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2nd International Conference on Climate Change and Tourism

2nd International Conference on Climate Change and Tourism ( Davos, 1 October 2007 - More than 600 participants from over 100 countries and 20 international organizations are at the 2nd International Conference on Climate Change and Tourism in Davos, Switzerland which opened this Monday. Organized by UNWTO together with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and supported by the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the Swiss Government, the three-day Conference addresses the global challenge of climate change and action by the tourism sector in both adaptation of destinations and mitigation of its own impacts.
In opening the Conference, H.E. Dr. Eric Scheidegger, Deputy Director of the Swiss Secretariat of State for Economic Affairs, stressed the need for fostering the full use of the adaptation potential of the tourism sector and supporting market-based off-setting mechanisms. Dr. Scheidegger welcomed UNWTO's initiative to make the Conference carbon neutral.
To be consistent with UNWTO's commitment to sustainable travel, the Organization has asked participants to register with carbon offsetting organizations. Carbon offsetting mitigates greenhouse gas emissions and can involve renewable energy projects (such as solar, wind power and hydroelectricity or biomass and biofuels) and tree planting, among others.
In his opening speech, UNWTO Secretary-General Franceso Frangialli emphasized that “A revolution, not just economic or technological, but also cultural, is what climate change in calling for the tourism world to bring about." At the same time he underscored that “tourism is linked to poverty alleviation. It would be an error to take an overly simplistic approach in which apprehensions regarding climate would lead to losing sight of all other priorities."
Multi-Stakeholder Conference
Participants from public administrations, the private sector, the academic community and civil society at large are gathered to discuss particular issues around the response of the tourism sector to global warming, focusing on both destinations and activities.
The focus on destinations will consider:
• Coastal destinations and small islands;
• Mountain regions and winter tourism; and
• Nature-based destinations.
The response of the tourism sector also has to build around the various sectors and activities of this industry. This will be the subject of a final plenary session on mitigation with a special focus on:
• Transport;
• Tour operation and
• Accommodation.
Ongoing challenge
Climate change is not new to UNWTO's agenda. Since the 1st International Conference on Climate Change and Tourism, convened by UNWTO in Djerba, Tunisia in 2003, a growing body of knowledge has been generated addressing the complex relationships between the tourism sector and climate change with important research activities on this subject.
Just as climate change is being addressed globally under UN leadership, UNWTO has the responsibility of formulating how the tourism industry can adapt to and mitigate the climate challenge.
The results of the Conference will be summarized in the Davos Declaration to be presented at the closing session on 3 October. The outcome will be considered at a UNWTO Ministerial Summit in London on 13 November, with the support of the World Travel Market and the UK Government, and factored as appropriate into the overall UN Strategy for Climate Change Response to be discussed in Bali later in December.

UNWTO Geoffrey Lipman, UNWTO Assistant Secretary-General, Spokesperson Marcelo Risi, Media Officer T: +34 91-567-8194 / +34 91-567-8100 / F: +34 91-567-8218 -

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