The importance of tourism to sustainable development and of the need for tourism to integrate sustainability principles has been increasingly recognized in international fora, and echoed in policy statements.
The UN Commission on Sustainable Development, 7th session, 1999 The seventh session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) urged governments to advance the development of sustainable tourism. Particular emphasis was placed on the need for the development of policies, strategies and master plans for sustainable tourism based on Agenda 21, as a way of providing focus and direction for relevant organizations, the private sector and indigenous and local communities. It underlined the need for consultation with all the above stakeholders and for working in partnership with them. It called for capacity building with local communities and for the deployment of a mix of instruments including voluntary initiatives and agreements. Clauses included support for small and medium sized enterprises and appropriate information for tourists.
The WTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, 1999 This code was endorsed by the UN General Assembly in 2001 which invited governments and other stakeholders in the tourism sector to consider introducing the contents of the code into relevant laws, regulations and professional practices. The code contains many of the principles of sustainable development of tourism articulated by the CSD and others. It also places particular emphasis on the special role of tourism in contributing to mutual understanding and respect between peoples and as a vehicle for individual and collective fulfilment. Separate articles set out the right to tourism (‘The prospect of direct and personal access to the discovery and enjoyment of the planet’s resources constitutes a right equally open to all the world’s inhabitants’) and freedom of movement of tourists, based partly on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It also sets out the rights of workers and entrepreneurs in the tourism industry with regard to recognition, training, social welfare and other matters.