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Press

Jo'burg World Summit on Sustainable Tourism

30 August 2002

'Sustainable Tourism: Home and Away'

As sustainable global tourism is discussed at the World Summit for Sustainable
Development today, the Sustainable Development Commission calls on the
government to prioritise sustainable tourism here in the UK.

'The discussions in Johannesburg are just as relevant to the UK domestic
tourism industry as it struggles with the aftermath of the foot and mouth
outbreak', says Jonathon Porritt, Chairman of the Sustainable Development
Commission.

'Sustainable tourism in the UK would focus upon local economies and livelihoods,
concentrating on protecting our 'green and pleasant land' as a vital resource for
tourism rather than allowing perverse planning and inappropriate new development
to ruin it.

'During this International Year of EcoTourism, the UK tourism industry needs a
concerted boost, following the loss of our rural tourism industry in the wake of the
foot and mouth outbreak.' says Porritt.

This approach should be welcomed by British domestic travellers, as a recent report
on English sustainable tourism demonstrated. 63% of consumers stated that a well
managed environment was an important factor in choosing the destination of their
holiday in the UK, while over 70% think that their UK holidays should benefit local
people.

'We welcome the Sustainable Tourism Initiative being committed to the Summit,
and applaud the UK government's leadership on this project from the Foreign and
Commonwealth office and the Department for International Development.

'But this initiative should be as relevant to the Department for Culture Media and
Sport as it struggles to encourage sustainable tourism right here in the UK.

'We hear lots of fine words about sustainable tourism here in the UK, but when you
look at what's actually happening (in DCMS, through the tourism authorities, and in
most English regions), progress is incredibly slow. This is still an industry that works
for the most part on the equivalent of 'stack 'em high and sell 'em cheap', without
much thought for the environmental, human and social assets on which the industry
totally depends for its long term prosperity.

'DCMS really has to get on top of this, and drive forward a properly funded strategy
for sustainable tourism in the UK. We hope that the focus upon sustainable tourism
at the World Summit for Sustainable Development will translate into a strong
commitment to changing our approach to travel - at home as well as away.'

Notes:

- The report by the English Tourism Council 'Visitor Attitudes to Sustainable
Tourism' is available at http://www.wisegrowth.org.uk

- Further details of the International Year of EcoTourism are available from
the World Tourism Organisation at http://www.world-tourism.org

- The Sustainable Development Commission is the Government's
independent sustainable development advisor, reporting to Tony Blair
and the devolved administration leaders. www.sd-commission.gov.uk

- SDC's remit is to advocate sustainable development across all sectors in
the UK, review progress towards it, and build consensus on the actions
needed for further progress.

- Sustainable development provides a framework for redirecting our
economies to enable everyone to meet their basic needs and improve
their quality of life, while ensuring that the natural resources upon
which they depend are maintained and enhanced, both for their benefit
and for that of future generations.

- The World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) takes place in
Johannesburg from 26 August-4 September inclusive.

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