With climate change and the global recession driving the current international political agenda, both politicians and businesses are increasingly drawn towards the idea of a global green economy.

The tourism sector is at the frontline of these key issues, yet is unlikely to receive the attention it deserves in the current high-level discussions concerning the replacement of the Kyoto protocol to be finalized in Copenhagen this December.

UNWTO is working towards raising the profile of the sector as a key strategic element of global resilience and recovery, teaming up with the European Travel Commission (ETC) and Visit Sweden next month to show how tourism can play a leading role in the development of a sustainable global economy.

The Gothenburg Symposium, taking place on September 14-15 in Gothenburg, Sweden has been convened as part of UNWTO’s Davos Process to address how the development of sustainable consumption and production relates to the tourism sector in the run-up to the Copenhagen Agreement.

Leading figures from the European Union, national governments, and industry will also be there to clarify how their respective institutions are greening the sector in order to make the necessary changes imposed by the climate change agenda and by the global economic crisis.

Geoffrey Lipman, UNWTO assistant secretary-general, underscored the organization’s commitment to work across the industry, both in the public and private domains, to advance a coherent response to the climate and development imperatives. The Gothenburg meeting will make an important contribution to supporting “Sealing the Deal” in Copenhagen and the longer road to a green economy.

Rob Franklin, ETC executive director, is making sure that National Tourism Organisations (NTOs) are fully informed of the prevailing problems and

“Climate change is a driver of sustainable development, and NTOs need to pay attention to global and European-level policies and programs that will help them maintain and improve their market share.”

The Gothenburg Symposium will launch ETC’s own climate change and sustainable tourism knowledge networking strategy for NTOs, using the European Environment Agency’s innovative DestiNet Sustainable Tourism Portal http://destinet.ew.eea.europa.eu.