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World Tourism Conference focuses on sustainable development

The first World Conference on Tourism for Development continued in Beijing on May 19.

More than 300 delegates from over 100 countries, including several heads of states, are participating in the three-day conference that features ‘Tourism for Peace and Development’ as its theme.

The gathering aims to advance the contributions of tourism to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

“Now we must protect our landscape and ecosystem in order to turn the ecological environment into the most important tourist resource. We must boost tourism through protection of the ecological environment,” said Li Shihong, deputy director of China National Tourism Administration.

The World Tourism Organization also believes it’s important to intersect sustainability and tourism.

The World Tourism Organization says international tourism has grown from around 25 million travelers in the 1950s to nearly 1.2 billion tourists arrivals last year.

The sector now accounts for about 10 percent of global GDP and 9 percent of the world’s employment.

Since tourism has been included in the sustainable development goals, more responsible and sustainable tourist consumption is expected.

According to the UN, tourism is one of the most dynamic economic sectors that can make an important contribution to the achievement of the sustainable development targets, particularly in the areas of job creation, and sustainable consumption.

Now with the approved goals, it is time to step up actions, advance policies and strategies to make that happen.