The theme for this year’s Tourism Month is sustainable tourism. A concept closely linked with social development, and described by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) as: “Tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities”.
This may seem like a mouthful, but in reality it’s about recognising the impact of tourism in contributing to inclusive and sustainable economic growth, as well as empowering communities, raising awareness of the value of heritage and doing all this in a way that protects and preserves our natural environment.
Complex, yes but that’s tourism for you – it reaches across so many industries and has an impact on so many lives – there’s a transformative power to tourism and yet we don’t often take the time to look at our city through tourists’ eyes.
Bitten by the tourism bug
Many young people in our cities never get to go on holidays – they don’t even have the resources to explore their home town. Those kids aren’t going to see the value in tourism, necessarily. That’s why Cape Town Tourism has created a special event to introduce kids to Cape Town’s attractions from the perspective of a tourist. We’ll be taking a large group from two schools to Table Mountain, Robben Island and the Two Oceans Aquarium, ferried between these attractions by City Sightseeing’s now-famous red buses. Our goal is that these kids will be bitten by the travel bug.
We’d love for them to have their worlds opened up and to see the value in tourism, the wonders of exploring and sharing experiences with others. We’re hopeful that this experience has the potential to fill them with pride in their city and to teach them about the power of their heritage. They’re our future as a destination, and it’s essential that we invest in them.
To go back to the UNWTO description of Sustainable Tourism as a “tool for development”, we see human capital development as central to all other forms of sustainability – to raise up a new generation of tourism professionals who will be aware of sustainability at every step of their careers.
The first step is showing our kids the value of what’s around them – if you’re a parent, take your child exploring, get that creativity flowing, and you could see a world of opportunity opening up for them.
Enver Duminy is CEO of Cape Town Tourism
This article was first published by Bizcommunity on 22 September 2017.