MANILA, Philippines — There could be 1.8 billion tourists or just over one in five persons in the world traveling around the globe by 2030, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
Taleb Rifai, secretary-general of UNWTO, highlighted the role of travel and tourism in impacting global developments and making the world a better place.
“It is bringing the world together in an incredibly impressive way: it is making the world smaller, more connected, more informed and therefore… a more caring world,” Rifai said.
UNWTO said that at the same time, the global phenomenon has also brought about serious challenges, including pollution, waste, labor exploitation, prostitution, abuse of children, and looting of natural resources.
Given that all human activity has both advantages and disadvantages, he said it is up to people to ensure that the impacts from tourism are positive and contribute to sustainable development.
“1.8 billion travelers by 2030 could be 1.8 billion opportunities or 1.8 billion disasters and it is all up to us,” he added.
In recognition of the potential of the tourism industry, the UN General Assembly had proclaimed 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.