SUSTAINABLE TOURISM IN ROATAN, HONDURAS
UNWTO hosts event designed to show the potential of green tourism
ROATAN, HONDURAS – The UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organization) is the UN specialized agency in tourism. It contributes to the global agenda and plays a role in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), especially in terms of poverty eradication and sustainable development. The UNWTO maximizes the economic and social impacts of tourism, while minimizing the negative environmental impacts; thus sustainable tourism.
Sustainable Tourism is to the use of natural resources with little effect on the environment to promote a destination for leisure, recreation or business. It also helps to create jobs among the locals and to alleviate poverty. This practice can be very profitable for all involved and good for the community on a whole.
The recent meeting held in Roatan Honduras aimed to promote sustainable tourism through the sharing of different practices among Central American states. Most states were represented by their respective Ministries of Tourism. International agencies were also present to exchange ideas.
In Honduras, one major topic that was discussed was the conservation of sharks. Research has shown that 30% of shark and ray populations around the globe are endangered or threatened with extinction. With the disappearance of these animals, the marine resources threatened. President Porfirio Lobo Sosa of Honduras signed a bill earlier this reserving coastal waters a sanctuary for sharks. This bill exemplifies the measures that Honduras is willing to take to preserve its natural resources.
The economic benefits of sustainable tourism are indisputable.Through new eco-friendly initiatives, locals can manage their businesses and be their own bosses. The ultimate goal of the meeting held on sustainable tourism was to improve the quality of lives of the people of Central America. Another objective was to promote the opportunities offered by the UNWTO in terms of economic and social development. The meeting also launched an arena to discuss projects on climate change, alleviating poverty through tourism, and youth employment. The leaders and representatives of Central America also used this opportunity for regional integration and to achieve effective sustainable tourism. Other parts of the world should not hesitate to follow what these few countries have already started.