WTTC, Travel & Tourism - Global Economic Impact Report 2017WTTC, Travel & Tourism - Global Economic Impact Report 2017London, UK - 20 March 2017: Travel & Tourism generated 1 in 10 of the world’s jobs in 2016 as the sector grew by 3.3%, outpacing the global economy for the sixth year in a row, reads a new report by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

WTTC’s Economic Impact Report 2017, which is conducted in conjunction with Oxford Economics, researches the economic impact of Travel & Tourism impact on global level, for 25 regions, and 185 countries.

Tree Plantations Are NOT ForestsTree Plantations Are NOT ForestsMontevideo, Uruguay - 21 March 2018: On 21 March, the International Day of Forests, 200 organisations are reminding the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) that its misleading forest definition dating back to 1948 must be changed. The definition has allowed the plantations industry to hide the devastating ecological and social impacts of large-scale monoculture tree plantations behind a positive forest image.

FAO’s forest definition has allowed the plantations industry to call their monoculture plantations of fast-growing species such as eucalyptus, pine, rubber or acacia “forests” because it defines a forest only by the number, height and canopy cover of trees on an area. The FAO forest definition has been used as a blueprint for over 200 national and international forest definitions since 1948.

President Varela signs new tourism decreesPresident Varela signs new tourism decreesPanama City - 18 March 2017:  Panama's Head of State announced a strategic investment of 25 million balboas, with the support of the Inter-American Development Bank, for the national parks of Coiba, Portobelo, San Lorenzo and Volcán Barú.

An important step in the development of nature tourism in Panama was launched with the signing by the President Juan Carlos Varela of two Decrees that will regulate concessions and services in the protected areas of the country. President Varela, who was with part of his team at the top of the Barú Volcano, said that this area has much to offer, even as a tourist destination and with the new measures it will be strengthened further at the global level.

Atlantic Puffins, Photo by Brydon Thomason / Shetland Nature HolidaysAtlantic Puffins, Photo by Brydon Thomason / Shetland Nature HolidaysOakham, United Kingdom - 17 March 2017:  Blue Sky Wildlife, a unique, wildlife tours and ecotourism holidays portal, is celebrating its first anniversary. 

This evolving website, launched in collaboration with Tim Appleton MBE, co-founder of Birdfair, really offers something for all lovers of nature and wildlife. It has 60 established and award winning wildlife tour operators and companies already listed. These offer over 300 unique wildlife tours across 33 destinations worldwide.

Towards International Accessible Tourism Standards

Madrid, Spain - 1 March 2017: From the initiative of the ONCE Foundation, the Spanish Association for Standardization (UNE) and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the first working meeting for the development of an International Standard on Accessible Tourism for All was held in Madrid on 13-14 February. 

The Technical Committee TC 228, responsible for tourism and related services within the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), will develop a global and transversal international standard that will include, initially, a systematic inventory of existing standards, technical criteria, recommendations and requirements in the field of accessible tourism. In addition, recommendations and requirements will be suggested for those segments of the value chain and related activities whose international standardisation in terms of accessibility is still pending.

EuroVelo Map

Brussels, Belgium - 1 March 2017: EuroVelo, a project of the European Cyclists´ Federation which comprises a network of 15 long distance cycle routes that connect the European continent, is launching a new, improved cycling map.  Following the success of the previous edition, the 2017 map will be the main promotional tool for the network over the coming years, inspiring all those wishing to discover Europe by bike.

Hikers' Friendly

Athens, Greece - 22 February 2017: Paths of Greece, a Social Cooperative Entreprise, in cooperation with Green Evolution, an environmental consultancy, is launching a new ecolabel titled “Hikers’ Friendly” (Web: www.hikersfriendly.com). The ecolabel is initially offered to accommodation facilities in Greece that wish to be recognised as “Hikers’ Friendly Hotels” (HFH), but later on, it will also cover Hiking Destinations. The aim of the new label is to assist tourism professionals in upgrading their services to hikers. The label is currently in pilot stage, but it will soon be widely available.

Ban Trophy Hunting Ltd.Ban Trophy Hunting Ltd.Vancouver, BC, Canada - 14 February 2017: Most Canadians believe it is time to end the practice of hunting animals for sport, a new nationwide Insights West poll conducted on behalf of Ban Trophy Hunting Ltd. has found. In the online survey of a representative sample of Canadians, 80% of residents support enacting legislation that would ban trophy hunting in their province.

Sustainable Tourism on a Finite Planet

Burlington, VT, United States - 1 February 2017: Technology and the growing global middle class are driving a travel revolution which is causing escalating impacts on fragile ecosystems, human health, and social systems. Unreported data on the worldwide biophysical impacts of tourism uncovered in the new book, Sustainable Tourism on a Finite Planet, indicate that valuable destinations are on the verge of being irreparably harmed. New disciplinary approaches are needed to support the transition to lower the impact of tourism development worldwide.

The tourism industry is one of the most dynamic industries on the planet with a global footprint that is largely unmanaged. While tourism development brings wealth and benefits to a wide range of residents in economies worldwide, much stronger systems are required to lower escalating impacts on some of the most beautiful landscapes, watersheds, natural, socio-cultural and historical treasures in the world.

Madrid, Spain, 31 January 2017 (UNWTO): The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the United Nations Specialized Agency for Tourism, expresses its deep concern and strong condemnation over the recently announced travel ban by the United States of America (USA) to nationals of seven countries (Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen).

The travel ban, based on nationality, is contrary to the principles of freedom of travel and travel facilitation promoted by the international tourism community and will hinder the immense benefits of the tourism sector brings in terms of economic growth and job creation to many countries, including the USA. 

“Global challenges demand global solutions and the security challenges that we face today should not prompt us to build new walls; on the contrary, isolationism and blind discriminatory actions will not lead to increased security but rather to growing tensions and threats”, said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.

“Besides the direct impact, the image of a country which imposes travel bans in such a hostile way will surely be affected among visitors from all over the world and risk dumping travel demand to the USA” added Mr Rifai.