by Marcela Torres
On September 27 we celebrate the 2013 World Tourism Day (WTD) under the theme “Tourism and Water: Protecting our Common Future”, which the World Tourism Organization (WTO) has chosen to underscore tourism´s responsibility and commitment in ensuring a sustainable water future.
Water availability and quality play a key role in the quality of life of humans. And tourism also depends on this resource in many ways, be it for consumption of visitors or as part of the attractions offered to travelers.
Although tourism has a minor share in world water consumption, compared to other industries such as agriculture and mining, it nevertheless contributes to the problem. For example, the hotel sector requires water for cooking, laundering, human consumption (drinks, showers, etc.), filling pools and irrigating gardens or golf courses, among other uses.
According to the WTO, since more than one thousand million people travel each year worldwide, tourism can be an important channel for raising awareness and changing behaviors, helping reduce issues of availability and quality of water resources and offering effective solutions aimed at achieving greater sustainability for water in the future.
Some related outstanding initiatives have already been set up by the tourism sector. For example, the British non-governmental organization Tourism Concern has a campaign on water equity in tourism, which promotes principles among governments, industry and society at large. The Just a Drop foundation relies on donations from tourism companies to fund clean water projects throughout the world.
People who have not yet taken any water-saving measures may start by taking baby steps. It is not necessary to do everything at once.
Here are some good tips:
- Reduce unnecessary water consumption in cleaning and cooking
- Check pipes and fittings to avoid leaks which cause loss of water
- Use water-saving technology
- Use recycled water from showers, washing machines and toilets or rain water to irrigate gardens
- Invite your hosts to contribute to reducing water consumption through information materials
Happy World Tourism Day!