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Media Center > Press Releases > MINISTER KOYA ADDRESSES TOURISM MINISTERS AT UNWTO LAUNCH IN MADRID, SPAIN

MINISTER KOYA ADDRESSES TOURISM MINISTERS AT UNWTO LAUNCH IN MADRID, SPAIN

1/25/2017
The Minister for Industry, Trade, Tourism, Lands and Mineral Resources, Hon Faiyaz Koya on Friday 20 January, addressed high level dignitaries from 57 countries, during an event hosted by the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) outgoing Secretary General Taleb Rifai held in Madrid, Spain.

In celebrating the Launch of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) 2017 International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, Minister Koya stated that the sustainable development of Fiji and the Pacific’s tourism sector depended heavily on their ability to adapt to the reality of climate change.

“In the face of this daunting challenge, every Pacific Island country still depends on tourism as their main source of income. Tourism contributes around 29.4 per cent of our GDP. The sector is also a vital source of employment for Fijians. Therefore, it is a priority of the Fijian Government to ensure that tourism activities are undertaken in a sustainable manner,” said Minister Koya.

Furthermore, Minister Koya re-emphasised the importance of working together to harness the potential of tourism to grow our economies, foster greater inclusion in our societies and preserve our culture and our environment.

“We share this planet, we share a duty to its well-being, and we owe each other mutual understanding and respect. Therefore, let us work together to keep our development sustainable, whether it be in tourism, agriculture, sport or any other source of prosperity and progress for our citizens,” he said.

The Hon. Minister emphasised that countries need to work together to get industrial nations to pledge firm commitments on climate change, at COP 23.

“Fiji is the first Pacific Island Nation to be President of the 23rd session of the global climate summit or COP 23, which will take place in Bonn, Germany in November of this year and our Honourable Prime Minister will preside over the negotiations. Fiji will do everything in our power to help forge international consensus on how to reduce carbon emissions and help protect vulnerable areas of the globe from the extreme weather events and rising seas that are already upon them and we will forward to support from countries that are party to the UNWTO,” said Minister Koya.

To support the International Year, the Fijian Government through the Ministry of Industry Trade and Tourism is working closely with the UNWTO to roll out a work programme for Fiji. This work programme is a result of the UNWTO technical mission to Fiji in late November 2016.

The UN General Assembly has declared this year as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development and will play a facilitative role for the implementation of its scheduled activities together with Governments, relevant organizations of the UN System and other international and regional organizations.
 
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