2017, the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, is the tourism sector’s year to inform and inspire the world around how our sector is working to further global ambitions to ensure no one is left behind, directly supporting the SDGs.
The quest to eliminate poverty through the power of tourism does not, however, start now. It actually began in 2002 at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, when the UNWTO launched STEP, which stands for Sustainable Tourism– Eliminating Poverty.
STEP has built up a portfolio of about 120 tourism development projects in 45 countries in Africa, Asia, the Americas, the Middle East and Europe.
Having reached this milestone, a Foundation Lunch was organized during the General Assembly.
Under the leadership of Ambassador Dho Young-shim and founded by Professor Geoffrey Lipman, Ms. Dho called Lipman the STEP-FATHER when thanking him at the lunch for starting STEP.
Dho has been working tirelessly on this project for 15 years and did what she does best, finding sponsors to expand on this important eliminating-poverty initiative. She brought in Samsung to the lunch yesterday, and the director pledged the company’s support and sponsorship to bring this initiative to the next level.
Madam Dho apologized for getting emotional when she got tears in her eyes when talking about how tourism can help countries and initiatives in need.
A good example was laid out to participants by Uganda, where the minister of tourism from Uganda said: “Thank You, thank you, thank you.”
An MOU between Samsung and UNWTO STEP was to be signed during the General Assembly.