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Wednesday, May 24, 2017
New UNWTO tool to measure tourism impacts holistically
Rifai: move into green
UNWTO will launch the Measurement of
Sustainable Tourism (MST) index as a holistic measure of tourism at its
International Conference on Statistics in the Philippines next month, announced
secretary general Taleb Rifai.
Speaking during the UNWTO/PATA Ministerial
Debate at PATA Annual Summit at Negombo, Sri Lanka last weekend, Rifai said the
MST will take a holistic look at tourism impacts and benefits to a country’s
socio-economic wellbeing instead of relying on arrivals alone.
“For years we have been relying on arrivals
as (a measurement) but we need to examine the impacts in terms of the economy,
jobs, society and communities,” he said.
“We need to move into a truly green economy.
Growth and sustainability must go hand in hand," he added. "We have
to fight climate change; five per cent of carbon emissions comes from travel
and of this two per cent is from transport."
More destinations are now moving away from
the 'numbers game' and instead are focusing on courting high-spending visitors
who bring in more revenue and smaller carbon footprint, panellists at the
Deepak Raj Joshi, CEO of Nepal Tourism Board,
said his country has restricted travel to certain sites due to over-visitation,
while Mirza Mohamed Taiyab, director general of Tourism Malaysia, said the
Malaysian government has identified ecotourism as a way to leverage the
country's rich natural assets and benefit local communities at the same time.
According to Hiran Cooray,
chairman of Jetwing Hotels, Sri Lanka's strict environmental protection laws
has made it compulsory for every hotel to install a sewage treatment plant
while renewable energy plants are encouraged.