Sustainable tourism — bringing global awareness to travel and putting it into action — is a top priority for the United Nations this year. The organization has designated 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.
There were nearly 1.2 billion international travelers in 2015, up from 674 million in 2000, according to the United Nations. The latest figure represents nearly one out of seven people in the world and is expected to grow to 1.8 billion people by 2030.
This rapid increase of tourists is exactly why sustainable tourism needs attention now, said Taleb Rifai, the secretary general of the World Tourism Organization, the United Nations agency overseeing the initiative. “The impact of tourism on the world can be negative or positive, and our goal is to see to it that the travel industry is a force for good,” he said.
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