In 1995 the Charter for Sustainable Tourism was adopted at the first World Conference on Sustainable Tourism, held on the island of Lanzarote (Spain). This historic action took place under the auspices of UNESCO, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the leading associated international organisations programmes, such as the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the MAB Programme (Man and the Biosphere), the World Heritage Centre, the European Commission and the United Nations Division for Sustainable Development. The conference saw the birth of the term and the concept of Sustainable Tourism, which, along with the Declaration, was a significant shift in the tourism industry and the carrying out of tourism towards more responsible ways of conducting and conceiving this activity.
Twenty years later, major changes have occurred in today’s world and in the travel and tourism industry, obliging us to rethink and update the terms and objectives of the initial declaration in order to give new drive and meaning to the commitment to sustainability in this key sector. This calls for an in-depth analysis of the Charter for Sustainable Tourism in terms of its successes and validity and its adaptation to the current world situation, and a rethinking of its content with an eye to the future.
Sustainable Tourism +20 is therefore the major event of 2015 to bring together the key actors in sustainable tourism in the search for a new drive to work towards its goals.