Tourism 'can help end poverty'

The tourist sector is vitally important to the world's efforts to curb emissions and climate change, the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has said.

UNWTO said that the travel sector could help raise awareness of climate change and that the industry must adapt to embrace and promote sustainable tourism.

The organisation added that tourism can be a major development driver for poorer nations, but that the industry must work hard to ensure that more holidaymakers result in better conditions in the countries.

"Tourism can and must play its part in responding to the global climate imperative and we can and must do this in a way that also advances the industry's contribution to poverty alleviation," explained UN assistant secretary general Geoffrey Lipman.

Recent reports from UNWTO suggest that global tourism increased rapidly in the first four months of 2007.

The research suggested that continued worldwide prosperity was one of the main factors driving tourist numbers.

At the time, UNWTO secretary-general Francesco Frangialli said: "The strong growth underscores the increasingly important relation between tourism, climate change and poverty alleviation.

"Responsible and sustainable growth of the tourism sector will provide exports and jobs for the world economy generally and the poorest countries specifically, but this must be balanced with firm action to reduce the industry's carbon footprint."

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