Tourism growth must be inclusive and resource efficient, says Minister

Feb 17, 2015

Unbridled tourism growth counters one of tourism key aspirations: cultivating sustainable and peaceful communities. For this reason, tourism growth must be inclusive and tourism must be practised ethically.

These were some of the insights Tourism Minister, Derek Hanekom, shared on Monday night when addressing the welcome reception ahead of the International Institute for Peace through Tourism (IIPT) symposium, which takes place this week.

“If tourism is perceived as an elitist activity; if growth is not inclusive; if tourism does not create local opportunities and local jobs; if tourism is not practised ethically, or if tourism destroys local cultures, then resentment and intolerance will reign,” said Hanekom. He added that the rapid growth of tourism would carry the seeds of division.

He said it was also important to manage the carbon, water and waste footprint of tourism growth, because if we did not, the consequences would be with us for generations to come. “We must act decisively to ensure that we do not spend the natural capital of future generations in the name of unbridled tourism growth.

“Fortunately, it is possible to build a tourism economy that is both responsible and inclusive,” said Hanekom. “Working with institutions like the UNWTO, the UN specialised agency for tourism, and the WTTC, the global industry association for travel and tourism, we must ensure that tourism growth is compatible and supportive of the global Sustainable Development Goals that we hope to adopt in September, and the global post-2020 climate change pact that we hope will be agreed to in December this year.

“Tourism is ultimately about the opportunities to put a warm meal on the table or send a child to school,” said Hanekom, adding that tourism played a significant role in connecting people from around the world.

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