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16 / 07 / 2004
Domingo Jiménez Beltrán: “If we continue this way tourism will do it away with itself

This morning issues like ethical commitment and environmental aspects of tourism were dealt with

Advisor to the president and former director of the European environmental agency, Jiménez Beltrán, said that, “we can’t keep dealing with the tourism crisis in this way, we must develop sustainable policies.” Beltrán said that up until now people have used the logic of unsustainability.

Beltrán added that we must reinforce and define these policies in the European Union, which are not strong enough. Beltrán highlighted transportation, territory and tourism. In the last case Beltrán believes that, “if we keep up like this tourism will do away with itself.” The advisor to the president discussed other policies related to tourism that are regulated by the EU such as agriculture, energy and the domestic market.

According to Beltrán, it is dangerous for tourism to be the only economic activity in an area, as it can ruin tangible and intangible heritage. In order to avoid that, Beltrán defended a new kind of tourism that does not destroy, is sustainable and monitors energy consumption. Furthermore, Beltrán proposed criteria for reflections based on security in the European dimension and concepts of temporality and irreversibility. “We need to disassociate economic growth from the use of natural and cultural resources.,” concluded Beltrán.

Member of the European NGO network Ecotrans, Herbert Hamele, talked about the need for ecological labels not just as a monitoring system but as a way of keeping in mind social and economic factors . “These labels, green certificates, are guarantee environmental protection,” added Hamele. The representative of this network said that although it is till in process, there now fifty green certified projects in Europe.

Adjunct secretary general in the International Tourism Organization, David de Villiers, discussed a code of ethics that has already been elaborated and contains ten articles with directives for responsible behavior in the tourism field. “This code of ethics is voluntary and non-binding for companies. Thanks to the UN Assenby in October 2002 people are taking on responsibility. “It’s not a law but a call for morality in the tourism sector.”

The code of ethics refers to respect among societies, equality of human rights, and more vulnerable groups, respect for nature the need to share profits fairly and equally and tourism as a fundamental right to be respected.