As the world comes together to celebrate 2010 as the International Year of Biodiversity, UNWTO is happy to announce that the World Tourism Day (WTD) celebrations, hosted officially this year by China, will take place under the theme Tourism and Biodiversity (27 September, Guangdong Province). The theme provides a unique opportunity to raise public awareness of the importance of biodiversity to tourism and the role of sustainable tourism in the conservation of life on Earth.
Biodiversity is a key tourism asset and fundamental to its sustained growth. Intact and healthy ecosystems form the cornerstone of thousands of tourist enterprises and products worldwide, attracting hundreds of millions of tourists each year. As a leading economic activity, sustainable tourism has an important role and responsibility in managing and conserving biological natural resources. As a key source of income and employment, tourism often provides strong incentives to protect biodiversity. Sustainable tourism can furthermore generate significant revenues for conservation and community development and help to raise awareness of biodiversity issues.
The theme Tourism and Biodiversity is particularly pertinent in 2010. Concerned by the continued loss of biological diversity, the United Nations Assembly declared 2010 the International Year of Biodiversity. The year coincides with the target adopted by governments in 2002, to achieve, by 2010, a significant reduction in the rate of biodiversity loss.
“Tourism and biodiversity are mutually dependent. UNWTO wishes to raise awareness and calls upon the tourism stakeholders and travellers themselves to contribute their part of the global responsibility to safeguard the intricate web of unique species and ecosystems that make up our planet” said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai.
Central WTD celebrations will take place in Guangdong Province, China. Alongside a series of cultural events organized by the Chinese Government, the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) will host the 2010 World Tourism Day Think Tank around this year’s theme. The Think Tank will bring together leading public and private tourism stakeholders, as well as biodiversity experts and members of the media, to highlight the close relationship between tourism and biodiversity, and identify how tourism can contribute to preserving life on Earth and its unique biodiversity.