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News Tourism for All: Promoting Universal Accessibility - World Tourism Day, 27 September 2016

Biodiversity, the variety of life on Earth, provides us with a wealth of natural resources that are extremely important for the tourism sector. Biodiversity underpins places of beauty that are so often popular tourist destinations, such as tropical forests, coast beaches and national parks, thus re-enforcing the notion that a healthy natural environment is one of the world’s most important tourism attractions. Visiting nature also serves to heighten awareness of its intrinsic value for us all.

In 1950 there were nearly 25 million international tourists crossing borders in a single year; today there are around 1.2 billion people travelling the world. Travelling has become an important part of many people’s lives and livelihoods. International tourism generates around US$ 1.5 trillion worldwide per year in export earnings, accounting for about 9 per cent of global employment. For areas of unique natural beauty that attract large numbers of visitors, a healthy natural environment is an essential asset– a beach holiday, for example, requires clean, swimmable, water and healthy coastal ecosystems, such as mangroves, coral reefs, coastal forests and the flora and fauna that inhabits them. Accordingly, the significance of tourism for biodiversity has been reflected in decisions by the Convention’s Conference of the Parties (COP) since the fifth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 5) in 2000, where a decision by the Parties recognized the importance of tourism for social and economic development at local, national and regional levels. Sustainable tourism has the potential to contribute to meeting at least 12 of the 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets, adopted in 2010.

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Release date 26/09/2016

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