World Tourism Day 2011 Message

by Andreas Müseler,
Chairman, Tour Operators’ Initiative for Sustainable Tourism Development (TOI)

 

World Tourism Day 2011

TOI’s Support Statement


It is widely recognized that tourism has the potential to foster mutual respect and understanding among people from different backgrounds and cultures, as travellers learn to appreciate the value of tolerance and respect for diversity.

The role of tourism in promoting international understanding, peace and prosperity was reflected in the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), endorsed by the UNWTO General Assembly in 1999 and then officially recognized by the UN General Assembly in 2001 (A/RES/56/212). It calls on visitors and host communities to learn about, and show respect for each other’s traditions, recognizing that understanding and promoting the ethical values common to humanity, with an attitude of tolerance and respect for different religions, philosophical and moral beliefs, are both the foundation and the result of responsible tourism.

Members of the Tour Operators’ Initiative for Sustainable Tourism Development (TOI), the leading international tour operators’ Association, are fully engaged in advancing UN goals of sustainable development in respect of tourism and committed to support sustainable destinations while making a pragmatic contribution to forge partnerships and build interaction between diverse communities and across cultures. Founded by a group of tour operators with its Secretariat being hosted by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the TOI developed a Statement of Commitment to Sustainable Tourism Development to be signed by its members, which, inter alia, commits members to conserve cultural heritage, respect the integrity of local cultures and collaborate with local communities.

In its projects with destination communities, TOI works towards:

  • Establishing close links with all stakeholders in the community, based on open and transparent dialogue in which the vision of the destination community is the primary focus;
  • Ensuring compliance with all applicable laws and regulations;
  • Combating all illegal or exploitative forms of tourism;
  • Developing awareness and active involvement of visitors in the protection of the natural, social and cultural environment; and
  • Encouraging better understanding and mutual respect between host communities and visitors.

Acting as intermediaries between visitors and local destination communities, tour operators have a central role to play in fostering informed, respectful and mutually beneficial relations among them. TOI members and supporting members – the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) - share a strong, common interest in preserving unique environmental, social and cultural values of destination communities while ensuring destinations’ sustained growth.

 

Mr. Andreas Müseler

Chairman, Tour Operators’ Initiative for Sustainable Tourism Development (TOI)

Sustainability Manager, REWE Touristik

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