Remarks by H.E. Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser
The High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations
At The Opening of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development
18 January 2017 – Madrid
Your Excellency Mr. Taleb Rifai
Secretary General of the UN World Tourism Organization
Ladies & Gentlemen,
It gives me a great honor to participate in this distinguished gathering and to be addressing this timely topic.
Tourism is an essential element for peace, cultural understanding and sustainable growth. Millions of people travel across the globe every day exploring, sharing, and most of all , understanding each other’s cultures. Understanding, helps to dispel misconceptions and stereotypes that often prevail from a distance. It helps substitute knowledge and tolerance instead of ignorance and prejudice. Most importantly, helps to build diverse and inclusive societies.
This year’s meeting of your distinguished organization is dedicated to Sustainable Development of Tourism. Indeed, 3 of the Sustainable Development Goals, Goal 8 on promoting growth and decent work, SDG 12 on sustainable consumption and production and SDG 14 on the conservation of marine resources are linked to sustainable tourism.
It goes without saying that in an increasingly borderless world , more people are travelling every day. Travel for recreation help drive economic growth by generating revenues, creating jobs and boosting foreign exchange earnings.
I am pleased that the conference brings together professionals of the tourist industry to find ways to expand sustainable tourism, create jobs while promoting standards for the respect of archeological sites, craft industries and art forms that are part of the cultural, religious and social identity of the people who have been living around these sites for centuries.
The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations supports the efforts of UNWTO in its drive in making tourism a vehicle towards building inclusive and sustainable world.
I wish you a fruitful meeting.