Sustainable Tourism

International year of sustainable tourism for development

The International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development served as a catalyst for change, propelling the tourism industry towards a more sustainable and responsible future. Designated by the United Nations for the year 2017, this global initiative aimed to raise awareness about the importance of sustainable tourism practices and their potential to contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) achieved.

Throughout the year, various events, campaigns, and collaborative efforts were organized to engage governments, tourism industry representatives, local communities, and travelers in promoting sustainable tourism. This article delves into the historical background of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, highlighting its objectives and key initiatives, and provides a range of celebration ideas to inspire ongoing action in the realm of sustainable tourism. 

An overview of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development’s past

The International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development was a global initiative aimed at promoting sustainable tourism practices and raising awareness about the potential of tourism to contribute to sustainable development. It was officially designated by the United Nations (UN) for the year 2017.

The idea of dedicating a specific year to sustainable tourism was proposed by the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015. The resolution recognized the importance of tourism in fostering economic growth, job creation, and cultural exchange, while emphasizing the need for sustainable practices to minimize negative impacts on the environment, local communities, and cultural heritage.

The objectives of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development were.

  • Raising awareness
  • Promoting sustainable practices
  • Enhancing policy frameworks
  • Fostering partnerships

Raising awareness

The initiative aimed to increase global awareness about the importance of sustainable tourism and its potential to contribute to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Promoting sustainable practices

It sought to encourage the adoption of sustainable tourism practices by various stakeholders, including governments, tourism industries, local communities, and tourists themselves.

Enhancing policy frameworks

The initiative aimed to support the development and implementation of policies and strategies that promote sustainable tourism at the national, regional, and international levels.

Fostering partnerships

It aimed to facilitate collaboration among different stakeholders, including governments, NGOs, private sector entities, and local communities, to work together towards sustainable tourism development.

Throughout the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, various events, conferences, workshops, and campaigns were organized worldwide to promote sustainable tourism practices. The UNWTO and its partners led these efforts, engaging governments, tourism industry representatives, and the general public.

The year-long initiative contributed to advancing the understanding of sustainable tourism, encouraging responsible travel behavior, and fostering partnerships for sustainable development. It also helped highlight the potential of tourism in poverty reduction, job creation, and preserving natural and cultural heritage.

While the dedicated year ended in 2017, the principles and goals of sustainable tourism for development continue to be promoted and pursued by various organizations and stakeholders worldwide. The International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development played a crucial role in establishing sustainable tourism as an integral part of the global development agenda.

Celebration ideas for the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development

The International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development is a great opportunity to raise awareness and promote sustainable practices in the tourism industry. Here are some celebration ideas to commemorate this important year.

  • Sustainable Tourism Workshops
  • Clean-up Campaigns
  • Sustainable Travel Fairs
  • Film Screenings and Documentaries
  • Sustainable tourism Awards
  • Ecotourism Excursions
  • Social media campaign
  • Volunteer Opportunities
  • Partnerships and Collaborations
  • Educational program

Sustainable Tourism Workshops

Organize workshops and seminars to educate tourism industry professionals, local communities, and travelers about sustainable tourism practices. Invite experts to share their knowledge on topics such as Eco-friendly accommodations, responsible wildlife tourism, and community-based tourism initiatives.

Clean-up Campaigns

Organize clean-up campaigns in popular tourist destinations, beaches, and natural areas. Encourage volunteers, tourists, and local communities to participate in these events to promote responsible waste management and environmental conservation.

Sustainable Travel Fairs

Host sustainable travel fairs where tour operators, accommodations, and tourism-related businesses can showcase their eco-friendly offerings. This provides a platform for travelers to learn about sustainable travel options and make informed choices.

Film Screenings and Documentaries

Screen documentaries and films that highlight the importance of sustainable tourism and the impact it can have on local communities and the environment. This can be followed by panel discussions to encourage dialogue and reflection on sustainable tourism practices.

Sustainable Tourism Awards

Recognize and reward individuals, organizations, and destinations that have made significant contributions to sustainable tourism. Create categories such as Eco-friendly accommodations, community-based tourism initiatives, and innovative sustainable tourism projects.

Ecotourism Excursions

Organize guided tours or excursions to showcase sustainable practices and initiatives in action. Visit Eco-lodges, organic farms, and community-based tourism projects to provide participants with firsthand experience of sustainable tourism.

Social Media Campaigns

Launch a social media campaign to raise awareness about sustainable tourism practices. Encourage travelers to share their sustainable travel stories, tips, and experiences using specific hashtags. This can create a global conversation and inspire others to adopt sustainable travel practices.

Volunteer Opportunities

Offer volunteer programs in collaboration with local organizations that focus on sustainable tourism and community development. Engage travelers in activities such as wildlife conservation, reforestation projects, or sustainable farming initiatives.

Partnerships and Collaborations

Collaborate with local tourism boards, environmental organizations, and businesses to create joint initiatives promoting sustainable tourism. Pool resources and expertise to develop innovative projects and campaigns.

Educational Programs

Develop educational programs in schools and universities to teach students about sustainable tourism and its importance. Encourage research projects and competitions focused on sustainable tourism development.


The International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development was a vital initiative that promoted sustainable tourism practices and raised awareness about its potential for sustainable development. While the dedicated year has ended, the principles and goals of sustainable tourism continue to be pursued globally. The celebration ideas provided offer practical ways to promote responsible tourism and contribute to a sustainable future.

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