Conference on Sustainable Development of Tourism in Islands jointly Organized by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the French Government

Conference on Sustainable Development of Tourism in Islands jointly Organized by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the French Government


Tourism is one of the principal economic activities in islands and therefore an essential source of job opportunities, livelihood, and inclusive growth for these destinations. For Small Island Developing States (SIDS), international tourism is of special significance and often represents a major source of foreign currency, while at the same time it is subject to specific social, economic and environmental vulnerabilities.

The Conference will address a whole range of relevant issues for island destinations, from the competitiveness and sustainability perspectives, identifying specific challenges and vulnerabilities and examples of relevant actions. The Conference will also provide an opportunity to share with the international community, at the ministerial and expert levels, further knowledge and lessons learned for tourism in SIDS and other islands. The progress of international efforts aimed at strengthening the sustainable development of tourism, taking into account their particular situation, will also be reviewed.

As a United Nations specialised agency, the World Tourism Organization has engaged, together with a series of partners, in initiatives ranging from poverty alleviation and economic recovery to climate change, biodiversity and ecotourism, aimed at promoting awareness of the role of tourism in sustainable development, including addressing the special needs of SIDS. This includes the production and dissemination of the UNWTO report Challenges and Opportunities for Tourism in Small Island Developing States launched on the occasion of RIO+20 Conference.

This international conference is expected to contribute to strengthen tourism development in islands, as one of the most promising options for economic growth and development if planned and managed according to the principles of sustainability

The conclusions from the Conference shall serve as guidance to National Tourism Authorities and relevant destinations as well as to the international community as an input to the Third International Conference on SIDS, scheduled to convene In September 2014, in Samoa, and called for by the United Nations as a follow up to the Rio+20 Conference.

See the Conference photos


Tourism development and conservation of island resources:  How to solve the equation?  

Introduced and moderated by:
• Mr. Richard Denman, Director of “The Tourism Company”.

Panel discussion: 
• Mr. Jean Max Rakotomamonjy, Minister of Tourism and Handicrafts of Madagascar
• Mr. Alain St.Ange, Minister of Tourism and Culture of Seychelles
• Mr. Jean Sébastien Nicolas, National Park of Guadeloupe
• Ms. Caroline Batiza, Regional Park of Martinique
• Mr. Glenn Phillips, Managing Executive: Tourism Development and Marketing, National Park of South Africa


Sustainable economic development:
Is it really possible to create value for everyone?

Introduced and moderated by:
• Ms. Sonia Huerta, Division Manager at THR (international tourism consulting firm)

Panel discussion:
• Mr. Bruno Freitas, Regional Director of Tourism, Ministry of Tourism, Madeira.
• Mr. Nicolas Maslach, Conservatoire du litoral (French coastal protection agency) – St Martin
• Mr. Gilles Béville, president of ATES - Association for the social and solidarity tourism
• Mr. Jean-Marc Gravellini, Director of Operations, French Development Agency (AFD) 
• Mr. Rolph Payet, Minister for Environment and Energy of Seychelles. Representative of the Vanilla Islands Initiative
• Mr. Jan Hendeliowitz, OECD - Head of the LEED Programme (Local Economic and Employment Development) 

Connectivity: Placing transport at the service of tourism

Introduced and moderated by:
• Mr. Vijay Poonoosamy, VP International and Public Affairs at Etihad and Chair of IATA's Industry Affairs Committee

Panel discussion:
• Ms. Elizabeth A. Powell, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Public Enterprises, Tourism and Communications of Fiji
• Mr. Marie-Joseph Malé, CEO of Air Austral
• Mr. Alain St.Ange, Minister of Tourism and Culture of Seychelles
• Ms. Sandra Carvao, Programme Chief, Communications and Publications, UNWTO

Efforts questioned?
Impacts and challenges of climate change

Introduced and moderated by:
Mr. Daniel Scott, Associate Professor - Principal Investigator (University of Waterloo, Canada) and Canada Research Chair (Global Change and Tourism).

Panel discussion:
• Mr. João Bettencourt, Regional Director of Tourism, Azores Regional Government.
• Mr. Miloud Bessafi, Professor, Réunion University, Laboratory for Energy, Electronics and processes
• Mr. Ibrahim A. Mussa, Director of Tourism, Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, Dar Es Salaam – United Republic of Tanzania
• Mr. Nicolas Maslach, Conservatoire du litoral (French coastal protection agency) – St Martin

Regional initiatives and international cooperation;
A win-win solution?

Introduced and moderated by:
• Mr. Ioannis Spilanis, Professor, University of the Aegean, Greece.

Panel discussion:
• Mr. Jean Claude de L'Estrac, Secretary General, Indian Ocean Commission (IOC)
• Ms. Deirdre Shurland, Senior Consultant, UNEP-DTIE (Division of Technology, Industry and Economics). Coordinator, Global Partnership for Sustainable Tourism
• Ms. Cécile Tassin-Pelzer, Counsellor and Head of Operational Section for Regional Cooperation. European Union Delegation to Mauritius, Seychelles and Comoros.
• Mr. Philippe Leyssene,  Ambassador, delegate for regional cooperation in the area of the Indian Ocean
• Mr. Pascal Viroleau, Director of Réunion Island Tourism - Director of Vanilla Islands
• Mr. Mohamed Harun, Advisor to The Minister of Tourism of Mozambique


Putting your island on the map – challenges in a connected world

Introduced and moderated by:
• Mrs. Sana Butler, journalist and travel writer

Panel discussion:
• Mr. Simon Anholt, Policy Advisor, National Image
• Ms. Marie-Laure Desmet, Expert engineering and development, in charge of overseas projects, ATOUT France
• Mr. Venee Kowlessur, Principal Tourism Planner,  Ministry of Tourism & Leisure of Mauritius
• Mr. Thierry Devimeux, Secretary-General for Regional Affairs - SGAR



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