This year’s celebration comes at a time when the industry is facing several challenges such as terrorism and general hooliganism; therefore, prompting the UNWTO to release a handbook offering guidelines on how to Travel, Enjoy, Respect.
To highlight the significance of sustainable tourism as a tool for development, Jumia Travel marked the World Tourism Day by bringing together experts and stakeholders in a workshop dubbed “Green Summit” held in collaboration with the Kenya Utalii College. The workshop, aimed at sensitizing the public on their pivotal role in steering and supporting the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development (2017) saw distinguished speakers such the Director, Ministry of Tourism Keziah Odemba and the former East Africa Tourism Platform Coordinator Carmen Nibigira, Robert Orina from NEMA and Jim Karani of Wildlife Direct among others share key insights largely focusing on the UNWTO global theme for the day, “Sustainable Tourism – A Tool for Development”.
The industry recorded a total of 1.2 billion international travelers in the past year, a number that is forecasted to grow up to 1.8 billion by 2030. Kenya made a growth by registering a 16.7% increase from 2015 to hit an impressive 877, 602 international arrivals.
It’s in this light that Keziah Odemba encouraged the participation of communities in tourism destinations as they bear the primary impact of the trade. Odemba also noted that key issues such as infrastructure, education, and governance are closely tied to the development and sustainability of travel and tourism, hence urged the government to accord priority to solving issues touching on the same, as well as streamline the numerous processes involved.
Carmen challenged stakeholders in the aviation industry to implement trade models that will push Africa to open its skies to Africa while observing that apart from the cost of the actual ticket, sailing through the immigration department of some African countries is a nightmare. She noted that tourism recovery campaigns, open border policy and uptake of technology are key drivers if the country is to see any remarkable growth in arrival.
The issue of human-wildlife conflicts came into the picture as Karani, an animal law expert from Wildlife Direct highlighted the plight of elephants in Laikipia conservation as well as the impact of infrastructural development such as the SGR on wildlife. He noted that creation of community-based programs in conflict-prone areas was a wonderful way of engaging the locals.
Recognizing the role of environmental conservation in sustainable development, Robert Orina of NEMA commended Kenyans for the positive uptake of the plastic ban thus far. The ban, Orina said, aims at facilitating Kenya’s achievement of SDG 12 on responsible consumption and production.
To mark this day, the World Tourism Organization has released a handbook outlining simple codes of conduct for travelers that touch on the five pillars of travel, thus; economy, society, environment, culture and peace.