Modern Travelers Seek Worldwide Green Tourism

World Green Tourism Abu Dhabi (WGT), the first global event dedicated to the investment and development of sustainable tourism, took place November 22-24, 2010, in Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the United Arab Emirates.

The event consisted of a three day interactive conference supported by an exhibition bringing together regional and international tourism authorities, urban city planners, hotels and resorts, property developers, airlines, key associations, tour operators, green products suppliers, museums and heritage sites organizations, and universities involved in sustainable tourism.

Green tourism is set to dominate the next half century according to WGT officials.

A featured speaker at the WGT event was Suraphon Svetasreni, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). Addressing the conference, Svetasreni spelled out how Thailand, as an emerging world-leading destination, would seek to reconfigure its offering in order to meet changing demands. “We recognize there is no other option but to work toward a green standard, as this is what the modern consumer and well-informed world traveler wants,” he explained.

"Green is the new norm”, noted Svetasreni. "Promoting a healthy respect for the environment and the careful management and utilization of limited resources is essential if Thailand is to ensure a bright and promising future for its people."
This new focus on ecological concerns would be a radical change Svetasreni added.

“In its first 50 years, the focus of Thai tourism development was on social and economic development. The next 50 years will require a vital shift in focus to minimize the ecological impact of tourism.”

Tourism plays an increasingly significant role in Thailand’s national economic and social development. As reported by Breaking Travel News, over 14 million foreign tourists contribute almost US$15 billion to the Thai economy, while domestic travel contributes an additional US$12 billion.

Tourism accounts for 10% of Thailand’s total GDP and contributes to a wider distribution of income, and as such tourism plays an increasingly significant role in Thailand’s national economic and social development.

In closing his speech Svetasreni added: “We recognize all sectors of Thai society need to work together towards a cleaner-and-greener Thailand. We have a long road ahead of us.

“However, by participating in forums such as this, that promote the active exchange of knowledge and know-how, we will shorten our learning curve and significantly reduce the time it takes to acquire the essential knowledge needed to impact and influence positive change at home.”

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