Portugal has committed to partnering with the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017.
The commitment was presented to UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai, during his recent official visit to Portugal.
Among the initiatives to celebrate the Year, Portugal is promoting the rehabilitation of historical buildings in the interior of the country and routes through natural areas.
During his visit, Mr Rifai and Portuguese authorities discussed the role of tourism in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well as the contribution of tourism to job creation and economic growth.
In a meeting with Prime Minister Antonio Costa, the UNWTO Secretary General addressed the mechanisms of coordination among ministries to advance tourism development in the country, issues of air transport and the relevance of new source markets such as China.
He also met President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, with whom he discussed the importance of raising the public visibility of the socio-economic impact of tourism.
Mr Rifai discussed about Portugal’s “Revive” programme aimed at promoting the rehabilitation of historical buildings through private sector investment, as well as the policies in place to promote the regional spread of tourism and fight seasonality.
The visit included the presentation of Portugal 4.0, a project aimed at promoting innovation and entrepreneurship in the tourism sector and one of the finalists of 2016 UNWTO awards.
Mr Rifai also visited Madeira, whose Secretary of Economy, Tourism and Culture, Eduardo Jesus presented UNWTO with Madeira’s regional tourism strategy.
Issues discussed included the project “Porto Santo free Fossil Island”.
During his stay in Madeira, the UNWTO Secretary General welcomed five hotel chains, Quinta do Furao, Savoy Hotels and Resorts, Pestana Hotel Group, Porto Bay Hotels and Resorts and Four Views Hotels which joined the Private Sector Commitment to the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics.
The five hotel groups pledged to implement and promote the principles of the Code and report on their actions.
To date, 499 companies and associations from 67 countries – from airlines and hotels, to tour operators and associations – have committed to uphold ethical standards and live by the Code in their operations.