World Tourism Day Challenges Travelers to Protect Water Resources

You too can be a responsible water consumer when you travel – re-use your towels at your hotel more than a day, ask that your bed linens not be changed daily, take a shower instead of a bath, wear water-resistant sunblock – these are some of the ways you can help protect the world’s clean water sources.

World Tourism Day 2013 logoWater conservation is the focus of this year’s United Nations World Tourism Day on September 27, in support of the United Nations International Year of Water Cooperation for 2013.

Travelers are reminded that water scarcity, and lack of clean freshwater and sanitation, plague much of the world. About 780 million people in the world do not have access to clean water, and 2.5 billion are lacking adequate sanitation, according to UN statistics. The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) hopes to change that by using tourism as a change-inducing force to improve worldwide water conservation. As a trillion dollar industry with over one billion people traveling internationally in 2012, tourism is a powerful influence for raising awareness and changing behaviors.

Water conservation poster“This offers a unique opportunity to shine a spotlight on water, both as an asset and as a resource, and on the actions needed to face up to the water challenge,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai in his official WTD 2013 message.

“As one of the largest economic sectors in the world, it is the responsibility of the tourism sector to take a leadership role and ensure companies and destinations invest in adequate water management. If managed sustainably, tourism can bring benefits to the national and local communities and support water preservation,” said Rifai, who was recently re-elected for a second term as UNWTO Secretary-General.

Clean, accessible water is vital to tourism, from hotels and restaurants to tours and transportation. Moreover, millions of people travel around the world every year to enjoy water destinations, from beaches and coastlines to lakes, rivers and other wetlands.

How you can help when you travel

* Take a shower instead of a bath.
* Turn off the water while soaping up, and turn back on to rinse off. Water conservation, photo by Earth Times
* Leave your towels on the rack so housekeeping knows you are still using them.
* Let housekeeping know that you don’t need to have your linens changed every day.
* Where possible, select eco-friendly, sustainable accommodations with water-conscious programs, such as reclaiming gray waters for landscaping irrigation, and using biodegradable soaps and cleaning products.
* Use water-resistant sunblock to avoid polluting the sea and damaging marine fauna. Scientists have shown that commonly found sunscreen ingredients can kill coral.
* Look for eco-friendly hotels that are registered as TripAdvisor GreenLeaders.

Costa Rica is a Global Leader in Ecotourism and Conservation

Costa Rica was one of the first countries to pioneer ecotourism. The Central American nation hosted World Tourism Day in 2002, leading the world on the theme of ecotourism as the key to sustainable development. Costa Rica placed fifth best in the world in 2013 on the Environmental Performance Index (EPI), released earlier this year by Yale and Columbia universities.

Costa Rica CST logoSustainable tourism is widespread in Costa Rica. The national tourism board (ICT) manages a Certification for Sustainable Tourism Program that ranks hotels, travel agencies and tour operators, rental car companies, and tour parks in sustainable principles. In most hotels nowadays in Costa Rica you can find informative notices about water conservation and other ecological practices.

Costa Rica travel agency Team CRT is a CST-certified travel services company. The CRT Team is committed to design and develop exciting vacations to Costa Rica that support sustainable tourism. Team CRT arranges nature tours, beach vacations, adventure tours, family vacations, relaxation vacations, honeymoons and golf vacations.

More information about sustainable travel here.

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Date / Fecha: 09/09/13

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