“Tourism and Jobs: A Better Future for All”
This year’s World Tourism Day theme, ‘Tourism and jobs: A better future for all’, serves to highlight the critical role tourism, and ultimately nature, plays in job creation. Approximately 10 per cent of the jobs generated worldwide are in the tourism industry. But with job growth comes responsibilities.
Tourism is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. Not only is tourism an important source of foreign exchange and employment, but it is closely linked to the social, economic and environmental wellbeing of many countries, particularly developing countries and Small Island Developing States. To that end, countries training today’s tourism managers and service providers need to consider the challenges faced by both the sector and the planet.
Tourism in natural areas is arguably the most critical economic force backing conservation: few other sectors work at comparable levels. For example, park agencies of at least 20 Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity cover 30 per cent or more of their operating costs from visitation fees and concession revenues.
We must however also remember that tourism can have significant negative impacts on the environment. Tourism-associated greenhouse gas emissions were estimated to be around 5 per cent of global emissions in 2005, with transport generating 75 per cent of the overall emissions. In addition, a significant part of plastics found in the oceans can be traced to tourism and other tourism-related chains, including recreational activities, building and construction, and fishing and food production in coastal tourism.