The Value of Human Rights on the Camino de Santiago: harnessing the power of tourism to promote cross-cultural dialogue and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals
The International Project "The Value of Human Rights on the Camino de Santiago: harnessing the power of tourism of tourism to promote cross-cultural dialogue and achieve the SDGs" is a project for university students to study and analyze tourism and the human rights and their reflection in the Camino de Santiago as vital elements that shape the global identity and culture, as well as the relation between tourism, the Camino de Santiago and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In addition, the project will incorporate the UNWTO Framework Convention on Tourism Ethics as a guiding principle. The forum achieves the international commitment of the participating universities to work continuously and tirelessly towards the fulfillment of the SDGs and the achievement of sustainable tourism practices. It is a platform for benchmarking tourism on cultural routes, exchanging best practices, learn from each other and gather knowledge that can later be applied to other cultural routes worldwide.
Official Celebration of World Tourism Day 2018 - Tourism and the digital transformation
Digital advances are transforming how we connect and inform ourselves, transforming our behaviour, and encouraging innovation and sustainable, responsible growth strategies. We must better understand the growing economic, societal and environmental impacts of technology and innovation in tourism if our sector is to sustain continuous and inclusive growth in line with the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. “Tourism and the Digital Transformation” is the theme of this year’s World Tourism Day (WTD).  
International Seminar on Women’s Empowerment in the Tourism Sector
The importance of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls has been underscored in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 5- Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls by 2030. Gender equality implies a society in which women and men enjoy the same opportunities, outcomes, rights and obligations in all spheres of life (UNPFA, 2017). A critical aspect of promoting gender equality is the empowerment of women, with a focus on identifying and redressing power imbalances and giving women full autonomy to manage their own lives. Women’s empowerment is vital to sustainable development and the realization of the human rights for all. Moreover, evidence shows that promoting equality will speed up the progress towards the achievement of the SDGs, (UNICEF, 2011) and must be a central part of any strategy to create more sustainable and inclusive economies and societies (OECD, 2014).
International Conference on decent work and socially responsible tourism
As part of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, the World Tourism Organization (WTO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) are pleased to invite you to the International Conference on Decent Work and Socially Responsible Tourism to be held in Madrid on 20 October 2017, from 09h30 to 14h00, at the Ministry of Energy, Tourism and Digital Agenda (MINETAD), address Calle CapitĂĄn Haya, 41. The Tripartite Conference will address the intersections between tourism and employment, as well as issues of governance, corporate social responsibility, responsible production and consumption patterns, universal accessibility and equitable redistribution of benefits generated by tourism sector. The thematic orientation is being defined by the Agenda 2030 of the Sustainable Development Objectives (SDGs), in particular the SDG 8, 12 and 14, and also as a general framework the UN Global Code of Ethics for Tourism (1999), whose conversion in the International Convention has just been approved by the UNWTO General Assembly, and the ILO tripartite document Guidelines on Decent Work and Socially Responsible Tourism, agreed at the meeting of tripartite experts and constituents (Geneva, 20-24 February 2017).
8th UNWTO International Meeting on Silk Road Tourism
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the Ministry of Tourism of Greece and the Region of Central Macedonia have partnered together to organize the 8th UNWTO International Meeting on Silk Road Tourism in Thessaloniki, Greece on 10-12 October 2018.
Following the success of the previous two editions in Dunhuang (2013) andXi’an (2015) in China, this international Silk Road meeting will be hosted for the very first time by a European Silk Road Member State, and focus on the overarching role and relevance of the Silk Road within a globalized tourism framework. To count upon the participation of Silk Road Member States, UNWTO Affiliate Members and international partner agencies, interested stakeholders from around the globe, both public and private, are invited to attend an event that will count upon a ministerial roundtable and specialized sessions focused on assessing the role and relevance of the historic Silk Road routes within a globalized setting. Together with the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), a joint session assessing the Silk Road's role in bridging Europe with Asia will take place, after which a B2B session aimed at strengthening business ties between European and Asian stakeholders will be held during the second day of the event. Primarily focused on tourism partnerships, but open to all business sectors, stakeholders interested in exploring the vast opportunities of trans-continental exchange are encouraged to make the most of this networking opportunity. Participation in the B2B session is free of cost; only registration for the event is required.
Event partners: UNWTO is pleased to partner with Aegean Airlines, the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, the Thessaloniki Convention Bureau, the Thessaloniki Tourism Organization, and the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) in organizing this event.
Global Conference on Jobs and Inclusive Growth: Partnerships for Sustainable Tourism
The Conference on Jobs and Inclusive Growth: Partnerships for Sustainable Tourism organized by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the Government of Jamaica, the World Bank Group and the Inter-American Development Bank aimed to set a new collaborative framework for tourism moving towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. An official event of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017, the events gathered 1500 participants and over 150 speakers in Montego Bay, Jamaica, on 27-29 November 2017. The conference brought together world leaders from the tourism industry along with governments, donors, international development and finance organizations to design and coordinate an international road map and foster collaborative relationships for inclusive economic and social development via tourism. Organized by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the Ministry of Tourism of Jamaica and the World Bank Group, in collaboration with Chemonics International, a leading international development firm, this conference helped identify successful models and initiatives of public-private partnerships (PPPs) that will contribute to sustainable tourism development globally. To achieve tangible results, the conference yielded practical plans to guide future development initiatives building on the United Nations 2017 International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, including specific development proposals and opportunities related to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (MDG) 17 which calls for revitalizing the global partnership for sustainable development.  
6th International Conference on Tourism Statistics: Measuring Sustainable Tourism
On the occasion of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017, the Government of the Philippines and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) organized the 6th International Conference on Tourism Statistics held in Manila from 21 to 24 June 2017 with the objective of addressing the issue of the Measurement of Sustainable Tourism. Sustainable tourism is increasingly relevant in national agendas 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 several resolutions acknowledging the role of tourism in sustainable development, including the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This calls for evidence to support policy and track progress. A core component of the conference was the presentation of the first draft of a new statistical framework for tourism —one that integrates the various dimensions of sustainable tourism (economic, environmental and social) and across relevant spatial levels (global, national and subnational). UNWTO recognizes that, apart from being a technical exercise, the development and implementation of a statistical framework for sustainable tourism is very much a strategic endeavor that will require stakeholder engagement, inter-institutional coordination and political leadership. Participants had the chance to discuss methodological advances, explore emerging issues and learned from pioneering country experiences in this area of measurement. The Manila Conference gathered for the first time Ministers, Statistical Chiefs, Policy experts and statisticians dedicated to sustainable development, environment and tourism.
2nd UNWTO/UNESCO World Conference on Tourism and Culture
This Conference is a sequel to the First UNWTO/UNESCO World Conference on Tourism and Culture, held in Siem Reap, Cambodia in February 2015  and will provide the platform to reflect upon the Siem Reap Declaration that pledged to explore the synergies of the tourism and culture sectors to work in harmony for sustainable development. The United Nations has declared 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, thereby offering a unique opportunity to explore and highlight tourism’s potential to help transform the world into a place of prosperity and wellbeing for all. In this context, the second UNWTO/UNESCO World Conference on Tourism and Culture features prominently as one of the official events on the calendar of activities of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. Gathering tourism and culture stakeholders from all world regions in Muscat, Oman, the Conference will address a wide range of topics, including governance models, tourism development and protection of cultural heritage, culture and tourism in urban development and creativity, and exploring cultural landscape in tourism as a vehicle for sustainable development in destinations worldwide.
Measuring Sustainable Tourism: Report of the 6th International Conference on Tourism Statistics
Over 1000 leaders and practitioners from 88 countries convened in Manila, Philippines, at the 6th International Conference on Tourism Statistics: Measuring Sustainable Tourism (21–23 June 2017). Ministers, Statistical Chiefs, policy experts, statisticians, private sector and academics dedicated to sustainable development and tourism united to lay the groundwork for an expanded statistical framework for Measuring Sustainable Tourism (MST) in its economic, social and environmental dimensions. Global leaders spoke strategically, and politically, on the need for statistics to credibly substantiate tourism in national and international agendas, and as a lever for sector viability. The outcome "Manila Call for Action on Measuring Sustainable Tourism" represents a global commitment to sustainable tourism and the need to measure it through a consistent statistical approach, recognizing that effective sustainable tourism policies require an integrated, coherent and robust information base.
Regional Conference on Investing in Tourism for an Inclusive Future: Challenges and Opportunities Petra, Jordan, 26–27 October 2016
This report synthesizes the rich insights of the first Regional Conference on Investing in Tourism for an Inclusive Future: Challenges and Opportunities (26–27 October 2016, Petra, Jordan). Jointly organized by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities of Jordan, the event advanced understandings of how investments in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean (SEMED) region can harness tourism’s potential to foster inclusive growth and sustainable development in the broadest sense – economically, socially, culturally and environmentally. The report highlights the Conference’s discussions on three priority areas, and the role of finance in achieving these priorities: access to training and employment opportunities; supporting local micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises; and resource and energy efficiency. By identifying challenges, lessons learned and key recommendations, the Conference culminated in the Petra Declaration – a call to action to build a more inclusive, sustainable tourism sector.
10YFP Sustainable Tourism Programme Annual Magazine 2016/2017 – Advancing towards a Clear North
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are guiding our common action towards a better world. The key role of sustainable tourism is explicitly mentioned in three of the 17 goals, yet the contribution of the tourism sector to the 2030 Agenda is much wider. This year of 2017, declared by the United Nations General Assembly as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, recognizes the potential for sustainable tourism to advance all 17 Goals, from gender equality to the fight against climate change or the end of poverty. With international tourist arrivals forecast to reach 1.8 billion in 2030, the greatest challenge for the tourism sector is to shape this growth so it contributes to environmental conservation, resource efficiency and cultural preservation while creating inclusive economic opportunities. In response to this challenge, the Sustainable Tourism Programme of the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production was created in 2014 to blend the expertise, technical capacity and reach of governments, NGOs, international organizations, business, academia and consumer organizations. The programme’s principal aim of accelerating the shift to sustainable consumption and production (SCP) patterns represents a new North for the tourism sector, enhancing its contribution to the SDGs on water, energy, climate change, oceans and land as well as its direct contribution to SDG 12 on sustainable consumption and production.
UNWTO/GTERC Annual Report on Asia Tourism Trends, 2017 Edition – Executive Summary
The UNWTO/GTERC Annual Report on Asia Tourism Trends, 2017 Edition, the fourth annual report in the series, highlights the rapidly growing tourism sector of Asia and the Pacific . This growth has been influenced by technological developments and the digital revolution. Regional collaboration with its many challenges and opportunities is also highlighted as one of factors shaping tourism development in Asia and the Pacific.
UNWTO.Themis Foundation course on Tourism Strategy
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the UNWTO.Themis Foundation and the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Artisanal Promotion of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea jointly organize a "Tourism Strategy" course in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, from 24 to September 28, 2018. The objective of this course is to provide participants with knowledge, tools, skills and opportunities to discuss and put into practice issues relevant to the tourism strategy. The working language of the course will be Spanish and French *By invitation only  
Postgraduate Diploma in Mountain Destination Management at the University of Andorra
The Postgraduate Diploma in Mountain Destination Management, offered by the University of Andorra, in collaboration with the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), its UNWTO.Themis Foundation and Pallarsactiu, has been created to ensure excellence for professionals aiming to occupy positions in organizations and tourism companies geared towards improving the competitiveness and sustainability of mountain tourism destinations. This Postgraduate Diploma has been designed to provide students with the necessary methodological tools to confront the challenges that mountain destinations face in the XXI century and, consequently, become professionals with the capacity to analyse those challenges in a global context with special emphasis on mainstreaming sustainability in the development of their professional activity. Format: Online with two onsite sessions (March and June) Participants: Graduates and professionals from public and private tourism sectors with expertise or a direct role in strategy, management policy, planning and promotion of mountain tourism destinations. Access requirements: A degree in tourism or professional experience in the tourism sector. Duration: October - June (1 academic year = 9 months) Credits: 30 ECTS credits Structure:
  • Introduction to the Sustainable Management of Mountain Tourism Destinations
  • Mountain Tourism Destination Planning
  • Mountain Tourism Destination Marketing
  • Two mandatory on-site sessions
  • Final project
Collaborating Universities: Colorado State University (USA) & Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts (Switzerland) Accreditations: Postgraduate Diploma in Mountain Destination Management by the Universitat d’Andorra Credits within Colorado State University (CSU) “Ski Area Management” Graduate Certificate Programme
UNWTO/GWU University Online Course on “Tourism as a Path to International Cooperation & Sustainable Development”
This intensive course trains university graduates, industry professionals and government official in subject areas related to international cooperation and development through tourism, with the threefold objective of: (a) providing participants with the latest knowledge and tools for leveraging tourism as a tool for sustainable development; (b) foster practical application of UNWTO’s principles and guidelines for sustainable tourism; and (c) present innovative approaches that contribute to the 2017 United Nations International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. REGISTRATION & REQUIREMENTS Candidates wishing to apply for the University Course on “Tourism as a Path to International Cooperation & Sustainable Development” should be university graduates, industry professionals or government officials from disciplines relevant to tourism and interested in planning international cooperation and sustainable development projects related to tourism. Candidates should have an excellent command of English, as the Course will be conducted in this language. Candidates interested in taking part can read all additional information about the ONLINE part of the course by downloading the Brochure and fill out the application form and upload the supporting documents as soon as possible. Documents must be addressed to: Omar Valdez Executive Director UNWTO.Themis Foundation SELECTION Please note that applying does not mean that the candidate is automatically accepted as a participant. All candidacies will be considered and evaluated, but only short-listed candidates will be contacted. A final selection of participants will be carried out and those selected will be informed via email. We would like to thank all applicants in advance for their interest and trust. COURSE FEES The Online Course fee is $1,225 USD. Candidates interested in taking part can read all additional information about the ONLINE part of the course by downloading the Brochure and fill out the application form and upload the supporting documents as soon as possible.
UNWTO/CTO Workshop on Sustainable Tourism Destination Management & Marketing in collaboration with GSTC
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the UNWTO.Themis Foundation in collaboration with Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), and the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) are jointly organizing a workshop in Saint Lucia on Sustainable Tourism Destination Management & Marketing, from 27 to 31 March 2017, for tourism officials and professionals from the host country as well as from the region. This workshop will examine the critical activities companies and destination communities must address to ensure they maximize the economic benefits of tourism throughout the value chain, while ensuring both the unique heritage and natural environment of the destination are preserved. The programme will also address the key trends in the marketplace to ensure participants meet the needs of ever more sophisticated consumers. The ultimate objective of this workshop is to contribute to the sustainability and competitiveness of the Caribbean tourism industry. Knowledge, skills, tools and experiences will be shared, enabling participants to apply triple-bottom-line management approaches to ensure that tourism experiences are both globally competitive and sustainable. Mr. Carlos Vogeler, Programme Director for Regional programme for America and Executive Director for Member Relations at the UNWTO stated that: “We need to keep working in making the world understand that tourism, when well-designed and well-managed, can contribute to the three dimensions of sustainable development: social, economic and environmental and consequently to the 17 Universal Sustainable Development Goals”.
English 2014 University Course Tourism and International Cooperation for Development
This intensive course trains university graduates and professionals in subject areas related to international cooperation and development through tourism. Participants are given an opportunity to achieve specialization in this area of work in order to take advantage of international development opportunities including the UNWTO.Volunteer Corps which supports UNWTO international technical assistance projects and those of other agencies of the UN System. The objectives are as follows: - To provide participants with basic knowledge and tools to take part in international cooperation projects or development programmes through tourism. - To disseminate UNWTO's principles and guidelines, especially tourism's role as an instrument of development and poverty alleviation; - To disseminate the ideals of service and solidarity rooted in the essence of volunteerism; - To foster opportunities for networking and community building between course participants, industry professionals and key tourism stakeholders COURSE STRUCTURE Part 1: On-line From August 18 to September 26, 2014 Estimated hours: 90-100 hours Part 2: On-site George Washington University (GW), Washington DC, USA From October 4 to 16, 2014 Hours of instruction and field studies: 100 hours The on-site component of the course follows a practical methodology based on specific knowledge on issues relevant to tourism and international cooperation for development, so that the participant acquires hands-on tools used in tourism related International Development projects. The on-site course includes the development of a concept design for a sustainable tourism project as well as a rapid-destination assessment fieldwork in the DC Metropolitan area. Case studies and best practices will be presented by GW professors, tourism experts from international cooperation or development agencies, and UNWTO/Themis officers. Also, a briefing will be provided on PM4SD-a new methodology and qualification developed in Europe for designing and managing successful tourism projects. A detailed agenda and outline of the course content will be provided before the GW on-site component begins. Participant Profile University graduates, young professionals and early retirees from disciplines relevant to development cooperation, over 21 years of age, demonstrating interest in participating in projects of international cooperation for development related to tourism. A basic introduction to tourism module will be provided for participants with no academic or experiential background in tourism. ADMISSION PROCEDURE The official on-line application form of the University Course on Tourism and International Cooperation for Development must be submitted and the required documentation must be sent in PDF or JPG format to, with subject: "CoopInt14GWU-Surname", before 31 July 2014. Documentation required: - Copy of your highest academic degree. - Professional resume. - Photograph. - English certificate for non-native speakers only (TOEFL and IELTS are preferred). - One letter of recommendation (Professional or Academic). - Letter of motivation stating why you want to participate in this course. - Copy of your passport (biographical page). *Visa formalities are the sole responsibility of the participant. COST OF THE COURSE The total cost of the course is US$2,900. This fee will cover costs for the on line and on site portions of the course, and the provision of course materials, lunch and refreshment breaks during the course. Costs of travel to and from Washington, DC, additional meals and accommodations are not included. GW will provide information to assist participants in finding appropriate accommodations as needed. Payment Deadline: Tuition fees, for all admitted participants, must be paid before 31 July 2014 directly to the Themis Foundation located in the Principality of Andorra. The admission of the participant will be formalized with the payment.
UNWTO Course in Paraguay on “Tourist Routes for Community Development”
A group of forty qualified tourism officials, professionals and university professors of tourism of UNWTO Member States from both the host country and representatives of Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Panama, Peru and Puerto Rico, will meet in Asunción on the occasion of this course that aims to provide participants with the knowledge, tools and opportunities to reflect, discuss and implement the relevant issues addressed in the development of tourist routes with integration of communities; the creation and design of a tourist route, its development and implementation, its management and monitoring and its promotion and commercialization. This course, like all the initiatives of the UNWTO.Capacity program, has a theoretical-practical approach and is structured in modules and by processes and the contents are based on concrete facts and are presented through presentations, the analysis of real cases, debates, works in group and practical activities, in order to share with the assistants as much theoretical knowledge as tools and capacities that allow them to make a practical application in their own destinies. This methodology contributes to the achievement of a highly interactive learning experience and, therefore, indisputably more enriching and productive. As a finishing touch, SENATUR kindly invites the attendees of the course to participate in the inauguration of the 14th edition of the International Tourism Fair of Paraguay (FITPAR), on 13 October, a space where products, services and tourist destinations of the region are presented to the professional market and the general public. "Every time we travel, we use a whole chain of services provided by different actors, whether transportation, gastronomy or the purchase of products in a local market. This is what we know as a multiplier effect of tourism in the economy, a whole made up of various suppliers that constitute a long chain of value to create employment, empower local communities and contribute to improving the living conditions of local people, opening up new opportunities for a better future, "said Carlos Vogeler, Executive Director of UNWTO. He adds that "tourism can only thrive if it integrates the local population by encouraging social values ​​such as participation, education and improvement of local governance. At the same time, there can be no true development of tourism if that development works in any way to the detriment of the values ​​and culture of the receiving communities or if the socio-economic benefits it generates do not come directly to the communities. "
AnĂĄhuac-UNWTO Master Degree on Tourism Destination Management
OMT-Anahuac Master's Degree in "Management of Tourist Destinations" The AnĂĄhuac MĂŠxico Norte University (Mexico), in collaboration with the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), offers the OMT-Anahuac Master's Degree in "Management of Tourist Destinations" with the purpose of training professionals in the sector to train professionals with high technical specialization. , with a broad and comprehensive vision of the most important issues of tourism development in general and of destination management in particular, with emphasis on strategic thinking, competitiveness and innovation on the one hand, as well as on ethics and responsibility social on the other. Important information - Course conducted in Spanish - Online, with only one face-to-face week per year - Participant profile: professionals from the public and private tourism sector - Participants must have an official certificate of undergraduate studies completed in ourism or other related disciplines that have work experience in any of the fields of tourism development. - Duration of the course: a year and half and starts every year in July Structure - 15 online subjects (one subject is taught per month) - 1 semi-face-to-face subject - 4 face-to-face courses (the first week of the first and fifth trimesters are taught and are taught by international professors of the UNWTO) Authors and teachers Outstanding international experts, representatives of the public, private and academic sectors, which guarantees a broad, multisectorial approach applicable to all tourist destinations in the world. Information at:
World Conference on Tourism and Future Energy – Unlocking Low-carbon Growth Opportunities
For tourism to be based on low-carbon growth, the accommodation, air and land transport clusters need to be fully engaged. Innovation in energy use and sources such as renewable primary energy, transport to and within destinations, and a change in consumer behaviour are all part of the solution. This will require substantial investment that takes into account the imperatives of sustainability without hampering competitiveness. As part of the Astana EXPO 2017, UNWTO and Kazakhstan held the World Conference on Tourism and Future Energy to discuss new opportunities and innovative solutions that could help the global tourism sector to contribute to low-carbon growth. This report details the key takeaways from each discussion. The conference concluded that there is great urgency but also great opportunities for tourism to become a leading sector by reducing its CO2 emissions and become part of the decarbonized economy of the mid-21st century.
3rd International Congress on Ethics and Tourism – Enhancing the Sector’s Sustainability through Shared Responsibilities
The 3rd International Congress on Ethics and Tourism, held in Krakow, Poland in April 2017 under the theme ‘Enhancing the Sector’s Sustainability through Shared Responsibilities’, tackled issues of governance and corporate social responsibility (CSR), responsible consumption patterns and universal accessibility, as well as effective management models for natural and cultural resources. This report details the key takeaways from each discussion and the conclusions of the congress. Amongst these, it was recommended that governments should create an enabling environment for multi-stakeholder cooperation towards ethical tourism, aimed at advancing resource efficiency and shared value and accountability.
1st UNWTO Tourism Startup Competition
World Tourism Organization and Globalia announce the first and largest worldwide competition for tourism startups
  • This pioneering initiative for the tourism sector reaches out to 164 countries to find startups aiming to transform tourism.
  • Whether tech-based or non-technological, early-stage or more mature, any startup with innovative ideas capable of revolutionizing the way we travel and enjoy tourism is welcome to participate.
The tourism sector took a giant step into the future. The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), in partnership with Globalia, the leading tourism group in Spain and Latin America, announced the launch of the 1st UNWTO Tourism Startup Competition. It is the world’s first and largest initiative devoted to identifying new companies that will lead the transformation of the tourism sector. In order to find the best projects, the call for competitors will be launched in 164 countries.
The objective of the programme is to select the best solutions and the most disruptive projects. The search will focus on finding pioneering proposals for implementation of emerging and disruptive technologies, as well as on startups based on new business models, such as the circular economy. In this regard, one of the pillars of this competition is to give visibility to projects that are committed to enhancing sustainability in tourism. The startup search process is as ambitious as it is complex: identifying the best projects in all corners of the planet. For this, UNWTO and Globalia have enlisted the innovation consultancy firm Barrabé, which boasts more than 20 years’ experience in the creation, connection and activation of entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystems. To broaden the scope of the competition and to facilitate the registration of interested startups, the programme will be implemented through the digital platform YouNoodle, a leading Silicon Valley company in the startup evaluation space at the global level. “Innovation and tourism investment are not ends in themselves; they are means to develop better tourism products, to improve the governance of tourism and to make the most of the proven sustainability of tourism, by creating jobs and generating opportunities," said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili. For his part, Globalia CEO Javier Hidalgo confirmed his company’s support for this new initiative emphasizing that “as a global tourism group, we want to offer the winners the opportunity to work with us and transform the sector together”. Who can participate? To participate in this global competition, startups must present business models that are related to at least one of four main areas:
  • The future of travel
  • The tourism experience
  • Environmental impact
  • Community development
Those interested in participating can find more information and submit their applications through the programme's website at Applications are open from 26 June to 3 September 2018. The projects will be evaluated according to five criteria: uniqueness and viability of the solution, potential impact, business model, scalability and team profile. A jury will evaluate the entries and select the best projects as semi-finalists to be announced in September 2018. The winners of this competition will have the opportunity to be part of the leading companies in the tourism sector. About UNWTO                                                                                                            The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), a United Nations specialized agency, is the leading international organization with the decisive and central role in promoting the development of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism. It serves as a global forum for tourism policy issues and a practical source of tourism know-how. About Globalia Globalia is the number one tourism group in Ibero-America, with a turnover of over 3.57 billion euros in 2016. With a presence in more than 20 countries and 15,000 employees, Globalia Holding provides services to all sectors of the world of tourism. It comprises a number of independent companies that are leaders in their markets, including Air Europa (airline), Halcón Viajes (travel agencies), Travelplan (tour operator), Be Live (hotel chain) and Groundforce (airport handling).
First Professional Experience Project
The original initiative has grown in approach, focus and scope, setting a challenge to improve the employability of 35 young people at risk of social exclusion. JP Morgan also joined the project as a sponsor and the Accenture foundation provided technological support and language skills. We believe that the initiative deserves recognition. Thanks to the efforts of all of our partners, we are promoting an innovative social-work model that helps youngsters get their first job opportunity in a professional environment, providing them with experience, personal development, maturity and the skills to help them in their search for employment. The project is part of the MeliĂĄ Hotels International CSR strategy and is a social initiative for the development of employability whose main mission is to improve the conditions of young people at risk of exclusion, by increasing the quality and stability of employment, promoting equal opportunities and enhancing self-awareness and self-improvement in a real-life environment. MeliĂĄ is listening to the new generations that require a more responsible attitude from leading companies.
World´s First 100% Electric Tour Bus
When the company Switchbus GmbH was set up in 2013, there were no electric busses with a long-range available for tourism, that were suitable for mountain excursions. As a result, the company invested significant private effort and financial resources to convert a regular small 16-seater IVECO Daily bus to be 100% electric. The project was successful and since the summer of 2014, “Switzerland Explorer Tours” offer a variety of day and multi-day tours based on sustainable tourism principles. The bus called “Switchbus” has a range of 200-300 km depending where it travels. It is also supplied with renewable energy by the local Lucerne utility company “Energie Wasser Luzern”, making all tours zero-emissions (and so no emission compensation required). The successful innovation of Switzerland Explorer Tours is related to two public-private stakeholder collaborative initiatives, both initiated and coordinated by the company. These included the: a) Development of a 100% electric tour bus, and b) Design of sustainable tour experiences.
Bali Beach Clean-up
The ocean sustains us with the basic elements of life -it produces half of the oxygen in the air we breathe, and it is an essential part of the water cycle, helping to provide the water we drink. However, we face difficult challenges when it comes to preserving clean oceans, but one problem is simple to understand: rubbish. Rubbish is one of the most widespread pollution problems facing our oceans and waterways. We all know waste in the water compromises the health and livelihoods of humans and wildlife, and threaten the tourism industry that depends on it. Unfortunately, even in world famous beaches, such as those in Bali, we have all noticed the “tsunami of trash” on the beachfront these past few years during the wet season. During this time, which usually occurs between October and April, tons of rubbish will pile high after having been washed out by the monsoon rain and brought back by onshore winds, leaving the island in a horrendous condition. That’s why since 2012, Garuda Indonesia joined forces with Coca Cola, Amatil Indonesia (CCAI) and Quiksilver Indonesia (QS) through Bali Beach CleanUp program – a bold action founded by CCAI and QSin2008 – that aims to minimize the impact of waste on the beautiful beaches of Bali, strengthen the tourism industry which will help improve the welfare of the local people, and support Bali’s government’s program.
Treetop Walking Path
The Treetop Walking Path was opened in Anykščiai Regional Park in this summer. It became a sensation. This Path is the first among Baltic and Eastern Europe lands. The annual number of visitors in small Lithuania’s town Anykščiai, which belongs to Anykščiai Regional Park, is about 9,000. After the Path’s opening (in less than 3 months) around 150,000 visitors visited the Treetop Walking Path! Abundant number of visitors from various countries proves that it has been a successful project and a great move in strategy of Anykščiai educational tourism development. The success is due to: - An innovation in Baltic States and Eastern Europe. - An extremely carefully and thoughtfully chosen place. The Path is located in relatively small but extraordinaire forest. It is widely known because of the poem “The Forest of Anykščiai” written by famous Lithuanian writer Antanas Baranauskas. The poem reveals (some quotes are in The Path’s information stands) particularly close relationship between man and nature. Moreover, this place is an intersection of hiking, cycling, water and motor tourism routes. In addition, Anykščiai forest with a lot of natural and cultural heritages is preserved in the Anykščiai forest’s landscape reserve. - The possibility to combine different types of tourism and recreation: active, educational, health and cultural tourism. The visitors can order the educational program and learn interesting facts about the forest’s biodiversity. - An original architectural solution: the folk band’s motifs from Lithuanian ethno-cultural region called the Highland. - Special attention for people with disabilities. The Path is the only place in Lithuania where people with disabilities can be taken this high.
Responsible Tourism and Crime Free in MedellĂ­n
The Office of the Under Secretary of Tourism of the Mayor's Office of MedellĂ­n has been working tirelessly since 2012 to fight against the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) associated with travel and tourism by promoting and implementing actions among entrepreneurs in the tourism sector and among the city's public and private agencies in order to work together towards responsible tourism. As a result of the executed activities, an average of 12,000 people have been reached by the CSEC program, and 41 public and private agencies have signed agreements to continue working to prevent sexual offenses. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) works with governments and the civil population to prevent drugs and crime from threatening the citizens' safety, peace and development opportunities. Its work mandate in Colombia is directly related to promoting the update of the best international practices through contributions related to the generation of knowledge about the nature, scope and trends of the drug and crime problem, the support of the implementation of international conventions on the matter, the orientation and accompaniment for the development and implementation of national policies and strategies to fight drugs and crime, and the development of national abilities to address and prevent the production, traffic and abuse of drugs and other manifestations of organized crime. As a concrete result of the identification of sexual exploitation activities in the city, and with the previous knowledge of the administration, the UNODC signed an agreement with the Office of the Under Secretary of Tourism of the Mayor's Office of MedellĂ­n, whose aim is to train local authorities and tourism services providers of the City of MedellĂ­n to identify the risk of behaviors related to human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of children and adolescents associated with travel and tourism.
Green Certifications Programme
The initiative hereby presented by the Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC) is the Green Certifications Program. The PRTC encourages the development of new modalities such as ecotourism, agrotourism, cultural, religious, and medical and wellness, among other niche markets. For this development to be ongoing, it should be framed under the elements of sustainability. In accordance with Puerto Rico Law 254 of November 2006, known as the “Public Policy Act for the Sustainable Development of Tourism in Puerto Rico”, the Sustainable Tourism Division was created. The Division focuses on the planning and implementation of several projects and programs, such as the Green Certifications Program, which comprises the Sustainable Tourism Facilities Program, the Ecotourism Program, the Agrotourism Program, and the Community Based Sustainable Tourism Program. The PRTC would like to highlight that Puerto Rico is one of the few islands in the Caribbean, with its own certification programs. These voluntary, government operated programs represent no cost for hotels, haciendas, farms, and tour operators endorsed by the PRTC. The auditing process is undertaken annually with a recertification process every two years. Our criteria certification includes, but is not limited to, energy efficiency, water saving, appropriate disposal of waste products, indoor air quality, landscaping practices, recycling program, establishment of an environmental policy, including service providers, as well as a green team, involvement and benefit of the local community, education and outreach, a green fleet of vehicles, reduction of toxic and hazardous substances in the whole property.
East Africa Tourism Platform 
The East Africa Tourism Platform (EATP) is the private sector body for tourism in East Africa, working towards promoting the interest and participation of the private sector in the East African Community (EAC) integration process. EATP is the first regional tourism apex body put into place, able to lobby at the EAC level and at the level of national governments. The vision of creating and promote a vibrant and diverse single tourism destination is the driving force. EATP promotes intra and inter-regional tourism though advocacy, marketing, skills development, research and information sharing. The main strategic objectives of EATP are to: - Intermediate and reduce obstacles to intra and inter-regional tourism - Promote an intra and inter-regional tourism marketing approach - Facilitate continuous skills development in the tourism sector - Promote harmonized standards and codes of conduct of tourism facilities and services - Facilitate access to finance and risk management services - Share information and provide networking opportunities Providing positive and results oriented policy advocacy is the core objective of the platform. EATP enhances East African’s tourism competitiveness through effective dialogue for policy reforms and regulations, improved tourism services export capabilities and strengthening tourism private sector’s capacity and sustainability. Since its launch EATP can be credited for advocating for the single tourist visa, use of national IDs as travel documents for citizens between Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda, free movement of tourism services, partial liberalization of EAC air space and joint marketing initiatives which is mainly under the East Africa Northern Corridor. These initiatives have already started having positive effects on regional travel. Other initiatives such joint marketing initiatives, technical support for national associations or harmonization of standards and codes of conduct of tourism facilities and services are ongoing and will enhance the regional destination competitiveness.
Re-inventing the Government in Tourism
Before 2012, the regency’s name, Banyuwangi, was barely heard especially among foreign visitors. Despite its strategic position, next to the mecca of Indonesian tourism of Bali Island, and its wonderful natural assets from white sandy beaches to volcanoes, culinary products to cultural performance and sacred rituals, Banyuwangi remained a sleepy neglected small town. Within three years, the regency on the eastern tip of Java Island has won about 70 awards, with six of them on tourism sector, thanks to the radical transformation of the local government. Defying the usual negative perceived stereotypes of the local government officials, the local government has made a strategic move of reinventing the government. The decision includes, among others, blending its traditional functions to serve in areas of education, health, and social and to take care of the infrastructures, with a more goal oriented and powerful-branding-machine team and speeding up the decision making process and mutual inter-dependency among government officials. Armed with a simple communication technology such as Whatsapp and Blackberry Messenger, the usual three to four days of exchanging papers for administration has been cut into minutes of useful decision making process. This paper provides four key strategies made by the local government of Banyuwangi, the extent to which re-inventing the local government with ICT in a developing country can provide opportunities in establishing its tourism industry.
The pioneering policies of ILUNION Hotels in the area of universal accessibility carry an enormous potential to change attitudes, break down social barriers and make the accommodation sector more inclusive. ILUNION Hotels has developed a specific business model of universal accessibility that comprises not only customers with disabilities and specific access requirements, but also its employees and suppliers. All the hotels of the group have obtained the Universal Accessibility Certificate from Bureau Veritas (UNE 170001-2), which guarantees that the hotels provide environments, rooms, and technical aids which ensure universal accessibility for all. ILUNION’s workforce of 568 people includes 18,31% of employees with some form of disability, but if we consider both direct and indirect employees, the percentage reaches 40%. Furthermore, specific training plans in accessibility awareness guarantee a standard of excellence in the interaction between employees and customers. As the constant improvement in the area of accessibility is key part of the company’s mission, specific plans are established every year to upgrade and improve the accessibility of the group’s infrastructure and services. For these reasons, ILUNION Hotels’ innovative approach to accessibility represents a virtuous, innovative and replicable best practice of corporate social responsibility. For more information, please visit the website.
Encyclopedia of tourism, Ulysses Foundation, Spain
The Encyclopedia of Tourism is a directory which gathers comprehensive and up-to-date tourism knowledge, offering access to over 700 publications. It is available in hardcopy, eBook and online. The project also fosters a knowledge community where experts are invited to share their expertise and the community, together with editors, can revise publications.
Tourism 4.0, Turismo de Portugal IP, Portugal
Tourism 4.0 is an initiative developed by Turismo de Portugal that aims at promoting entrepreneurship, support travel and tourism startups as well as foster innovation in tourism in the country. Under this initiative, Turismo de Portugal acts as an advisory body and coordinator by promoting the establishment of alliances and partnerships between the different agents, facilitating the access to funding and offering training and strategic advices to SMEs´. As a result, several initiatives have been launched since the creation of the programme, contributing to the fostering of an active entrepreneurial environment in Portugal.
Carmacal carbon calculator for travel packages, Dutch Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators (ANVR), The Netherlands
Carmacal is an innovative tool developed to measure the carbon footprint of tourism activities through the analysis of the involved modes of transport, accommodations and other activities. This user friendly and web-based carbon calculator provides a useful solution for all tour operator, travel agency or destination interested in reducing their carbon emissions and benefiting from both the economic and environmental benefits linked to it.
A Sustainable Tourism Supply Chain - FundaciĂłnTropicalia, Dominican Republic
The project “Inclusion of Micro-and Small Enterprises in the Sustainable Tourism Supply Chain” was developed in 2013, providing a solution to the non-existent tourism structure faced by the town of Miches, Dominican Republic.  The new business model enhances regional market access to local farmers and microenterprises by including them in the sustainable tourism value chain designed to supply Tropicalia, a sustainable luxury development of Cisneros Real Estate. FundaciónTropicalia further develops the supply chain by promoting trade among farmers, assisting them in the access to funding and offering technical assistance and training. The programme is supported by the Inter-American Development Bank’s Multilateral Investment Fund (IDB/MIF).
Culture heritage: Tools for sustainability of a World Heritage Site, Petra National Trust, Jordan
Petra National Trust’s Education Outreach and Awareness (EOA) program is a unique and innovative educational program launched to promote the preservation and sustainability of Petra Archaeological Park (PAP).PNT works with local communities to raise awareness among children and youth about the cultural and natural values of Petra by underscoring the links between good practices in cultural heritage management, sustainable tourism development, and long-term economic gains.
Govardhan Eco Village - Eco Tourism as a Catalyst for Rural Development, Govardhan Eco Village, India
Govardhan Eco Village (GEV) is a community located in Maharashtra, India, that has developed an innovative tourism model combining both tourism and the promotion of sustainable development. The community offers the travelers the possibility of receiving training in various areas including rural development, environment conservation and organic agriculture. Furthermore, through the training institutes developed by GEV, best practices learnt from their experience in organic agriculture are shared with surrounding local community.  
Ecobnb: The community of sustainable tourism, Ecobnb, Italy
Ecobnb is an innovative start-up offering a network of eco-sustainable accommodations, recognized today as an important Italian Community of Sustainable Tourism and a growing community in Europe. Through the establishment of sustainability requirements for all selected accommodations, Ecobnb has managed to offer an alternative tourism experience to travelers, while bringing together a community of responsible tourists that contributes to the preservation of the environment and the promotion of sustainable tourism.
Adding Color to lives, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Belgium
“Adding Color to Lives” is a global social action art project launched in 2015 by the midscale hotel brand, Park Inn by Radisson. This innovative project brings together youth in difficult life situations allowing them to express themselves through art and have a lasting impact on their communities while embracing their cultural heritage.
Innovative use of e-tourism - Egypt´s strategy 2020, Advisory Council of the Tourism Ministry, Egypt
Egypt´s E-Tourism strategy was launched to help rebuild the country´s image and recover from the significant decline in tourism since 2011. The new promotional strategy was built around the development of a digital campaign and the implementation of e-marketing tools in the tourism sector. The success of this innovative and fully inclusive strategy lies in the use of a 360 degree feedback mechanism between travelers and tourism agents and the development of capacity building programmes to all tourism stakeholders in virtual marketing.
Invat.Tur, Valencia Region Tourism Board, Spain
Invat.Tur is the branch of Valencia Region Tourism Board specialized in the generation and transfer of tourism knowledge through the development of R+D+i projects and adaptation to new trends in tourism. Bringing together all tourism stakeholders, it serves as an efficient platform that contributes to improving the competitiveness of the region while also enhancing collaboration and advancing knowledge in tourism.
Social progress index in tourism destinations in Costa Rica
The Social Progress Index (SPI) is a tool developed to measure the well-being of individuals living in tourism destinations. Incorporating the use of a new methodology and multidimensional indicators, this instrument successfully assesses the sustainability of tourism destinations, paving the way for benchmarking between territories. Most importantly, it serves as a guide for the development of new tourism policies and the launch of public-private collaborations that have a positive impact on local communities and foster the role of tourism as a catalyst for sustainable development.
Strategies for development of sustainable tourism in Guanajuato, Guanajuato Ministry of Tourism, Mexico
Recognizing the important potential of tourism as a catalyst for development, the Government of the State of Guanajuato in Mexico took a step ahead in setting tourism as a priority in the agenda through the implementation of the 2013-2018 Guanajuato State Tourism Plan (GSTP). The complex structure of the State Tourism Program is structured around five sectorial objectives and more than 90 actions and 8 goals distributed in all 7 regions of the State of Guanajuato, all aligned to reinforce the competitive advantage of the region and position the destination as one of the top Mexican tourism destinations.
Eurpoamundo Vacaciones
Europa Mundo Vacaciones, a Spanish Tour Operator, has created in 2011 a Foundation which has achieved remarkable results in the implementation of the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism in its worldwide activities, particularly in its contribution in the area of community wellbeing and sustainable development of tourism. In six years of activity, the Foundation has invested a total of EUR 1.5 million to support 104 projects in 27 countries in the areas of education, health, creation of companies and infrastructures, directly benefitting 186.849 individuals. Recent examples of community development projects include those creating and consolidating self-sustaining health systems in the most populated and unprotected areas in countries, such as in remote provinces of Bolivia, Colombia, Morocco and Nepal, and consisted in the provision of basic health education and training to the local communities by qualified medical volunteers. Other outstanding projects supported by the Foundation were focused on the promotion of a sustainable development of tourism in disadvantaged areas, as the one carried out in Nicaragua, where the creation of jobs for the local communities was facilitated by a local foundation through the development of a sustainable tourist route in rural areas. A similar project in Lebanon was specifically addressed to the socio-economic inclusion of local and refugee women in isolated provinces. The Foundation also strongly collaborates with the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) department of its company Europa Mundo Vacaciones in organizing social and environmental awareness campaigns and volunteering programs involving its employees, providers and clients. For more information, please visit the Europa Mundo Foundation Website.
eVisitor - Croatian national tourist information system, Croatian National Tourism Board, Croatia
eVisitor is a unique online information system that provides insight into tourist traffic and accommodation capacities (commercial and non-commercial) in Croatia. It generates statistical reports and marketing indicators in real time (i.e length of stay, location, gender, age, country of residence, type of facility, destination, etc), which enables more efficient monitoring of tourist traffic and revenues, allowing better control over the collection of accommodation fees creating a synergistic effect of all Croatian tourism stakeholders and contributes to ensuring their competitiveness.
EarthCheck Building Planning and Design Standard (BPDS), EarthCheck, Australia
BPDS set out a holistic sustainability framework that enables undertaking an integrated assessment of the expected environmental, social, cultural and economic performance of a project. Projects that adopt the BPDS can quantifiably demonstrated significant operational cost reductions, regenerative environmental outcomes and positive social and cultural values. The benchmarking and certification software at the core of this initiative is leading the way in the sustainability movement within the tourism sector.
Smart Tourism System (STS), SEGITTUR, Spain
Smart Tourism System (STS) is a crucial element in the Smart Destinations project as it allows different data sources to be analyzed, selected according to the destination’s needs, and for information to be gathered, processed, and analyzed, transforming it into knowledge. The STS offers the necessary information for the decision-making process of companies and administrators at the destination.
IT.A.CÀ – Migrants and Travelers, Festival of Responsible Tourism
IT.A.CÀ is the first festival in Italy dedicated to responsible tourism involving about 250 organizations working in the fields of responsible tourism. The festival is composed of more than 300 free events such as guided tours and itineraries, workshops, meetings and seminars, 0 km lunches, expositions, and concerts.
Educating and empowering local communities for sustainable tourism futures, The Sumba Hospitality Foundation, Indonesia
The Sumba Hospitality Foundation is initiating a sustainable tourism development plan for Sumba through the concept of full boarding permaculture school and green hotel for underprivileged Sumbanese youth providing vocational education, focusing on practical and soft skills, nurturing environmental awareness and cultural identity and empowering local communities to promote responsible tourism.  
Strengthening Community Tourism in the Sierra Gorda, Grupo Ecologico Sierra Gorda, Mexico
Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda (GESG) was founded in 1987 by Martha Ruiz Corzo and her family with local citizens to save the forests they call home.  97% of approximately one million acres in the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve is the private property of 100,000 inhabitants living in 638 rural poverty communities. GESG´s on-going programs include environmental education, skills for a conservation oriented economy, forest and soil regeneration, payment for environmental services, and community owned and operated tourism. Widespread civil participation and inter-institutional partnerships are key to the success of 75 micro and mini enterprises participating throughout the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve, owned and operated by mostly rural women.  The unique brand of genuine rural tourism experiences are reflected in the social integration and on-going nature conservation activities. The official operator is Sierra Gorda Ecotours since 2004.
Connecting community, local friends, and visitors to a unique experience and happiness,, Indonesia
03-07-2018 is a booking application that offers unique tours of the local communities in the Solo and Central Java area. These offers are not only unique but also contribute to job creation, preserve the community’s heritage, environmental landscape, and the sense of well-being that is felt by locals. The tours are designed and conducted by the locals who are now become active players through this scheme as they receive 93% of revenues that derived from this initiative.
Great Plains Conservation: Conserving and Expanding Natural Habitats, Great Plains Conservation and the Great Plains Conservation Foundation, Botswana and Kenya
Great Plains Conservation owns and operates nine luxurious, sustainable safari camps and products across Botswana, Kenya and soon Zimbabwe, conserving nearly one million acres of land outside of national parks and employing almost 600 people. All profits are invested back into supporting the conservation of the wildlife through the implementation of direct conservation actions and the engagement of local community.
Three-Pillar Innovation Initiative, Balesin Island Club, Philippines
Launched in 2012, the Balesin Island Club was designed to function in perfect harmony with nature, as demonstrated by its strategy which was intentionally developed around the three pillars:  the use of technologies to achieve sustainable practices, a sustainable consumption of resources and the local community empowerment. The integrated eco-friendly planning, along with the various campaigns and actions led by the hotel represent a successful example of an entity committed to promoting sustainable tourism.
Community and Resilience: two villages tackle depopulation, Valle dei Cavalieri, Italy
Cavalieri community-based cooperative was created to counter the depopulation of the village of Succiso in Italy, whose population passed from over 1,000 inhabitants in the 1950s to 64 inhabitants some years ago. Thanks to the strong involvement of the community, innovative and authentic tourism attractions were developed resulting in the development of the tourism activity and the enhancement of the unique cultural identity of the village.
​​Conservation and Livelihoods: Community managed Ecotourism at Mangalajodi, Mangalajodi Ecotourism trust, India
Mangalajodi, a picturesque village located in northeast India at the borders of a vast wetland, is home to over 200 of birds´ species. Once associated with poaching of birds, the villagers stand today as true defenders of wildlife thanks to a coordinated effort in implementing a solid awareness campaign on the importance of preserving natural species and the benefits associated with wildlife tourism.
Longmen Grottoes “Internet + Longmen” action plan
The “Internet + Longmen” action plan was launched three years ago to further enhance the beauty of UNESCO World Heritage Grottoes of Longmen, one of the finest examples of Chinese Buddhist art. The sophisticated incorporation of technological elements such as intelligent application center contributed to the creation of a more pleasant experience for the visitor and raise awareness on the necessity to preserve the richness of the cultural site. The Longmen Grottoes site is the first “Internet + Smart scenic area” in China and is in line with the smart tourism development plan developed by the China National Tourism Administration.
MiBarrio - Mercado de Hacienda Applied Research Project, Ente de Turismo del Ministerio de ModernizaciĂłn, InnovaciĂłn y TecnologĂ­a del Ciudad AutĂłnoma de Buenos Aires, Argentina
The MiBarrio initiative represents an excellent example of urban planning strategy aimed at improving the livelihood of the communities through tourism development. The extensive screening of the different neighborhoods allowed the city of Buenos Aires to identify less touristic urban areas and develop, in collaboration with the local inhabitants, new tourism products to specifically tackle the economic and social issues faced by the inhabitants. The resulting tourism experiences contribute to give a voice to the communities enhancing their unique identity while fostering social inclusion, entrepreneurship as well as the economic development of the area.
A home for tourists
My name is Virginia ‘Virgie’ Deocareza Negrite, and this is my story… I am thirty-two years old, and a mother of two. I have always had my feet rooted in nature’s ground. I grew up in Brgy. San Roque, Bulusan, Sorsogon situated at the foot of the Bulusan Volcano Natural Park (BVNP). During my growing up years, my family used to occupy a piece of land within the park for slash-and burn-farming to augment their income and provide for daily sustenance. Poverty made life difficult. My dreams to fulfill my aspiration of becoming a public high school teacher became so out of reach. To attain my dreams, I migrated to Metro Manila where I applied, and was hired, as a factory worker for a year. Then I worked as a House Help or ‘Kasambahay’ in return for my schooling. I was enrolled and finished the 1st year of college for the course of Bachelor in Secondary Education (BSE) in the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Pasay (PLP), until I faced the crossroads of my life to choose between financial support for my family or fulfill my dreams of becoming a teacher. I sacrificed the latter. After years of struggle, my whole family bonded together and decided to contribute for the continuation of my education. That was the year 2000. Every ounce of contribution for my education was sourced out from hard labor, from selling tilapia fished from Bulusan Lake and farmed products harvested from their clan’s kaingin in BVNP and portions of salaries of my siblings serving also as household workers in Manila. As years passed and while I was grappling with poverty, AGAP Bulusan, Inc., a community-based multi-sectoral environmental NGO, started to operate ecotourism services of Bulusan Lake. The BVNP in Bulusan Area is endorsed by the LGU of Bulusan, the Province of Sorsogon and BVNP Protected Area Management Board (PAMB). Partnerships were done with AGAP Bulusan’s Mission to protect and conserve the biodiversity, as well as to develop ecotourism products and services. As a lake fisher, I was one of the beneficiaries trained as an Eco Guide in 2010 and during these initial stages started earning money from tourism-related services. In a spate of luck, in October of 2011, the Bulusan Area Biodiversity Conservation and Ecotourism Support Project was granted funds by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) under the Small Grants Program (SGP) of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). The project was done in partnership with six barangays bordering BVNP and Bulusan LGU and the Provincial Government of Sorsogon, together with National Government Agencies (NGAs) such as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Tourism (DOT), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and Department of Agriculture (DA), and the academe such as the University of the Philippines - Los Baños (UPLB). The project involved fifty-hectare reforestation of the denuded area of BVNP due to slash-and-burn farming and illegal cutting of trees; establishment of six community-based nurseries in six bounding barangays of BVNP; organization and mobilization of People’s Organizations (PO) in the said barangays and environmental education and as a form of advocacy known to the communities as ‘Dalaw Turo’. In addition, training to the beneficiaries was conducted for them to serve as Naturalist/Mountain Guiding and Wildlife Enforcement Officer (WEO). Likewise, technologies where introduced in Sustainable Agriculture on Organic Vegetable Farming, Beekeeping, Handicraft, Pili Pulp Oil Production and Aqua-culture. In return, beneficiaries serve as Volunteer Environmental Stewards as deputized WEO by DENR and Emergency Responders to Tourists in times of need and to their communities during calamities such as typhoons and volcanic ash explosions. Moreover, agricultural products will be developed using new technologies to form part of the fusion of Agriculture and Tourism, also known as Agri-Tourism. Life has come a full circle for me and Noel. From a shabby nipa hut that had a kitchen on bare ground, our family of four now lives in a semi-concrete structure with two rooms and a toilet and bath. Before we used to throw waste into the fields around the house. Now we take greater care, because now we have found home. Tourism indeed means jobs. Keeping a job means being able also to reach out to others. Tourism pays, and it pays to protect and conserve the environment.
From natural water flows opportunity
My name is Tihamér Horváth and this is my story… I was born near Lake Balaton, often called ´the Hungarian sea´, which is one of the main tourist attractions of Hungary. I lived, and I am still living, in Gyenesdiás where my forefathers had lived all their lives. Hopefully my descendants will also live here as I firmly believe that the spirit of our antecedents provide us especially strong roots and inspiration in unexpected crossroad situations in our life. Though my family never worked in the tourism business, the atmosphere surrounding us had great influence on our everyday life. Warm and devoted hospitality was something my mother and my family taught me. The love for pleasant, peaceful and emotional togetherness with kind people, as well as the mission for improving the life and the environment of our community was the most valuable heritage I received from my parents. Having finished my secondary school studies I became a pipe- fitter. Later on I learnt all kinds of crafts connected to it. I thought the construction business would be a lifelong career for me. I with my brother founded a company that soon became quite prosperous. One day we started refurbishment works in the public utilities of a very little village, called Kehidakustány. At that time, this tiny settlement was a poor, sleepy place whose inhabitants worked in the fields. This village had an old thermal  medical bath with special curing water inside: very hot sulphurous hydrogen carbonated water for  rheumatic and muscular disorders, gynaecological diseases and skin ailments. One morning I woke up and thought: there is this special natural resource that could cure thousands of people. By developing it into a ‘fun-and-spa resort’ it could be a new tourist destination in the region, providing hundreds of jobs for the local community in tourism. I was so excited to share my medical tourism idea with my brother but he was quite sceptical as tourism, and especially spas and wellness, were totally unknown to us. But we were professionals in the construction business, and we had all the resources necessary for reconstruction. In a few years’ time, partly supported by government development funds, we built our  dreamland  –  a  beautiful spa complex in the middle of  an  earlier  agricultural  area. The people living in the village were extremely excited about putting their settlement on the country’s tourism map, and started to study tourism. As supplementary service providers, some of them built accommodation; others opened restaurants or shops around it. The picture of the village changed completely. More and more inhabitants became our employees, while others established their own entrepreneurships and started to work in tourism too. One day, I looked around and felt astonishingly happy to see how beautiful this little village has become, to see how the complete economy of this community changed. Now I am 64 years old and retired, and still I work hard every day. However, I am consciously preparing for slowing down my life soon. Tourism also helped to make this in a happy, comforted mood, by finding new goals for myself. Every day, strength is given to me by this environment, and visitors also get a slice of it, because the goods produced here are served for them in the restaurant of the resort. My children also work in Kehida Termal. They are educated tourism experts who will continue the business. I am so proud to see that besides learning about tourism, their attitude to the community’s life, their sense of responsibility for local matters and economy, is just like the pattern inherited from my parents and ancestors. Now I know that the tourism I introduced to my family’s life is a perfect field for expressing our social responsibilities, and our loyalty towards the community we belong to.
The elephant's friend
My name is Sokhem Kuon and this is my story... When I was born, my parents named me Sokhem. In English, it means Hope. This name puzzled me, as at that time there was no hope. The Khmer Rouge had destroyed Cambodia. In 1980, when I was a small boy, we had no food, no land, no money, no schools, and no doctors. My father found work as a woodcutter around Chi Phat, a village hidden in the Cardamom Mountains. We cleared land for ourselves and lived off the forest; we planted corn, trapped animals and tapped resin to sell. That is when I learned about the forest. My father was very skilled, and taught me all he knew. The first time I saw elephants, the most dangerous of all the animals, I cried in fear. My father put his hat on my head, saying, “Wear this magic hat. It will make you invisible to elephants, if you stay still and quiet”. At ten years old, I learn all about the forest, and how to respect Neak Ta, the guardian spirit of the forest. My father was never afraid of the animals, but he was fearful of Neak Ta. “Do not anger Neak Ta. He is powerful, and will make you sick and die,” he told me. “What angers him?” “Taking what is his,” said my father. “What is his?” “Everything in the forest is his. If he favors us, he will show us wild fruit trees, and lead animals to our traps. We may take what we need to live, but no more, and whatever we take, we must share with him.” It was never easy to survive on what we could collect from the forest, but year by year, we managed. I grew to be skilled in forest life. With the end of war, roads came and our lives became harder. Loggers and traders moved in, buying our wood and animals to sell on. People took more than they needed to survive. The forest had survived the war, but could not survive the peace. We hated those people; we were just trying to survive. My father aged, and fell ill: Neak Ta was angry. He stayed home, while I went to the forest with friends. One day, while checking my traps, soldiers arrested me. They took me to see a foreigner who was sitting on the forest floor, crying. Nearby, a mouse deer lay dead in my trap. She asked me why I had killed the deer and I explained that we needed food. “Why don’t you work?” she asked. I explained that there was no work. I did not know it yet, but that day, my life changed. One month later, the village chief called us to a meeting. The soldiers were there, and the foreign lady. She was the most beautiful person I had ever seen, but I was more afraid of her than of Neak Ta. The lady, Suwanna, was the leader of Wildlife Alliance. Suwanna said she would give us jobs as part of an ecotourism community. No one believed it would work but it did. Suwanna helped us to set it up. We elected a management team, and I became the leader of the forest rangers. I still live and work in the forest, but now I remove traps and put out fires. Every year, more visitors come to Chi Phat to enjoy its beauty. Now, 250 villagers are guesthouse owners, guides, cooks, boat drivers, bicycle mechanics, waste collectors, or rangers like me. We all still earn a little income from farming and fishing, but when times are hard, or our children are sick, we have an income, and no longer need to go to the forest. I no longer fear Neak Ta. I am his ally to save the forest. I am still afraid of elephants. Deep in the forest, we hear them, and we see them. When they come close to our camp at nighttime, the ground trembles, and we shake with fear. I miss my father’s magic hat. Truly, I am the elephants’ friend, but I fear the elephants forget this. These days, my future is bright. My children are healthy, and go to school. I can look after my parents. Life is not easy, but I am hopeful. Maybe my parents chose my name wisely after all.
On the Palace doorstep
I am Rusaila Derat from the village of Nuwe’meh, and this is my story… I am from Jericho. I was born near the Hisham Palace. My family were farmers who planted the land around the Palace. I grew up with those beautiful ruins around me. We planted and herded the sheep. My father was a visionary, and he also held a small canteen at the entrance of the Palace where we learned to deal with tourists. This built in us the base on which we work today. When my children grew up and I had some time, I decided with a few women to start a project that was different from all those around us, and that could change our situation. Jericho is the land of tourism, the land of the 10,000 years, we are in Nuwe’meh, the place of Hisham Palace in Jericho, the land of archeology, tourism and mosaics. I had the idea to combine the beautiful mosaics I saw growing up around Hisham Palace and we started making small items in mosaic as well as silver and mosaic jewelry. As we did not have the chance to complete our education, we looked forward to have this project be a success. We got together, and each one of us put in some seed money so as to buy some equipment and get training. We started at home, under the tree, and slowly we realized that we need to plan and make sure that every tourist who comes to Palestine goes home with a handicraft from our work. We received lots of moral support from the Ministries and the organizations. When we started, we thought that this would be an immediate goldmine, but then we realized that the challenges were big. To reach what we wanted, we needed perseverance, patience and determination. The challenge was to distinguish ourselves from other products. We learnt how to do fine artifacts, and also learned how to sell our products to the tourists and local communities. Since we started, the project has given us so much power, in our families, in our society and in our education. Today people look up to our group  if women who are slowly building this organization. Four of our colleagues have just started university; they started feeling that the project challenges them and offers them the means to continue their university education. Being part of this project gave us so much self-confidence. My children and all our children also gained so much self confidence. We transformed our homes to such a better situation. Most of all, we are confident that our future is safe for our families.  
Turning a home into hope
I’m Regina Martinez, and this is my story… My husband, a sportsman, and I are living here in Ayolas. He works here and I’m retired. We both are seniors. After a delicate health problem that I went through, the doctors recommended me to do occupational therapy. In Ayolas we found a house that was for sale and although the house was in a state of neglect, we asked for a bank loan and bought it because it was near the river and my husband and I really like the river, nature and green spaces. It also has a church in the corner. This house is in the neighborhood San Jose-Mí in Ayolas City. I myself was in charge of many of the tasks of repairing the house. For example, I painted doors and walls. These occupations were part of my therapy. A Senatur official came home to introduce me to the program ‘Posadas Turísticas’ (Tourist Lodges). I loved it, and I agreed to join this program because I like to receive and give attention to the people in my house. Senatur offered lectures and workshops to enable us to focus on guests. I was fortunate that most of my guests were families. Since I started getting people in my lodge I was very lucky because they come from various parts of the country. For me it is a very positive experience because it keeps me constantly busy working at home. By nature I like to put everything in order, I work to keep everything clean at all times and offering attention to my guests. Although it is my husband who does public relations for pleasure, and that’s why he has so many friends. I deeply recommend people to dare to enter this program ‘Posadas Turísticas’. Especially for women, and even more if they want to help their husbands to also bring an income of money into the economy of the family. For me, it gave me a job in my own house, comfortable without having to meet timetables or public transport mobilization that I cannot do anymore. I receive an interesting income through my lodge. And all the money I make I reinvest in improvements to the lodge. With most of my guests, I have an almost family relationship and we are in touch thanks to the technology of today. We send greetings and messages by cell phones. Since the very beginning of my Tourist Lodge, we have always given opportunity to work to all who we contracted for the construction, and so far I have hired someone to help me in cleaning. Senatur helped me a lot, providing me with blankets, curtains, tablecloth and other items handed over to me. For me Senatur is already like my family.
Historical trails on two wheels
My name is Paco, and this is my story… I am 34 years old now. Italy is my home – it is who I am, what I love, where my future lies. Here I have lived, loved, dreamed. When I talk with people and friends who know what I do, they say I made a dream come true. Well, maybe yes, maybe not. All I know is that I do what I like most: be with people from all over the world and cycle every day. I had the idea to build a company when I was 26. I found the right partner – Adriano, 33 years old, who already was a friend of mine. Together we brought the rickshaw businessto Apulia, South Italy. Our idea was simple: give visitors the opportunity to see the places we loved from the seat of a bicycle. Make it possible for them to feel all of the textures, hear all of the sounds, breathe in all of the scents and enjoy all of the energy of the places we love, by being in them. Why not? Something incredible happens when you get people to slow down, look, listen and feel. What better way to make this happen than on a bicycle. As mad as it seemed at the time, little by little we made people think that this is a real job. Today our company, veloservice, counts more than 25 guys working in Bari and Lecce who are proud to show the best we have in our land on board our bikes. Our offering is simple. As we say on our website, since 2008 we have been engaged in promoting a conscious and responsible lifestyle called bike concept. We address zero-emission sustainable mobility by organising activities and events that go beyond the use of a bicycle. We believe in small and good daily habits that lead to great changes.
Creating opportunity over a cup of coffee
Hi. My name is Na and my name is Yai and this is our story… We live in Ban Nong Luang, Muang Paksong, Champasak province. The main income of our family is from coffee planting and also I do pets feeding. My sister Yai works in a cooking group. She cooks food for guests. My main job is working in the coffee field. I think that my family will be better and I will get more money if I work for tourism, so now I am also working as guide. I know that this helps me very much, now I have two ways of income from coffee planting and tourism. In the past, the village’s only work was in the coffee field. It was the only way to have an income. But now there’s tourism as second income. Although it is not much, as we are still growing, this can help us to get a better life. We are so happy that there is tourism in our village. Almost everything is going well, but only one difficulty is communication. I don’t know English yet and tourists don’t know Lao. Since tourism came to Laos, people have gotten jobs, more income, and have better living. As for me working as guide, I can have more money for the family. This gives me a feeling of doing the best I can to take care of my family. I am not the only one that is happy to have tourism. Others in my community work as chefs, cooking food for guests who come to visit the coffee fields. We also have homestay, and unique Laos massage, ‘Nuad Phan Bou Han’, that guests are happy to experience. Some of the guests buy our coffee as souvenir. We see the importance of ecotourism, tourism for nature conservation, so all the villagers are taking care of our home. I am so proud of this. All the villagers here now have income from tourism. I think that in the future more tourists will come to visit. This makes me so happy.
Sowing the seeds of tourism opportunity
My name is Milutin Prascevic, but everyone knows me as Mico. This is a story about me… I am a retired biology teacher. I have four daughters. I have worked in the local school as biology teacher for many years. The school, this place, is my home. I love my home. Since I was a boy I have been passionate about climbing mountains, and I know every corner of the Prokletije mountains. They have recently become a protected zone of the national park Prokletije. While teaching my students about plants I realized that it would be easier to show them. My students loved the idea. As I spent every spare moment in the mountains, I decided to start bringing plants. I would carefully take the plants from their home in the mountains, making sure their roots were protected, and bring them to the school. That is how my 20 years long work of creating a botanical garden was initiated. Today, I have 350 plant species that are typical for Prokletije right here in my garden. Initially, this garden was just a place where my students got practical education, and the place where I tried to ‘infect’ them with love for plants, biology and nature in general.Then biology students, botanists and nature lovers from surrounding countries started to visit, for scientific purposes. When a national park was declared, couple of years ago, this garden became a favourite point on a cultural route of Plav, a place visited by tourists passing by. Because all of this was the product of my enthusiasm, and main goal was to get students and everyone else to respect Prokletije biodiversity, I never wanted to charge anyone for visits to the garden. But my family and I have realized that we could offer other services, especially when the number of visitors started to grow, and maintain free entry policy but still have additional income. We offer different services – I guide groups who want to see natural habitat of these plants, we have built a wooden cottage where we offer accommodation, we prepare meals for visitors, and since we have an orchard, we make jams, preserves and brandies, which are my specialty, as I add various aromatic herbs to them. We package these products and we sell them. As the number of visitors to our zone has just started to grow, we have not yet had significant income from these activities.But we know this will come. What we have created is too special for tourists to miss out on. We are still beginners. But I have no doubts we will be successful. Our garden has been declared as zone of particular importance for natural heritage of Polimlje area. By doing the work we do, we contribute to the tourism offering, we raise awareness on Prokletije biodiversity, we educate about relicts and endemic species, and we generate additional income for our family. And it all came to be as a combination of my education and my hobbies, at time when I was coming to the age that I thought no real work is ahead of me! I am sure that the work I do keeps me healthy. I keep my plants healthy, they keep me healthy, and as my daughters will continue in my footsteps, my plants will keep my children healthy.
Conservation protecting all lives

My name is Memory Ganuses, and this is my story….

I will try and see how I can write this. After I completed my grade 12 in November 2002, I did not have a clear idea of what I want to do next. As I could not go for further studies due to lack of funds, I opted for going to Swakopmund to look for a job, just to keep me going, for starters…

After a tough life of two years in Swakopmund, in and out of jobs, from being a domestic worker as a young lady just out of school, and then as a cashier at PEP, a local clothing store, and then as assistant Chef at de Kelder Restaurant, I felt I had enough of city life so I decided to go back home to the farm.

After a tough life of two years in Swakopmund, in and outof jobs, from being a domestic worker as a young lady just out of school, and then as a cashier at PEP, a local clothing store, and then as assistant Chef at de Kelder Restaurant, I felt I had enough of city life so I decided to go back home to the farm.

I returned to the farm for some time, eventually learning about the Khoadi-Hoas Conservancy and Grootberg lodge. Back then I was not so well informed about the conservancy and all its endeavours. I took my CV to the conservancy head office, hoping for a job at Grootberg Lodge. I was employed as a baby sitter for the Managers at the Lodge – it was the only job available by then, so I took it. Then later I got a job as a waitress the lodge, in 2009. That was the beginning of a bright future for me…

This is where it all started. I learned about the conservancy and how the lodge and the conservancy works together, which was quite amazing. I also learnt about how to live with the wild animals, such as elephants for example, learning things like what to do when you have an encounter with an elephant, and also a very important one is not to shoot an elephant when it comes and damages your water point, but to in fact report that to the conservancy, and they will compensate you in a way that in the end leaves both parties happy.

I slowly grew fond of the nature and what it has to offer. Then in 2013 I was very lucky to have received a bursary from the African safari lodge foundation to go and study for a certificate in small accommodation establishments in Graaff Reinet in South Africa.

My studying experience in South Africa was quite fun. I learnt many more interesting things about tourism at the college all thanks to the SACT for having showed me the right direction. We were trained how to deal with guests in a more professional way, and many more. Upon my return I was granted a job at Grootberg lodge as an Assistant Manager.

My life has changed tremendously. Some years ago when I was finished with school, I did not picture myself where I am standing today. I am no longer the young girl that had no ambition when she had finished school, but I am now a grown lady who is aiming towards success in tourism, all thanks to everyone who played a role in my transformation. It has also affected my family and my community in a very productive way as now I can tend to the needs of my family, and I am also like an ambassador for my community.

I play my part in the development of the Khoadi-Hoas Conservancy in a way, which makes me very proud. The conservancy is grown from strength to strength as with increased conservation awareness the wildlife numbers have grown, and the conservancy has a compensation scheme in place for human and wildlife conflict, this shows that the community is not left in the dark but is well taken care of.

Taking pride in our heritage
I am a Santo Domingo native from the department of Sonsonate in El Salvador, here I live with my family. I am the President of the Cooperative Association of Agricultural Artisanal Production for Tourists ‘Huitzapan´, which is the Nahuatl name of Santo Domingo; in Spanish it means ‘River of Thorns’. Tourism has changed the lives of the families of Santo Domingo since we joined with the Ministry of Tourism in 2011. That was when they were forming the Nahuatl-Pipil Route with five other municipalities of Sonsonate through the project Strengthening Entrepreneurial capabilities of Indigenous Communities of Sonsonate through Ecotourism. It was funded by the Organization of American States (OAS). Today there is much more tourism-related activity available to tourists, and we have linked to 170 handicraft workshops in red clay and wood to create ‘The Path of the Red Clay’. There you can find a variety of objects for decoration, others for use in the kitchen, and tourists can also learn how to handle the mud and create some traditional figures. The second group of tourist attractions is more physical and involves the Salto El Escuco, the Salto Tepechapa and the Poza Encantada. The easiest is the Salto El Escudo, a few minutes’ walk from the village to a natural site where the ancient cosmological energy can be felt. The jump is 83 meters high and its waters are crystal clear and icy. The more intense option is the long walk to the Salto Tepechapa, along a nature trail that tests fitness and which ends in a wonderful waterfall of 90 meters high. Before arriving at the waterfall, tourists can take a break at the Enchanted Poza, about halfway, where it is said that there lives a golden fish that appears in the pool. When people try to catch it, it hides in a cave inside the pool. Locals say that once a couple of men tried to catch it but they drowned, and that it makes an appearance at midnight. What I like about my job is that it combines tourism with the crafts and the Nahuatl language. In our community the majority of people speak Nahuatl. Thanks to tourism, we have been able to diversify the local economy and conserve our natural and cultural resources Tourism has become our way of keeping our traditions alive, our people secure, and our community proud.
A jewel box of rich possibilities
My name is Martina Plesnik and I am the owner of the Hotel Plesnik. I was born on 28th October 1947 in Logar Valley in Slovenia. The experts say that this is one of the most beautiful valleys in Europe. On this small portion of territory, numerous natural pearls have accumulated. Peaks covered by woods, high peaks over 2000 meters. and various waterfalls create the harmony of the landscape. Even as a child, I encountered tourism, as we had a guesthouse at home with five rooms, a restaurant and farm. Today I live in Velden in Austria. Before World War II, my parents had, until 1939, a hotel with 60 rooms and a restaurant. To make the hotel of appropriate standard they built a power station and water capture in order to get electricity and enough water for the guests. Unfortunately, my father was unable to fulfill his great vision for tourism. He had fully prepared plans for a tourist centre in the Logar Valley with a cinema, bus park and recreation centre. World War II put a spanner in his works. During the war, the hotel and all the farm buildings were burned down, leaving only ruins, one typewriter, a radio and plans that my father buried. In most cases, the land was nationalized. My father was only allowed to build a house for his parents, then the guesthouse with five rooms and a restaurant, where we later lived – my parents, five children and our grandmother. After the war, times were not easy and during socialism the personnel was quite restricted, so we all worked in the restaurant and on the farm. At that time, tourism was quite different. The tourism season lasted only three months, but hiking was of great importance. In 1952, we even received a visit from the president of Yugoslavia Josip Broz Tito. With my grandfather, Franc Plesnik, they went on a hunt. That’s where I got my start in tourism, which has not had the opportunity to develop since a small pension would not be able to support a big family. I left for Munich, where I met my life partner Koulen Horst and created my career in the cosmetic field with international trade names and my own decorative line, mainly in the eastern markets. In 1992, Slovenia became independent and we were successful in having our land in the Logar Valley returned to us. I immediately saw the opportunity to fulfill the wish of my beloved father, who sadly died during this period – that is to re-build a hotel with 32 rooms, a restaurant and wellness centre. Later, we also bought the Villa Palenk with 11 rooms and upgraded the complex with a conference centre. The hotel was opened in 1995 and luckily it soon attracted wealthy guests and many international politicians. Tourism has connected the whole family – that is, five children with their heirs – and we have developed a small tourist centre. My brother Darko and his son Gregor are engaged in tourism on the Plesnik farm, my sister Dragica and her son Primož at the Na Razpotju guesthouse, while my nephew Franci is at the Ojstrica guesthouse. My sister Marjana and Darko are connected to the hotel successfully run by my niece Nina Plesnik and her life partner Nenad Brdar, who is also chef in hotel restaurant. Even my brother, who lived in Kranj, opened a bar, which is now led by his son Darko and his life partner Tedeja. Tourism has accompanied me all my life. During my activities in my beauty career, I was constantly on the road between Paris and the East and Far East, where my life partner Horst worked. I had the opportunity to travel much of the world and I always tried to stay in well-organized hotels so I could observe their activity. I have never forgotten the stories told by my grandmother Taja, who often visited the luxury hotel Negresco in Nice before World War II, which has become my dream as well. Since then, tourism has changed a lot in all areas. Today, guests are much more demanding, which means a completely new challenge. However, this does not mean that tourism has lost its charm. The economic crisis in Slovenia has also affected us, but we did not lose our will and our vision. We still have a lot of work ahead of us, we would like to improve our quality by training our staff, while we strive to make our guests satisfied with the services we provide and happy while visiting us. This year we renewed our wellness centre and built an outdoor natural pool. For the future, we have plenty of plans, which will be continued by the next generation. Tourism forms the life of our whole family. Our heart beats for tourism.
The spirit of Istria

I am Manuela Hrvatin, and this is my story…

Four years ago on the Istrian peninsula, a small tourism revolution began. Project Istra Inspirit was set by the Region of Istria, the Istrian Tourist Board and the Istrian Tourism Development Agency to make our rich cultural and historical legacy the cornerstone of the authentic Istrian tourist experience. Together, we wanted to bring tourism in Istria to life in a way that would keep our history and community alive.

We knew that globalization is threatening the traditional identity of the community and that tourists today want authenticity and they want to experience it with the local community.

Strongly disliking the term ‘event’, we decided to create ‘experiences’ interactive performances based on Istrian stories, myths and legends taking place on authentic locations linked to the stories and enriched with thematic dinners prepared with local ingredients. The journey through the history of Istria began!

Proud of our tradition and culture, we started with our stories throughout the peninsula, with the support of the local community as a part of Inspirit. We thought that our wish to preserve traditional heritage would be acknowledged and that it would be easy. We thought that everybody in the Istrian tourism sector would share our vision. However, we soon realized that in tourism development there are two options: the first, using local communities and cultural and historical heritage solely to make profit, and the second serving the community and promoting new investments to revitalize the cultural and historical heritage. Although the second option is more difficult and pays off only in the long run, it was the only right choice for us as a place and people. Together, we set up our principles the rules of conduct from which we do not deviate and followed them through. Four years later, writing about our beginnings and dreaming about the future, we are happy to say that we are achieving our goals. Inspirit experiences grew in numbers, the fourth generation of tourism and culture students are actively involved in the project, local producers of souvenirs, family farmers, craftsmen, artists and others want to join us and offer their products to guests of Istria. We are preparing for the new season. We are already thinking about torches that will light up the darkened streets of the abandoned medieval town of Dvigrad, already imagining expressions on the faces of our guests when they enter the cold depths of the Rasa mines. In our fantasies, we already laugh and rejoice with guests of a typical fisherman’s tavern Spacio for whom honest working Rovinj fishermen will prepare dinner. Looking at the sun from our office, we imagine a romantic sunset at the archaeological site of Vizula, where a true Roman drama took place, or the sun which warms the hands of working people from Buzet who will prepare homemade bread for Inspirit guests, teach them to play traditional Istrian games and try to get them to help wash laundry in the old way. There are more and more stories; there is more work to be done. So be it. Istria deserves it, tourists deserve it, my culture, history and traditions deserve it.
2nd International Congress on World Civilizations and Historic Routes
Jointly organized by the Ministry of Tourism of the Republic of Bulgaria and UNWTO, the2nd International Congress on World Civilizations and Historic Routes will be held on 14-16 November in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Cultural heritage lies at the very heart of the collective memory and identity of the citizens of the world. Destinations that boast archaeological sites, ancient architecture, folklore traditions and arts and that find themselves along these ancient routes can assume the role of catalysts for exchange of experience between peoples and cultures through tourism development, and thereby promote sustainable growth, prosperity and peace in their own regions. Recognizing the above, the Congress will explore the possible ways in which world civilizations could be brought to life through tourism, in particular by making use of the networks developed along historic routes. The congress will also focus on adressing how tourism along these routes can play a leading role in creating new socio-economic opportunities for development at local, regional and national level while safeguarding and promoting tangible and intangible ancient heritage. Participants will have the opportunity to build upon the great cultural wealth spanning along the ancient routes, learn from different experiences and generate synergies among themselves and between several networks developed alongside the ancient cultural routes.
First Meeting of the Working Group of Experts on Measuring Sustainable Tourism
UNWTO Conference on City Breaks: Creating Innovative Tourism Experiences
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the City of Valladolid, the Municipality of Valladolid and Affiliate Member Madison MK are pleased to inform you that theUNWTO Conference on City Breaks: Creating Innovative Tourism Experiences will take place 15 to 16 October, 2018 in Valladolid, Spain. Taking place in a unique city with great historical importance, the conference will address different areas of specialization that can contribute to the successful positioning of urban destinations as City Breaks. Valladolid has been chosen as the venue for this first conference because it is a benchmark destination that is committed to a clear strategy in active, oenological, cultural and domestic tourism, by leveraging the unique elements the destination has to offer, such as sports, music, theater, cinema, literature and gastronomy. These will be addressed in the different panels, with special emphasis on governance and public-private collaboration models that allow for their proper implementation.  
7th Global Summit on Urban Tourism
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is pleased to inform that the 7th UNWTO Global Summit on Urban Tourism will take place from 16-19 September 2018 in Seoul, at the kind invitation of the Seoul Metropolitan Government, supported by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of the Republic of Korea, the Korea Tourism Organization and the Seoul Tourism Organization. The provisional programme, general information note and registration online will be available shortly.
UNWTO Regional Conference on Human Capital Development in Tourism: New Perspectives
The Conference brought together high-level policymakers, industry leaders and prominent academicians to lay the policy and strategic groundwork and identify innovative solutions for the development of human capital in tourism in the Middle East and North Africa region and advance the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specifically Goal 8 on economic growth and jobs, in the region. Building on the roadmap set by the UNWTO Study ‘Tourism Labour Market in the Middle East and North Africa Region’, the conference featured an update on the region´s tourism labour market performance. It is evident that up-to-date reliable data is needed for monitoring impact of existing interventions, tracking progress and for informing policy-making. For this reason, a key objective of the Conference was to set the framework for a comprehensive and regular monitoring mechanism of tourism labour market performance in the Middle East and North Africa region. Participants discussed policies and strategies to address key issues in the region such as the creation of quality jobs and closing the decent work deficit, skills development, the stimulation of youth employment and women participation in the tourism labour market and supporting tourism MSMEs for economic growth and job creation. The Conference shared ample good practices that can be implemented across the region. Finally and in the spirit of fostering partnerships, the Conferenc provided a high level platform for discussions on joint projects and transnational cooperation.
UNWTO, Government of Zambia International Conference on Promoting Sustainable Tourism, a Tool for Inclusive Growth and Community Engagement in Africa
In the framework of the 70th United Nations General Assembly in December 2015, the year 2017 was designated as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. This achievement is an important milestone in the 2030 UN Agenda and in the progress towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and recognizing tourism as a pillar of development. The Republic of Zambia being part of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation joins the rest of the world in commemorating 2017 as a special year dedicated to tourism by undertaking activities that promote tourism as one of the key drivers of responsible and sustainable development. The International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, 2017 (IY 2017) presents a unique opportunity to raise awareness on the contribution of sustainable tourism for development among public and private sector decision-makers and overall the public. This is further achieved while mobilizing all stakeholders work together in making tourism a catalyst for positive change. Further, the IY 2017 provides the opportunity for destinations inter alia: a) To increase the visibility of the tourism sector by highlighting its potential to contribute positively to sustainable development; b) To maximize the positive and minimize challenging sides of tourism and how the positives can be enhanced and the challenges being addressed; c) To raise awareness about the huge potential of outbound and inbound tourism and how this can be converted to the benefit of Africa in general and Zambia in particular. In the context of the universal 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development aims to support a change in policies, business practices and consumer behaviour towards a more sustainable tourism sector that can contribute to the SDGs.