Gran Canaria to host “green” World Tourism Day 2012

World Tourism Day 2012 is one of the highlights on the tourism trade calendar and this year the theme of the conference is “Tourism and Sustainable Energy.”

Spain has the honour of hosting the event this autumn when the conference comes to the Canary Islands on September 27th. It will be held in Maspalomas on the island of Gran Canaria, one of Europe’s most popular tourist and timeshare resort destinations. One third of Gran Canaria, including the town of Maspalomas, is a protected UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, making it the ideal location for this year’s green-themed World Tourism Day.

The event will spotlight the importance of bringing together the tourism sector and renewable energy providers to help map the future for eco-tourism initiatives.

“Tourism is at the forefront of many of the latest and most innovative sustainable energy initiatives,” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai. “One only has to think of the investments being poured into renewable energy sources for aviation, or the energy technology solutions implemented in hotels around the world, to know that sustainable energy is a major priority for the sector.”

Mr. Rifai also highlighted the fact that eco-tourism helps create jobs for those in the tourism and sustainable energy sectors.

“The message at the heart of World Tourism Day 2012 is that these initiatives and commitments are not only helping to protect the environment, they are also creating economic opportunities and jobs for millions, whether in tourism, energy or other sectors,” he said.

The Spanish Secretary of State for Tourism, Isabel Borrego said that holding this year’s celebrations in Spain is particularly fitting given its reputation as “one of the world’s top tourism destinations and a global leader in renewable energies.”

“Spain is among the top five countries investing in renewable energies worldwide and 20% of the energy consumed in Spain comes from renewable sources,” said Ms. Borrego.

The official WTD celebrations will include a high level Think Tank on the 2012 sustainable tourism theme. Confirmed participants include the Spanish Minister of Industry, Energy and Tourism, Jose Manuel Soria, and the President of Acciona Energy, Carmen Becerril.

This year, WTD 2012 coincides with the United Nations International “Year of Sustainable Energy for All” and provides another opportunity to focus the attention of the press and the tourism sector on the shared responsibility of both the tourism and energy sectors in relation to the wider global sustainability objectives of the UN.

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