World Tourism Day 2012

Tourism sector called to action on sustainable energy this World Tourism Day

World Tourism Day 2012
The 27 September marks global World Tourism Day; a day initiated and facilitated by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNTWO), on which the tourism industry is called to consider its role in various pertinent global issues. The focus this year is on tourism and sustainable energy; ‘Powering Sustainable Development’.

Worldwide the tourism sector has a significant impact on energy consumption, accounting for 5% (source: UNWTO) of global carbon emissions. 4% is attributed to transport, in particular flights, with nearly 1% coming from accommodation and small amounts from other tourism services. However, due to the size and adaptability of the tourism industry, it can play a key role in shifting perception and transforming its operations to intensify sustainable practice.

Critical to the success of a transformation to sustainability in tourism is the partnership between government and international organisations with the destinations, stakeholders and subsidiaries themselves. Despite, and perhaps because of, its serious challenges with regard to energy security and a high carbon footprint, Cape Town is a global leader in responsible tourism practice through various initiatives being spearheaded by the City of Cape Town, Cape Town Tourism, Fedhasa and others.

The remaining tension is one of market demand and economics versus the willingness to change and the commitment to its implementation. A myriad of technology is surfacing that will make this transition easier. Clever gadgets that deactivate air conditioners when a hotel guest leaves the room, better design of hotels to allow natural light and temperature regulation and, particularly with escalating electricity tariffs, a shift to solar energy and heat pumps.

Says Grant Pascoe, Mayoral Committee Member for Tourism, Events and Marketing; “As a long haul destination, our carbon offset needs to be particularly good to attract travelers who may see this as a critical factor in their travel decision-making. From a general perception that each facet of the tourism supply chain is invested in a sustainability transition to the tangible proof - like tree planting programmes, energy efficient lighting and clever use of technology – we need to really roll up our sleeves when it comes to the sustainable development and conservation of energy.”

For further information, please contact:

Skye Grove, Cape Town Tourism PR and Communication Manager, +27 21 487 6800, email or see

Daylin Mitchell, ESO to MAYCO Member for Tourism, Events and Marketing at the City of Cape Town - Councillor Grant Pascoe, email
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