Strengthening Sustainable Tourism: A Global Commitment and Guatemala’s Contributions to the UN

The United Nations General Assembly recently held a thematic event dedicated to sustainable tourism, highlighting the sector’s crucial role in sustainable development and global resilience. The forum, an integral part of Sustainability Week at UN headquarters, saw the participation of Member States, observers, civil society organisations and UN agencies, all united by a common commitment to harness the transformative power of tourism for inclusive and sustainable development.


Harris Whitbeck, Ministre du tourisme du Guatemala et Directeur de l'INGUAT à la tribune de l'ONU (Crédit : INGUAT)

Harris Whitbeck, Guatemalan Minister of Tourism and Director of INGUAT at the UN (Credit: INGUAT)

In this global context of commitment to sustainable tourism, Harris Whitbeck, Guatemala ‘s Minister of Tourism and Director of the Guatemalan Institute of Tourism(Inguat), addressed this important meeting. His speech highlighted Guatemala’s initiatives to promote tourism that respects and values local communities while preserving their natural and cultural heritage.

Minister Whitbeck articulated Guatemala’s approach around the development of community-based tourism, a key strategy for achieving sustainable development goals. “The opportunities offered by our great natural, cultural and historical diversity can reach more people if we promote community-based tourism. To do this, we need to listen to these communities and undertake joint efforts that contribute to sustainable development,” he said.

Harris Whitbeck et Dennis Francis, le Président de l'Assemblée Générale de l'ONU (Crédit : INGUAT)

Harris Whitbeck and Dennis Francis, President of the UN General Assembly (Credit: INGUAT)

This speech follows on from the discussions and commitments made at the meeting, where best practices and innovative approaches for sustainable and resilient tourism were shared, aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Dennis Francis, President of the UN General Assembly, reinforced this vision by highlighting the need for a sustainable global tourism sector that benefits local communities and contributes to biodiversity conservation, heritage protection and climate-friendly livelihoods.


Guatemala’s commitment, as presented by the Minister, demonstrates a model of community-centred tourism that not only enriches tourism experiences but also serves as a driver of economic development, reducing migration and creating jobs for young people. This approach, which echoes the discussions at the General Assembly, demonstrates how tourism, when managed ethically and responsibly, can make a significant contribution to overall socio-economic development while preserving resources for future generations.



To watch Minister Harris Whitbeck’s speech at the UN: click here


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