Imagine you have spent months or even years planning, saving, and dreaming of the moment you arrive in Piazza San Marco Venice only to find it teeming with thousands of other tourists. Certainly not the experience you had dreamed of. Now you have to share this moment with hundreds or thousands of tourists, many of whom are getting in your way, preventing you from taking those Instagram-worthy photos, and ultimately disrupting the tranquility of the square.
Most of you reading this post already know that we started Backpacking with the Bonds to help travelers think about how their travel affects the places they visit-both positively and negatively. All of our posts and guides are written to help travelers to think about and design their trips to maximize their impact on the local economies. Recently, we wrote a blog piece about the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) International Year of Sustainable Tourism, to showcase the international initiative to raise awareness of the contribution of sustainable tourism to development.
Did you know that the United Nations has designated 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development? The purpose of which is to raise awareness of the contribution of sustainable tourism to development among public and private sector decision-makers and the public, while mobilizing all stakeholders to work together in making tourism a catalyst for change.
International tourism has a staggering impact on the global economy. To fully understand its impact, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) World Tourism Highlights Report of 2014 world tourism was responsible for 9% of global GDP, supported 1 in 11 jobs globally, and was responsible for $1.5 trillion in global exports. The number of international tourists rose to 1.13 billion in 2014, with France, the United States, Spain, and China ranked as the top global destinations. With the number of international tourists expected to increase this places a great emphasis on national and regional governments and tourism promotion organizations to promote and capture as much of the international tourism market as possible.