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UN calls for protection of waterways on World Tourism Day

The important relationship between recreational travel and the world’s water resources is the focus of this year’s UN observance of World Tourism Day, which aims to raise awareness of tourism’s social, cultural, political and economic value.

A statement circulated at the UN headquarters in New York on Friday, quoted Mr. Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General of the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), as saying that World Tourism Day offered a unique opportunity to shine a spotlight on water both as an asset and as a resource and on the actions needed to face up to the water challenge.

The 2013 theme is: “Tourism and Water: Protecting our Common Future.”

Mr. Rifai He urged all those involved in the tourism sector to join the global World Tourism Day campaign and continue to devise innovate solutions to ensuring tourism contributed to sustainable access to water resources worldwide.

In his message for the Day, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that unsustainable consumption and climate change were threatening global water and stressed the responsibility of the tourism industry to safeguard and intelligently manage the resource.

Ban stated: “In this International Year of Water Cooperation, I urge tourism establishments to cut consumption and improve waste management, and I call on individuals to play their part by making environmentally conscious choices when they travel.”

As part of the worldwide observance of the Day in the Maldives, a global conference on tourism and water was held on Friday, which brought together public and private sector tourism stakeholders, experts on water preservation and the media.

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