Since the COVID-19 pandemic brought tourism to a halt, queues to see the world’s most beautiful, natural wonders have disappeared. Gone are the clicking sounds of photos being snapped of wildlife through big lens cameras. On many island destinations like Hawaii and Fiji, beaches have been devoid of tourists due to pandemic-related travel restrictions.
Approximately half of the world’s population is under 30 years old, adding greater meaning to the popular notion, “Youth are the custodians of the future.” Any decision made today will have a direct effect on the future lives of our youth and highlights the important role young people can play as key future decision makers.
Around the world, the role and engagement of youth is consistently highlighted, with countries, organisations and groups seeking to support the voice and participation of youth, especially with concern to sustainable development, climate change and environmental issues.
Despite knowing the damage she was causing, Nguyen Thi Vang still walks through the coral reef in the Tam Hai sea to collect seaweed for her daily meals. “When I walk, I heard its broken sound and I feel painful,” said Nguyen. “Yet I need seaweed.”
Sustainable tourism development, as defined by the World Tourism Organization, is 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.
The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), the leading regional agency for the protection of the environment in the Pacific, has contributed to strengthening sustainable tourism development in the Pacific by developing various environmental planning and assessment tools, which were highlighted during the second day of the 10th Pacific Island Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas.
The Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) has completed its first virtual training on plastic waste reduction with the Tourism Authority of Kiribati. The initiative is part of a joint CROP programme on capacity building for small island states, between Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and SPTO. The workshop was delivered via pre-recorded instructional videos and live interactive sessions from 14th – 18th December.