Some 30 civil society organisations repreenting 19 countries across Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America came together at ITB in Berlin early in March to explore ways to make tourism more equitable and to deliver on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The outcome of these discussions was that the group released the Berlin Declaration on Transforming Tourism.
The declaration states three core principles:
3.1 Human rights and self-determination of communities must be at the core of every tourism development. This includes the right to meaningful participation and consultation including free, prior and informed consent on whether, to what extent and in what form tourism takes place.
3.2 If tourism is developed, it needs to seek a widespread and fair distribution of economic and social benefits throughout the recipient communities, including improving local prosperity, quality of life and social equity.
3.3 Tourism should be a positive and beneficial experience for travellers and hosts alike in order to act as a force for mutual understanding, empathy and respect.
In a statement on the website of Tourism Concern, one of the founder signatories of the declaration,it makes clear the group’s position, stating: “the current dominant tourism model is not able to support the necessary transformation of the world envisaged by the 2030 Agenda. On the contrary, in too many cases it is exploiting people, harming communities, violating human rights and degrading the environment. We believe that transforming our world is not possible without transforming tourism. With this declaration we want not only to encourage further reflection and debate, but demand concrete activities and actions.