressourcer, adgang til finansiering, uddannelse og marketingstøtte. ICTP går ind for bæredygtig luftfartsvækst, strømlinede rejseformaliteter og fair sammenhængende beskatning.
ICTP supports the UN Millennium Development Goals, the UN World Tourism Organization’s Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, and a range of programs that underpin them. The ICTP alliance is represented in Haleiwa, Hawaii, USA; Brussels, Belgium; Bali, Indonesia; and Victoria, Seychelles. Members include countries, regions, and cities. Current members include Seychelles; La Reunion; Johannesburg; Rwanda; Zimbabwe; Oman; Grenada; Komodo; as well as Saipan, Hawaii, including the North Shore Chamber of Commerce, and Richmond,Virginia, USA.
For mere information, gå til: www.tourismpartners.org.