MANILA — Over 80 member countries of the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) on Friday adopted the Manila Call for Action on Measuring Sustainable Tourism, a document which is expected to help reach goals of the Universal 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The document was adopted during the closing ceremony of the three-day 6th UNWTO International Conference on Tourism Statistics which began June 21 at the Marriott Hotel in Manila.
UNWTO Executive Director for Operational Programmes and Institutional Relations Marcio Favilla, in his speech, said that although the document was not legally-binding, it served as a collective commitment to push for sustainable tourism.
“I’m convinced that the Manila Call for Action will contribute to inclusive growth worldwide and most importantly help address the common challenge and policy imperatives of poverty eradication and climate change among other issues important for (the) international community,” Favilla said.
The Manila Call for Action on Measuring Sustainable Tourism was prepared by the UNWTO, Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) and will be widely circulated to international stakeholders.
In the same conference, the UNWTO, DOT and PSA also released the preliminary draft of the Statistical Framework for Measuring Sustainable Tourism (MST Framework) that would help understand sustainable tourism policies and practices that work from an integrated information base.
“This Measuring Sustainable Tourism Framework requires your commitment, support and leadership. This is a call to all of you and other partners and stakeholders to continue to move forward together in the coming years,” Favilla said.
“In that regard, I hope that and I’m very confident that the Department of Tourism and the Philippine Statistics Authority can carry out a pilot implantation of the Measuring Sustainable Tourism Framework,” he added.
Favilla, meanwhile, lauded the Philippine government for continuously taking a lead role in tourism development that dates back from the Manila hosting of the World Tourism Conference in 1980.
“Back in 1980, Manila hosted the World Tourism Conference which adopted the landmark Manila Declaration on World Tourism, a declaration that took into account all aspects of what was then a barely visible phenomenon that of tourism and laid the grounds for a better understanding of our sector and inspired and guided policy design and implementation for the following many years,” the UNWTO official said.
He also thanked the Philippine government for hosting the conference with “grandeur, graciousness and generosity.”
“The work may be over but the fun in the Philippines is not over, it continues,” he said, urging delegates to visit different sights in Metro Manila and interact with local communities to get know the country a little better.
For his part, DOT Undersecretary for Tourism Development and Planning Benito Bengzon Jr. expressed optimism that UNWTO member countries could move closer to its shared goal of economic growth, social inclusiveness, resource efficiency, environment protection and mutual understanding.
“For sure there will be challenges along the way but through closer cooperation we will find collective solutions,” Bengzon said.
“Through this international conference, we have heard from experts from multiple disciplines. We’ve heard their thoughts and suggestions on how to develop and utilize a statistical framework, we have learned how to design and implement the necessary database as we pursue a more evidence-based approach in policy and decision-making,” he added.
He also thanked the officials and delegates for their active participation and invited them to check out Metro Manila do some shopping.