EU environment ministers agree to promote the transformation of European tourism

Delegates from across the pan-European region agreed to promote the transformation of the tourism sector, through the One Planet sustainable tourism programme, and to help the sector recover from the damage caused by COVID-related restrictions, during the 9th Ministerial Conference on the Environment for Europe.

“The Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism, launched by UNWTO and its partners at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), and the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative, a joint initiative of UNWTO and UNEP were both cited as key initiatives to help guide the transformation of the sector,” the statement issued by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) reads, reports

According to UNWTO, the One Planet Sustainable Tourism program co-organized a side event on “Tourism and circulation for sustainable development in the Mediterranean”, from which a new repository of tools and resources focused on circular economy and tourism was launched.

In addition, two new publications were also introduced by the Global Plastics Tourism Initiative on measurement and sourcing produced with financial support from the French government.

In this regard, UNWTO Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili said that for businesses, the circular economy can bring competitive advantages.

“For destinations, this can build more inclusive local value chains. And for tourists, it’s an opportunity to leave a positive mark. I encourage European environment ministers to create synergies with their counterparts in tourism ministries to implement the circular economy in the tourism sector”, he also added.

Speaking at the Ministerial Conference, State Secretary of the Croatian Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, Mario Šiljeg, also underlined the importance of tourism for European economies and the considerable benefits of “adopting innovative approaches, in particular moving away from traditional value chain relationships, adopting more systematic circular models of production and consumption”.

At the same time, the Minister of Tourism and Environment of Albania, Mirela Kumbaro Furxhi, explained a plenary discussion on the application of EC principles in tourism”, with contributions from countries such as Switzerland, Sweden, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Ukraine, Germany, Greece, Armenia and the European Union.

In addition, the EU issued a statement in which it recommended the Glasgow Declaration and the Global Plastics Tourism Initiative as tools to advance the goals of making the sector more sustainable.

Through the ministerial declaration, the delegates underlined that the transformation of the tourism sector will be favored by the implementation of targeted programs and projects.

Furthermore, they noted that knowledge will be built on the basis of existing circular tools and initiatives, with the aim of enabling further dissemination and extension in the respective UNECE member states.

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