WLO Chief Operating Officer (COO), Dr. Cristina Ortega, is an active member of the UNWTO Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Support. WLO COO presented the Field School as a case study of community development through leisure, at the Expert Meeting on Tourism and the SDGs: Case Studies by the UNWTO Affiliate Members, celebrated on the 23rd January in Madrid, Spain. We take this opportunity to remind our members and extended community that the “Survey on how SDGs have been incorporated into tourism practices and business plans”, which is another initiative of the mentioned Working Group, will be open for your inputs till March 2020.

Within the framework of the activities of the UNWTO Affiliate Members Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Support, an Expert Meeting on Tourism and the SDGs: Case Studies by the UNWTO Affiliate Members was organized on the 23rd January, in the framework of FITUR 2020, the International Tourism Fair celebrated annually in Madrid, Spain.

This event intended to provide a specialized platform to share experience and knowledge on tourism and the SDGs. The case studies presented the work on each SDG by sharing actions and strategies carried out by the Members of the Working Group on SDGs Support. WLO Chief Operating officer (COO), Dr. Cristina Ortega, presented the case study “Field School: community development through leisure”, as an experience contributing to SDG 4: Quality Education.

The session aimed to: recognize the importance of incorporating the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into the tourism practices, Strategies and activities; share and exchange knowledge, views, experiences and case studies by the UNWTO Affiliate Members related to each SDG; identify potential areas of work and projects on each SDG and tourism; and provide recommendations on contributing to the SDGs. The panel included presentations showing examples of successful initiatives and best practices in the context of incorporating the SDGs into the tourism activities, policies, strategies, etc.

Among the conclusions extracted by Roxana Ashtari, Project Specialist at the UNWTO Affiliate Members Department, it was highlighted that today’s tourism practices and businesses are faced with unprecedented, accelerating and complex mix of risks and opportunities due to the global social and environmental challenges. 2020 marks the 5th anniversary of the SDGs and, while today progress is being made in many places, action to meet the 2030 sustainable development agenda is not still advancing at the speed or scale required. Tourism is a catalyst to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the tourism stakeholders can play a significant contribution to the well-being of people and the planet and spread peace and harmony. In this sense, transitioning towards more sustainable and resilient tourism sector also requires an integrated approach that recognizes that these challenges – and their solutions – are interrelated. It is crucial to consider the balance between the economic, social and environmental aspects of the sustainability – once we are focusing on one SDG.

A previous initiative by the UNWTO Affiliate Members Working Group on SDGs Support was the design of a “Survey on how SDGs have been incorporated into tourism practices and business plans”. We would like to encourage our members to take part in the survey, by filling in the following form, which will be open until mid-March 2020. We will keep you updated with the results of the survey!