25-6-2017 FT (14)

The importance of political commitment to develop and implementing sustainable tourism goals was highlighted during an international tourism conference currently taking place in Manila, Philippines.

Minister of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs, John Amaratunga who is representing Sri Lanka at the 6th International Conference on Tourism Statistics: Measuring Sustainable Tourism observed that while sustainable tourism was important, the tools to measure sustainability were equally important. The conference is being jointly organized by the Department of Tourism, Philippines and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

The conference kicked-off in Manila on 21 June with a Ministerial Roundtable where tourism leaders from UNWTO, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Seychelles, South Africa, Fiji, Zimbabwe, Indonesia, South Korea, China, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Costa Rica, Peru, Kenya, Switzerland, Mexico, Spain, France, Egypt, Canada, Belarus, Belgium, and Germany participated.

The roundtable will focus on the need for more integrated, credible data to manage and promote a more sustainable tourism sector. A declaration will be adopted on the need for Tourism Ministers, Statistical Chiefs, and Environmental Officials to work together in developing and implementing statistical tools to assess and measure tourism´s contribution in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The UNWTO International Conference on Tourism Statistics, which is organized every five to 10 years, serves as a forum to advance and to set an agenda for better understanding of the statistical and planning side of tourism based on international standards. The 6th edition is to celebrate the 2017 International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.
Sustainable tourism is increasingly relevant in the national agenda for its role in fostering economic growth, social inclusiveness and the protection of cultural and natural assets.

This is now also recognized at the highest international level with the UN General Assembly having adopted four resolutions since 2012 acknowledging the role of tourism in sustainable development, including the 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals.
Tourism Minister John Amaratunga also held a bilateral meeting with the Minister of Tourism of the Philippines, Wanda Corazon T. Teo on the sidelines of the conference. The discussions focused on strengthening tourism sector relations between Sri Lanka and the Philippines.

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