On 4 May, NECSTouR Vice President Mr Torrent spoke at the High-level Thematic Debate “Putting sustainable and resilient tourism at the heart of an inclusive recovery”, convened by the President of the General Assembly at the UN Headquarters in New York.
I am honoured to have had the opportunity to showcase NECSTouR’s commitment to sustainability to the UN General Assembly in New York. It was a great moment to highlight our strategic actions and good practices in our important role as a network of Regions, to put sustainable and resilient tourism at the heart of an inclusive recovery.
In close collaboration with UNWTO, UNDP, UNEP, and UNCTAD, the event provided the opportunity for Member States and other relevant stakeholders in the tourism sector to discuss strategies and share best practises and experiences in three high-level thematic roundtables on the following topics.
- Roundtable 1 - For People: Leaving no one behind through inclusive tourism
- Roundtable 2 - For Planet: Accelerating a climate friendly transformation
- Roundtable 3 - For Prosperity: Re-invigorating investments in sustainable tourism
Accelerating a climate friendly transformation
Mr Torrent highlighted NECSTouR’s support in recognising tourism as a contributor to carbon neutrality objectives, and the need to provide an adapted framework for action. He underlined our network’s commitment to this through The Glasgow Declaration: a commitment towards a decade of climate action in tourism.
Explaining NECSTouR’s important progress in committing to sustainable development, a journey we embarked on 15 years ago, Mr Torrent acknowledged our awareness that we still have a long way to go. Along this ongoing journey he highlighted some key moments for our network, such as in July 2021 when we signed up to Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency, an initiative that supports tourism destinations, organisations and businesses by declaring a climate emergency and taking action to reduce carbon emissions.
In doing this we defended the importance of tourism in Europe as a vector of the Green Deal objectives, and its potential as a solution if we recognise and support the specificities of the sector. Additionally, by signing the Glasgow declaration we committed ourselves to develop our climate action plan while working on the subscription to the UNEP-WTO "Global Tourism Plastics" program.
Main lines of action
From our important role as a network of destinations, Mr Torrent summarised NECSTouR’s main lines of action as a supporting organisation.
Knowledge; based on regional initiatives that already include tourism in circular economy processes, invest in the energy transition of tourism establishments, and are developing action plans for the preservation of natural and other resources. This is combined with knowledge from experts in climate action with whom we collaborate, with the objective of being able to support our regions in developing their own tourism climate action plans. Advocacy; for the recognition of tourism action on climate change in our regional, national and European policy so that we can obtain strategies that respond to this need, as well as facilitate investments that enable us to carry out the green transition. Cooperation; working together with our partners, with Europe and with tourism stakeholders is essential in achieving our objectives.
Call for action
Mr. Torrent highlighted the importance of putting the community at the core of the tourism experience and referred to the Barcelona Declaration (April 2018) Better Places to Live Better Places to Visit translates the consensus of key stakeholders committed to demonstrate what tourism and cultural heritage sectors can achieve by working more closely together, for the benefit of European citizens and cultural heritage as well as businesses, visitors and destinations, in line with the SDGs.
A vision being built and implemented with the sector and the civil society, putting back the sense of place, identity, culture, into the experience that the hosting community wishes to offer to visitor community, creating interaction mechanisms for the collective benefit.
For further information on our participation in the event, the NECSTouR insights related with the three roundtables (people-Better Places to live, Better places to visit / environment - Glasgow Declaration and Climate Action Plan / Funds - European Tourism Marshall Plan) will be included in the NECSTouR written statement transmitted to the organisers.