Focus on sustainable tourism development, climate change

Fiji's Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism Faiyaz Koya opens the 30th Joint Meeting of the UNWTO Commission for East Asia and the Pacific and the UNWTO Commission for South Asia (29th CAP-CSA) and UNWTO Regional Seminar on Climate Change, Biodiversity & Sustainable Tourism Development in Nadi this morning. Picture: FIJIAN GOVERNMENT/FB

CHALLENGES faces by the Pacific region regarding sustainable tourism development and climate change will be at the forefront of discussions at a regional seminar currently underway in Nadi.

The UNWTO (World Tourism Organization) Commission for South Asia (29th CAP-CSA) and UNWTO Regional Seminar on Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Tourism Development was opened this morning by Fiji’s Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism Faiyaz Koya.

Reiterating the need to engage and actively support sustainable tourism development in the Pacific region, Mr Koya said the regional seminar should come up with tangible outcomes and recommendations that could be taken up at other international forums.

“Tourism in Fiji and the Pacific is a vital contributor to the GDP and employs a large number of Pacific citizens.  In Fiji’s case, the tourism sector contributes at least 30 percent to the GDP and employs 1 in 3 persons in the workforce,” Mr Koya said.

“And it is this very livelihood that is being adversely affected by climate change caused by unsustainable practices around the world.

“The Pacific region is the smallest contributors to global warming. However, we are the ones that are affected the most by climate change – raising sea level that not only affects sectors such as tourism but also affects arable land.”

The regional seminar is being held in the margins of the 30th joint meeting of the UNWTO (World Tourism Organization) Commission for East Asia and the Pacific.

The 30th CAP-CSA Joint meeting which is UNWTO´s principal annual event in the Asia-Pacific region is attended by participants from UNWTO Member States, UNWTO Affiliate Members and international and regional organizations.

Mr Koya said this was the first time that the Joint Commissions meeting has been brought to this part of the World.

“Hosting the Joint Commissions meeting in the Pacific for the first time is crucial for the region,” he said.

“We want to use this opportunity to show to the UNWTO and the East Asian and South Asian, firstly what Fiji and the region can offer in terms of tourism products.

“At the same time highlight the challenges that the nations in this region face due to climate change. The impact of the adversity of natural disaster.”

The agenda of today’s regionalseminar covers important topics relating to Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Tourism Development.

Other key topics at the meet will include:

  • UNWTO´s Programme of Work for the Region
  • Tourism and Ethics
  • Conclusion of International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017
  • Climate Change, Biodiversity & Sustainable Tourism Development
  • Other statutory issues related to the UNWTO Asia-Pacific Member States

“Therefore, the Regional Seminar on Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Tourism Development being held in the margins of the Joint Commissions Meeting is timely.  Through this Seminar we hope to bring to the forefront the challenges faced by the Pacific region,” Mr Koya added.

 

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