UNWTO Regional Conference on Sustainable Development through Tourism

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The UNWTO Regional Conference on Sustainable Development through Tourism was convened in Thimphu, Bhutan on 3 June 2019. It was jointly organized by UNWTO and the Tourism Council of Bhutan, bringing together delegates and experts from over 20 countries across Asia, the Pacific and Europe.

This report captures the main themes, presentations and discussions of the conference. Its purpose is to widely disseminate conference insights and recommendations and reaffirm UNWTO and member state commitment to share lessons and good practice, thereby promoting sector sustainability.

Sustainability in the tourism sector is a complex and diverse issue increasingly questioned by stakeholders and the international media owing to the growth in tourist numbers around the world and mounting concerns of “overtourism” in many destinations. While UNWTO forecast worldwide international tourist arrivals to reach 1.4 billion in 2020, 7% sector growth in 2017 and 6% in 2018, saw the 1.4 billion figure reached two years earlier than expected.