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Teaching Travellers to Be Activists in Preserving the Places They Visit is a Key to Achieving Sustainable Development in the Tourism Industry
 
New York, 23 April 1999 –  "Teaching travellers to become activists in preserving the places they visit is a key to achieving sustainable development of the industry, " said Ken Hine, chief executive of the International Hotel & Restaurant Association (IH&RA) who addressed the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development in New York this week. 

Hine was speaking on the second day of the ‘Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue Sessions’ between industry, non-governmental organisations, trade unions, local authorities and governments on the emerging issues of global tourism, at the seventh annual session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD).  The Dialogue Sessions are a precedent - setting forum designed to form agreements and further initiatives to implement Agenda 21, the environmental blueprint for action developed at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit.  This year, CSD focused for the first time on the Travel and Tourism industry.

“Travel and Tourism is a major communication industry – and it’s all about people,” said Hine. Now that the greening of the industry is firmly underway, with the introduction in properties of environmental management schemes, sound siting and design principles and relevant staff training, it is time to turn our attention to the role of the traveller in ensuring sustainable development of the industry. Hine commented that «this room is full of willing partners looking for common ground.  It is our belief that as we move from mass tourism to mass customisation of tourism, educating consumers to make informed choices on where and how they travel is a major opportunity for co-operation. "

IH&RA and the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) jointly led an industry delegation of more than 20 hotel and tourism professionals who pressed for a genuine public, private and voluntary sector partnership for the 21st Century. Hospitality delegates included Scandic Hotels, Accor, Pan Pacific Hotels & Resorts, the hotel associations of Denmark and Canada, the International Hotels Environment Initiative and the Caribbean Tourism Organisation.

Hine called for governments at every level to commit manpower and financial resources to consumer education, and for the inclusion of environmental education in schools.  He highlighted the need for partnerships of all kinds - with trade associations of related industry sectors but also with NGO’s, local authorities and trade unions.  Without proper training of those directly involved in the industry – its employees - he said there can be no successful attempt to influence the consumer. 

He outlined the various initiatives put in place by IH&RA to achieve this: an Environmental Teaching Guide for hotel and tourism managers developed with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Association of Hotel School Directors; a manual for the hospitality industry on The Challenge of HIV/AIDS in the Workplace; and IH&RA endorsement of Pan Pacific’s Youth Career Development Programme, which empowers young, poverty-stricken people to make sound decisions on their future careers by providing them with training opportunities in hotels.

These initiatives should be pursued and extended, he said, using all the partnerships available.  " To achieve sustainable development of tourism we must address not only purely environmental concerns but also the economic and social issues involved. "

The CSD meetings end on 30 April when government ministers and national representatives will agree on a series of recommendations for future action to ensure the sustainable development of tourism.

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The International Hotel & Restaurant Association (IH&RA) is a global network of independent and chain operators, national associations, hospitality suppliers and educational centres in the hotel and restaurant industry in more than 150 countries.  As the voice of the industry it represents, protects, promotes and informs its members to enable them to achieve their objectives.
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Contact:
Caroline Harvey
Tel: (33 1) 44 89 94 07
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Also See: Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Development in Southeast Asia / July 1998 
21 Issues & Trends That Will Shape Travel and Tourism in the 21st Century / PATA / Feb 1999 
The First Pan-American Conference - Latin American Tourism in Next Millenium: Education, Investment and Sustainability / April 1999 

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