“Tourism and Water: Protecting our Common Future”

The Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) marked the World Tourism Day (WTD) with a series of events in Punakha yesterday.

As a part of the celebrations, message of the Secretary General of United Nation World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Taleb Rifai was delivered by the Director of TCB, Chhimmy Pem.

The message in line with this year’s theme highlights preciousness of water resources being tourism’s main asset. The Secretary General in his message also mentioned tourism sectors as one of the largest economic sectors in the world to take leadership role and ensure companies and destinations invest in adequate water management throughout the value chain.

The message further stated that if managed sustainably, tourism can bring benefits to the national and local communities and support water preservation and insisted all those involved in the tourism sector to join global World Tourism Day campaign and continue to devise innovate solutions to ensuring sustainable access to water resources worldwide. “Water underpins our life-lets protect our common future,” he wrote.

On the day, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also stated, “I urge tourism establishments to cut consumption and improve waste management and I call on individuals to play their part by making environmentally conscious choices when they travel.”

TCB official, Damcho Rinzin said the celebration can be carried out in numerous ways as organizing competitions, holding such events, taking a vacation or a trip to different places and making commitment to contribute in their own ways by keeping mind the WTD event. He hopes that the participants will make an effort to protect and preserve water and promote tourism by being part of tourism family.

To further commemorate the event, TCB also organized a debate completion between Ugyen Academy (UA) and Punakha Higher Secondary School (PHSS) on “Tourism a threat to water sustainability” and a rafting adventure below Aman Resort till Khuruthang PHSS.

PHSS won the debate competition. The participants were awarded certificates by the Punakha Dzongda.

World Tourism Day was first observed in 1980 with the theme “Tourism’s contribution to the preservation of cultural heritage, and to peace and mutual understanding”. The day is celebrated to foster awareness among the international community of the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political and economic value.

The event also seeks to address global challenges outlined in United Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and to highlight the contribution the tourism sector can make in reaching these goals.

The event was presided by Punakha Dzongda in the presence of the Resident Coordinator, ACO, Drangpon, Director of TCB, Chairman of Dzongkhag Yargay Tshogchung, President of Hotel and Restaurant Association of Bhutan, President of Handicraft Association of Bhutan, Executive Director of Guide Associations of Bhutan, Board Director, Association of Bhutanese Tour Operators, Sector Heads of Punakha Dzongkhag and students from Punakha HSS and Ugyen Academy.

World Tourism Day is celebrated annually and stakeholders across the world take part in the celebration.

This year’s theme for the day is “Tourism and Water: Protecting our Common Future” which highlights tourism’s role in water access and emphasizes on the actions currently being taken by the sector in order to contribute to a more sustainable water future, as well as the challenges ahead.

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