Mayors of leading cities pledge towards sustainable tourism

Published on : Saturday, April 6, 2019

Mayors from around the world gathered in Lisbon as major cities struggled with the challenges of mass tourism and adopted a first-of-its-kind declaration to ensure the growing tourism sector is beneficial for both visitors and locals alike.

 

Mayors and vice mayors from 16 cities including Lisbon, Barcelona, Paris, Sao Paulo and Seoul vowed on Friday to put sustainability at the core of the tourism industry by using new technologies to build “cities for all”.

 

The declaration comes at a time when low-cost airlines have created tourism booms in many leading cities, but at the same time prompting outcries from locals who have been pushed out because of surging real estate prices due to short-term rentals.

 

“We truly believe innovation can lead to many solutions to problematic issues in urban tourism development,” said Zurab Pololikashvili, secretary general of the World Tourism Organisation.

 

“Lisbon needs to have a strong economy and tourism is part of that but we also need quality of life, public services adapted to a growing number of visitors and we need a city where there is access to fundamental rights, including housing,” Lisbon’s mayor Fernando Medina told reporters.

 

Locals say they are being pushed out of their city as private developers transform houses into Airbnb properties, hotels and luxury flats.

 

Airbnb and other private tourism companies were present at the discussions, the World Tourism Organisation said.

 

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