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by Matt Alderton | January 08, 2013
Everyone knows that tourism helps local economies. What they might not realize, however, is that it can fight hunger and help the environment in the process. So argues the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, which unanimously adopted a resolution last week in support of ecotourism.

Titled "Promotion of Ecotourism for Poverty Eradication and Environment Protection," the resolution calls on UN member states to adopt pro-ecotourism policies that highlight its "positive impact on income generation, job creation and education, and thus on the fight against poverty and hunger."

Further, the resolution states that "ecotourism creates significant opportunities for the conservation, protection, and sustainable use of biodiversity and of natural areas by encouraging local and indigenous communities in host countries and tourists alike to preserve and respect the natural and cultural heritage."

Put forth by Morocco, the UN's ecotourism resolution was sponsored by a record 105 delegations. Based on recommendations from a United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNTWO) report, it encourages UN member states to promote ecotourism by supporting "in areas of ecotourism potential and rural areas" small and medium-sized business, cooperatives, and inclusive financial services such as microcredit initiatives for poor, local and indigenous communities.

"UNWTO welcomes the adoption of this resolution on the importance of ecotourism," said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai. "The remarkable support that the resolution has received, from all regions and across the development spectrum, is a clear testimony that sustainable tourism has a vital role to play in a fairer and sustainable future for all."


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