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December 15, 2017

Montego Bay Declaration on ‘Jobs and Inclusive Growth: Partnerships for Sustainable Tourism’ on the occasion of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017


We, the representatives of UNWTO Member States and Affiliate Members, tourism administrations, international and regional organizations, local communities, private sector and academia, gathered in Montego Bay, Jamaica on 27-29 November 2017 for the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Government of Jamaica, World Bank Group (WBG) and Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Conference on ‘Jobs and Inclusive Growth: Partnerships for Sustainable Tourism’, an official event of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017 organized in collaboration with the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO), the Caribbean Hotel Association (CHTA), Chemonics International, the George Washington University and the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC);

Recalling the United Nations (UN) General Assembly Resolution 66/288 of 27 July 2012 that endorses the outcome document of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, The Future We Want which emphasizes that “well-designed and managed tourism can make a significant contribution to the three dimensions of sustainable development, has close linkages to other sectors, and can create decent jobs and generate trade opportunities”;

Recalling the UN Resolution 69/233 of 19 December 2014 on the “promotion of sustainable tourism, including ecotourism, for poverty eradication and environment protection”, emphasizing the need to optimize the economic, social, cultural and environmental benefits stemming from sustainable tourism, particularly in developing countries;

Recalling the UN General Assembly Resolution 69/313 of 27 July 2015 that endorses the outcome document of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, Addis Ababa Action Agenda, which underlines the need to “[…] develop and implement innovative tools to mainstream sustainable development, as well as to monitor sustainable development impacts for different economic activities, including for sustainable tourism”;

Recalling the UN General Assembly Resolution 70/1 of 25 September 2015 on Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which adopts the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which features tourism in Goals 8, 12 and 14 on inclusive and sustainable economic growth (8), sustainable consumption and production (12), and the sustainable use of oceans and marine resources (14);

Recalling the UN General Assembly Resolution 70/193 of 22 December 2015, which designates 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development aiming at raising awareness on the contribution of sustainable tourism to development among decision-makers and the public, and encourages the UN system and all other actors to support sustainable tourism at all levels as an efficient instrument to contribute to sustainable development, while mobilizing all stakeholders to work together in making tourism a catalyst for positive change, especially addressing global challenges such as poverty eradication, environmental protection, and economic empowerment;

Recalling the principles of the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism approved by the UNWTO General Assembly in 1999 and endorsed by the UN General Assembly in 2001, particularly those related to community empowerment, child protection, gender equality and universal accessibility;

Considering the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns (10YFP), notably the 10-YFP Sustainable Tourism Programme, a collaborative platform to bring together and scale up initiatives and partnerships to accelerate the shift to sustainable consumption and production, that has as its main goal decoupling tourism growth from the increased use of natural resources;
Considering that tourism is one of the fastest growing and most resilient socio-economic sectors, accounting currently for an estimated 10% of world GDP, 1 in 10 jobs and 7% of global trade of goods and services and 30% of trade in services;

Considering that tourism has multiple links to other economic sectors and can generate development opportunities along the entire value chain, particularly in developing countries;

Considering that tourism has the potential to contribute, directly and indirectly, to all the 17 SDGs and is featured in three of the SDGs, namely Goal 8, 12 and 14;

Considering that tourism is based on human interaction between visitors and host communities, creating a link that can promote intercultural understanding and tolerance, encourage mutual respect among people and thus contribute to a culture of peace in a framework of safety and security;

Understanding the urgent need to mobilize and unlock a substantial increase in financing tourism development, especially in developing countries, through development cooperation such as Official Development Assistance (ODA), Aid for Trade (AfT) and South-South Cooperation, as well as private sector resources and innovative financing mechanisms;

Taking into account that SDG 17 calls for ‘Partnerships for the Goals’ between governments, the private sector and civil society, built upon principles and values, a shared vision, and shared goals that place people and planet at the centre;

Considering the unique set of challenges and particular vulnerabilities of Island States including higher relative losses due to natural disasters, greater susceptibility to terms of trade shocks and more limited borrowing capability to invest but also their capacity to change the structure of their economies faster which helps them remain competitive despite shocks.

Building on the legacy of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017 and with the objective of setting a common action plan towards 2030, declare the following:

1. Cooperation and partnerships among all major stakeholders—governments at the national, sub-national and local level, international organizations, the private sector, academia and local communities— are vital for achieving the SDGs through tourism and require adequate governance and partnership mechanisms at all levels;

2. UNWTO Member States, Affiliate Members and other international organizations and private sector partners shall sustain the momentum created by the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017 by creating a working group coordinated by UNWTO on the legacy of the 2017 vision. The legacy shall focus on a plan to be presented to international donors for inclusion in their future development assistance to developing and least developed countries, and to corporations for co-investment.

3. National governments, local authorities, private sector, financing institutions and relevant stakeholders shall develop an integrated and holistic approach to tourism development in order to leverage the sector’s positive impact and multiplying effect on people, planet and prosperity, thus capitalizing on its value as a key contributor to sustainable development;

4. National governments, local authorities, private sector, financing institutions and relevant stakeholders shall promote innovative tourism development models which fully engage, integrate and empower communities, create decent jobs and eliminate any barriers between communities and tourism developers;

5. Governments, local authorities, private sector, the academia and the international community shall advance the collection and analysis of tourism data to measure tourism’s full impact at national and local levels in line with the UNWTO Measuring Sustainable Tourism Initiative (MST) and the work of the UNWTO International Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories (INSTO).

6. National governments, local authorities and other relevant stakeholders shall create an enabling environment for the private sector and provide incentives for businesses to act according to the principles of the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism and the 17 SDGs;

7. The donor community shall recognize the wide-ranging impacts of tourism on all dimensions of sustainable development and scale up its support to sustainable tourism at bilateral and multilateral level by increasing efforts and coordination in mobilizing resources for tourism development through existing global financing mechanisms as well as new financing facilities related to the SDGs, including the UNWTO Tourism for Development Facility;

8. Governments, the UN system, international organizations, global and regional financial institutions and the private sector shall prioritize inclusive and green growth in tourism and foster investment in infrastructure and technology that helps to improve resource efficiency, mitigate climate change and decouple economic growth from resource use and environmental degradation;

9. Governments, the UN system, global and regional financial institutions and the private sector shall cooperate to promote safe, secure and seamless travel and build resilience for tourism by advancing crisis preparedness and management capabilities as well as the full integration of tourism in emergency structures;

10. Governments, the UN system, global and regional financial institutions, academia and the private sector shall support programmes that promote education, capacity building and skills development, particularly related to innovation and technology that create decent jobs and entrepreneurship opportunities, namely for youth, women and least favoured groups;

11. Academia, in partnership with governments, international organizations and private sector shall advance research on Tourism and the SDGs that provides relevant evidence and recommendations on the best policies and business strategies to realize the SDGs through tourism, including adequate necessary financing;

12. All stakeholders shall place the SDGs at the heart of their tourism policies, business strategies, initiatives, projects and research;

13. Governments, private sector, donors and the international and regional organizations shall support the development of a blue economy considering the specificities and vulnerabilities of Islands States in terms of natural resources, impact of climate change and extreme weather events as well as the high reliance of tourism on the ocean for marine activities, transportation, coastal protection and resilience.

14. Caribbean governments and private sector shall work together to advance regional integration through multi-destination tourism by fostering and harmonizing legislation on air connectivity, visa facilitation, product development, promotion and human capital;

15. Governments, private sector, donors and the international and regional organizations shall support the establishment of a Global Tourism Resilience Centre in the Caribbean, including a Sustainable Tourism Observatory, to assist destinations’ preparedness, management and recovery of crises which impact tourism and threaten economies and livelihoods.

We extend our heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the victims of the devastating hurricanes that affected the Caribbean in recent months and commit to work together towards supporting the recovery of the affected destinations and their people, while building resilience for the Caribbean tourism sector, a pillar of the region’s livelihoods.

We express our sincere gratitude to our host, the Government of Jamaica, for its vision and leadership in convening this Conference and for its warm hospitality.

Montego Bay, Jamaica, 29 November 2017

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