The role of tourism in fighting poverty and building peace were the key focus of the First World Conference on Tourism for Development. The event, organized by UNWTO and the Government of the People’s Republic of China, gathered in Beijing 1000 participants from over 100 countries, was held from 18-21 May 2016 with a specific view to advancing the contribution of tourism to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
Opening the conference, Premier Li Keqiang underlined the role of tourism in lifting people out of poverty and the importance of stepping up international cooperation in tourism.
« The global economy is lacking in growing momentum and needs a new driving force. As one of the fastest-growing and most resilient industrial sectors, tourism plays an important role in boosting world economic recovery » said Premier Li Keqiang, emphasized tourism’s capacity to stimulate economic growth, create jobs and foster inclusive development.
During the occasion, the Government of China announced the launch of an international tourism cooperation plan.
Addressing the conference the President of Mozambique, Filipe Jacinto Nyussi, emphasized that inclusion through tourism requires investment in education and capacity building.
The links between development and peace were stressed by UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, who said: « There can be no development without peace and no peace without development ».
In a message delivered to the conference by the UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Mr Wu Hongbo, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said: « When tourism is well-managed, it has tremendous capacity to create decent jobs, provide opportunities for inclusion and education, and contribute to preserving cultural heritage and the environment. »
The conference included three main panel sessions dedicated to the contribution of tourism to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to poverty alleviation and to peace.