Members of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) agreed on October 5 to make joint efforts toward a sustainable future with support and participation from both the public and private tourism sectors.
The agreement was reached during the first day of the two-day international conference on sustainable development 2013 with a special focus on tourism in Indonesia’s resort island of Bali.
The conference with the theme “moving towards a sustainable Asia Pacific” is held on the sidelines of the 21st APEC summit by Indonesian Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy and the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UNSDSN).
“The impact of 1 billion travelers roaming the earth has forced governments, NGOs, communities, and the tourism industry to recognize the importance of sustaining the environment upon which all tourism depends.” Chairwoman of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council Kelly Bricker said at the session.
Kelly reaffirmed the critical importance of the global sustainable tourism criteria in addressing healthy ecosytems and the millennium development goals and the challenges faced in maximizing tourism’s positive potential and mitigating the negative.
Tourism has been a global powerhouse for economic and social development, and one of the fastest growing sectors for Asia Pacific economies, according to UNSDSN.
Indonesian Minister for Tourism and Creative Economy Mari Elka Pangestu said that Asia has long been facing the intensifying challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss, escalating scarcity of natural resources and growing urbanization due to the rapid development of tourism.
Jeffrey Sachs, Director of UNSDSN, agreed with Mari, saying the collaborative effort of both the public and private sectors is a key to accelerating practical problem solving for sustainable development at the local, national, regional and global level.
The conference also reviewed success stories worldwide in sustainable development implementation in Asia Pacific and discussed ways to achieve sustainability in biodiversity, forestry and marine conservation.