by Simon Capstick-Dale

World Tourism Day 2012

Powering Sustainable Tourism Development

World Tourism Day 2012
World Tourism Day 2012
This year’s theme aims to highlight tourism’s role in a brighter energy future; a future in which the world’s entire population has access to modern, efficient and affordable energy services.

Tourism is one of the world’s largest economic sectors and has already taken important steps towards ensuring this kind of future by improving energy efficiency and increasingly using renewable energy technologies in its operations. These steps are creating jobs, lifting people out of poverty and helping to protect the planet.

Here are some ways in which every responsible citizen can do their bit for World Tourism Day and help to achieve a more sustainable tourism sector and the United Nations goal of ensuring sustainable energy for all by 2030:

Make a commitment
World Tourism Day 2012 is the perfect time to change your energy habits and make a commitment to a brighter energy future. If you are a traveler, simple steps such as switching off the lights in your hotel rooms and unplugging appliances when not in use can make a huge difference. Save energy and water by taking a shower instead of a bath, or choosing not to have your bed linen and towels changed every day.

Tour operators and the transport industry can commit to using renewable energy sources to supply power to lodgings and vehicles. Hoteliers can calculate their carbon footprint and use energy efficient technologies to help reduce carbon emissions and costs using the Hotel Energy Solutions E-toolkit.   
 
Hold an event
The relationship between tourism and sustainable energy is complex, but it is also one of the most exciting areas of research and action in the tourism sector. Conferences, seminars or academic presentations on the 2012 theme will help to shed light on the sustainable energy initiatives already in place within the sector, and to communicate what else can be done.
 
Above all, World Tourism Day is a celebration. Concerts, festivals, shows and parades are a great way to take part. Official celebrations, including the Think Tank on the 2012 theme with the participation of top experts in the field of tourism and energy, will be streamed live on the website.  
 
Launch a competition
A competition – essays, paintings, videos – on tourism and sustainable energy is a fun and simple way to get involved in World Tourism Day. UNWTO will be running two of its own competitions throughout the year; the World Tourism Day Photo Competition and the upcoming Twitter Competition.
 
Take a trip

What better way to celebrate World Tourism Day than enjoying being a tourist yourself? Whether it’s around the world or within your own country, with your family or your classmates, read the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism before you go to make sure your trip is as sustainable and responsible as possible. A number of destinations and sites have offered free entry or special discounts to the public, so look out for special offers!

For more info: http://wtd.unwto.org
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