Tourism's Contributions to Achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

Tourism's Contributions to Achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

Every week TIES features a discussion article on current issues, challenges and opportunities related to ecotourism. This week our article focuses on the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The MDGs are goals set by the UN and its member nations on various development issues. What are some of the ways tourism can support to the MDGs? In addition to the social and economic benefits that tourism offers, how can tourism businesses and destinations actively contribute to the MDGs? In this article, we are sharing some specific examples of what the tourism industry is doing to support the MDGs. Head over to TIES-EXCHANGE to add your comments and ideas related to this topic! (Member log-in required)


As we get ready to end another year and head on to the year 2013, we are taking a look at the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and the opportunities for the tourism industry to contribute to the MDGs in the coming years.


The MDGs are time-bound, quantified targets for addressing various development issues, which were developed by the United Nations at the Millennium Summit in 2000. The MDGs focus on the following eight goals: 1. Eradicate Extreme Hunger and Poverty; 2. Achieve Universal Primary Education; 3. Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women; 4. Reduce Child Mortality; 5. Improve Maternal Health; 6. Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Other Diseases; 7. Ensure Environmental Sustainability; and 8. Develop a Global Partnership for Developmen. 



UNWTO Tourism and the MDGsTourism and the Millennium Development Goals

The UNWTO publication "Tourism & the Millennium Development Goals" discusses various examples related to tourism's influence on the MDGs, and proposes corporate social responsibility (CSR) as a tool for the tourism industry to address the MDGs.


The UNWTO believes that the tourism industry has the opportunity to contribute to all of the MDGs by decreasing its negative impacts on the environment while maximizing its positive impacts on many other issues through its CSR efforts – by helping increase local employment opportunities; supporting education; raising awareness of gender equality issues; promoting environmental conservation; and developing collaboration among various partners.


Effecting Positive Change

Sustainable Tourism and the MDGs

The publication "Sustainable Tourism & the Millennium Development Goals: Effecting Positive Change" by The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) further discusses the tourism industry's roles in addressing the key opportunities for sustainable development that the MDGs aim to achieve.


The book highlights case studies (including TIES members 3 Sisters Adventure Trekking, Rivers Fiji and SEEtheWILD) and industry insights focusing on best practices in implementing sustainability initiatives. The book also takes a historical perspective looking at the development of ecotourism and sustainable tourism over the past twenty years, from where TIES and other associations began, and in particular the key landmarks and events that have brought ecotourism and sustainable tourism to the present day.



More Examples & Inspirations from TIES Members

Below are additional exemplary cases of TIES members who are working towards contributing to the MDGs through their own practices:

  • Chitral Association for Mountain Area Tourism (CAMAT) promotes tourism in Chitral in order to reduce poverty, create off-farm job opportunities, and save environmental resources as well as restore biodiversity and ecology.
  • Ethical Traveler empowers travelers to change the world and to protect human rights as well as the environment. Their campaigns, for example, work against human trafficking, child sex trafficking and shark-finning.
  • Global Exchange Reality Tours seeks meaningful, socially responsible travel that changes the world. They "connect people to issues, issues to movements, and movements to social change," and strive to empower local communities and making a difference in people's lives.
  • Indonesian Ecotourism Network uses ecotourism as a tool to conserve biodiversity, to include local communities in tourism operations as well as to improve the environment.



Ideas, comments, questions? Join our discussions on TIES-EXCHANGE! *If you're not yet a member of TIES, and would like to access TIES-EXCHANGE and other member networking and learning resources, please consider joining TIES today.


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About TIES

As the world's oldest and largest international ecotourism association, TIES seeks to be the global source of knowledge and advocacy uniting communities, conservation, sustainable travel..




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The Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference will highlight global challenges and local opportunities, supporting sustainable development of tourism and promoting solutions that balance conservation, communities and sustainable travel.

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