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Development of Tourism Must Be Sustainable: UNEP Official
The development of tourism should be carried out in a sustainable manner to provide sufficient opportunities for future growth, said a senior United Nations official Monday in Guilin.

Nirmal Andrews, regional director for Asia and the Pacific of the UN Environment Program (UNEP), said tourist host countries, in the course of developing the tourism industry, should ensure that local cultural traditions, the ecological environment and bio-diversity remain unharmed.

"Otherwise there will be no business left for you," he said in his address to the Boao Forum for Asia -- Tourism Conference, currently underway in this famous scenic city in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, south China.

Some 500 political figures and tourist professionals are here to discuss the opportunities for cooperation in the field of tourism, with a special focus on sustainable tourism.

According to Andrews, the tourism sector generates 11 percent of global GDP and 207 million jobs. Meanwhile, further development of the industry will result in environmental pollution and ecological damage, with a negative impact on the social and cultural aspects of people's lives.

Sustainable tourism has drawn worldwide attention, he said, noting that "tourism was identified as a key sector for sustainable development at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa, in August this year."

Guilin Mayor Wang Yuefei said that only by adopting a sustainable tourist development strategy can the vitality of Guilin be maintained.

Guilin has made huge efforts to resolve environmental problems and greatly improve the environment around the Lijiang River, the lifeline of local tourism, he said.

Through careful planning and construction, Guilin has created a beautiful blend of urban construction, beautiful landscapes, cultural relics and historic and cultural traditions.

According to Wang, Guilin's experience serves as a useful model for other tourist cities in China.

(People’s Daily November 19, 2002)

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