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.